1835 Alexis de Tocqueville (French political thinker, historian; 1805-59)
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
- This is a variant expression of a sentiment which is often attributed to Tocqueville or Alexander Fraser Tytler, but the earliest known occurrence is as an unsourced attribution to Tytler in “This is the Hard Core of Freedom” by Elmer T. Peterson in The Daily Oklahoman (9 December 1951): “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.”
- Variant: The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.