Write a reference for university Alan lightman essay
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Scarcely any one has looked at the United States with any other apparent purpose than to find arguments for and against popular government. America has been discussed, as if she were nothing but a democracy: a society, differing from other human societies in no essential point, except the popular character of her institutions. The friends or enemies of parliamentary reform have been more or less in the habit of ascribing to democracy whatever of good or evil they have found or dreamed of in the United States. One class of writers, indeed, the political economists, have taken notice of a second circumstance, namely, that population in America does not press upon the means of subsistence—and have traced the consequences of this as far as high wages, but seldom further; while the rest of the world, if their partialities happened to lie that way, have gone on ascribing even high wages to the government; which we are informed is the prevalent opinion among the Americans themselves, of all ranks and parties. But the Government is only one of a dozen causes which have made America what she is. The Americans are a democratic people: granted; but they are also a people without poor; without rich; with a “far west” behind them; so situated as to be in no danger of aggressions from without; sprung mostly from the Puritans; speaking the language of a foreign country; with no established church; with no endowments for the support of a learned class; with boundless facilities to all classes for “raising themselves in the world;” and where a large family is a fortune.
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In the proudest nations of the old world, books have been published destined to depict faithfully the vices and the of the age. La Bruyère lived in the palace of Louis XIV when he composed his chapter and Molière satirized the court in pieces written to be represented before the courtiers. But the power which is predominant in the United States will not be thus trifled with. The slightest reproach offends it; the smallest trait of truth excites its anger; everything must be lauded, from the turn of its phraseology to its most solid virtues. No writer, whatever his renown, is exempted from this obligation of offering incense to his countrymen. The majority, therefore, lives in a perpetual adoration of itself. Foreigners only, or experience, can make certain truths reach the ears of the Americans.