Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/127

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Every one the best judge of his own interest.—Corollary of the principle of the sovereignty of the people.—Application of these doctrines in the townships of America.—The township of New England is sovereign in all that concerns itself alone: subject to the State in all other matters.—Bond of the township and the State.—In France the Government lends its agents to the Commune.—In America the reverse occurs.

I have already observed, that the principle of the sovereignty of the people governs the whole political system of the Anglo-Americans. Every page of this book will afford new instances of the same doctrine. In the nations by which the sovereignty of the people is recognised, every individual possesses an equal share of power, and participates alike in the government of the State. Every individual is, therefore, supposed to be as well informed, as virtuous, and as strong as any of his fellow-citizens. He obeys the government, not because he is inferior to the authorities which conduct it, or that he is less capable than his neighbour of governing himself, but because he acknowledges the utility of an association with his fellow-men, and because he knows that no such association can exist without a regulating force. If he be a subject in all that concerns the mutual relations of citizens, he is free, and responsible to God alone for all that concerns himself. Hence arises the maxim that every one is the best and the sole judge of his own private interest, and that society has no right to control a