Among the Anglo-Americans there are some who profess Christian dogmas because they believe them and others who do so because they are afraid to look as though they did not believe in them, so Christianity reigns without obstacles, by universal consent.
Alexis DeTocqueville, on Christian dogmas in America, from Democracy in America
I do not know if all Americans have faith in their religion – for who can read the secrets of the heart?- but I am sure that they think it necessary to the maintenance of republican institutions. That is not the view of one class or party among the citizens, but of the whole nation; it is found in all ranks.
Alexis DeTocqueville, from Democracy in America
Nor would I have you mistake in the point of your own liberty. There is a liberty of corrupt nature, which is affected by men and beasts to do as they list; and this liberty is inconsistent with authority, impatient of all restraint; by this liberty tis the grand enemy of truth and peace, and all the ordinances of God are bent against it. But there is a civil, a moral, a federal liberty, which is the proper end and object of authority; it is a liberty for that only which is just and good; for this liberty you are to stand with the hazard of your very lives…in America it was somehow possible to incorporate into each other, forming a marvelous combination. I mean the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom.
The founders of New England were both ardent sectarians and fanatical innovators. While held within the narrowest of bounds by fixed religious beliefs, they were free from all political prejudices.
Hence two distinct but not contradictory tendencies plainly show their traces everywhere, in mores and in laws.
Alexis DeTocqueville, on religion and liberty in New England, from Democracy in America
The religious atmosphere of the country was the first thing that struck me on arrival in the United States. The longer I stayed in the country, the more conscious I became of the important political consequences resulting from this novel situation.
In France I had seen the spirits of religion and of freedom almost always marching in opposite directions. In America I found them intimately linked together in joint reign over the same land.
Alexis DeTocqueville, Comparing religion and liberty in France and New England, from Democracy in America
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