“They devise a sole, tutelary, and all-powerful form of government, but elected by the people. They combine the principle of centralization and that of popular sovereignty; this gives [men] a respite; they console themselves for being in tutelage by the reflection that they have chosen their own guardians...By this system the people shake off their state of dependence just long enough to select their master and then relapse into it again...
“Subjection in minor affairs breaks out every
day and is felt by the whole community indiscriminately. It does not
drive men to resistance, but it crosses them at every turn, till they
are led to surrender the exercise of their own will. Thus their spirit
is gradually broken and their character enervated...It is in vain to
summon a people who have been rendered so dependent on the central power
to choose from time to time the representatives of that power; this
rare and brief exercise of their free choice, however important it may
be, will not prevent them from gradually losing the faculties of
thinking, feeling, and acting for themselves, and thus gradually falling
below the level of humanity."
~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835)