By Alexis De Tocqueville, John C. Spencer
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Extra info for American Institutions And Their Influence (1851)
In all the affairs, however, which are determined by the town-meeting, the selectmen are the organs of the popular mandate, as in France the maire executes the decree of the municipal council. They usually act upon their own responsibility, and merely put in practice principles which have been previously recognised by the majority. But if any change is to be introduced in the existing state of things, or if they wish to undertake any new enterprise, they are obliged to refer to the source of their power.
The social condition, the religion, and the manners of the first emigrants undoubtedly exercised an immense influence on the destiny of their new country. Nevertheless it was not in their power to found a state of things originating solely in themselves; no man can entirely shake off the influence of the past, and the settlers, unintentionally or involuntarily, mingled habits derived from their education and from the traditions of their country, with those habits and notions which were exclusively their own.
At fifteen they enter CHAPTER III 41 upon their calling, and thus their education ends at the age when ours begins. Whatever is done afterward, is with a view to some special and lucrative object; a science is taken up as a matter of business, and the only branch of it which is attended to is such as admits of an immediate practical application. [This paragraph does not fairly render the meaning of the author. The original French is as follows:-"En Amérique il y a peu de riches; presque tous les Américains ont donc besoin d'exercer une profession.
American Institutions And Their Influence (1851) by Alexis De Tocqueville, John C. Spencer