chapter
8 Pages

The United States: A Unique Government of Lawyers

ByAlexis de Tocqueville

In this chapter, the author argues that a secret tendency to diminish the judicial power exists in the United States. Some of the tastes and the habits of the aristocracy may consequently be discovered in the characters of lawyers. The special information that lawyers derive from their studies ensures them a separate rank in society, and they constitute a sort of privileged body in the scale of intellect. The members of the legal profession have taken a part in all the movements of political society in Europe for the last five hundred years. At one time they have been the instruments of the political authorities, and at another they have succeeded in converting the political authorities into their instruments. Armed with the power of declaring the laws to be unconstitutional, the American magistrate perpetually interferes in political affairs.