French writer Alexis de Tocqueville is essential reading for anyone interested in learning how and why the United States of America is an exceptional country.
Via de Tocqueville’s observations, made in the early days of the republic, the young America set itself apart from the European powers by providing an unprecedented level of civil and economic liberties. Individuals were allowed to make their own lives, for better or for worse.
The French writer also took note of the young country’s cultural cohesion, at the time based on the Protestant work ethic. While Americans certainly had different backgrounds, communities felt they had at least that part of life in common — and that was enough to sustain the republic for generations.
Today, this cohesion is breaking apart. Politicians are no longer promising to protect the liberty of their supporters, but rather to protect the public benefits they enjoy. This is how constitutional republics fall.