„Every nation gets the government it deserves.“

—  Joseph De Maistre, Correspondance diplomatique, tome 2. Paris : Michel Lévy frères libraires éditeurs, 1860, p.196. Famous Sayings and their Authors, Edward Latham, 1906, Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=xvkNAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA181. Bartlett's Roget's Thesaurus, 2003, Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=D8yVAC8CtO4C&printsec=frontcover. Letter 76, on the topic of Russia's new constitutional laws (27 August 1811); published in Lettres et Opuscules. The English translation has several variations, including "Every country has the government it deserves" and "In a democracy people get the leaders they deserve." The quote is popularly misattributed to better-known commentators such as Alexis de Tocqueville and Abraham Lincoln.

Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite.

Joseph De Maistre photo
Joseph De Maistre10
1753 - 1821

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Alexis De Tocqueville photo

„In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.“

—  Alexis De Tocqueville French political thinker and historian 1805 - 1859
It was Joseph de Maistre who wrote in 1811 "Every nation gets the government it deserves."

Robert F. Kennedy photo

„In the words of the old saying, every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.“

—  Robert F. Kennedy American politician and brother of John F. Kennedy 1925 - 1968
Pursuit of Justice http://books.google.com/books?id=o3mHAAAAMAAJ&q="Every+society+gets+the+kind+of+criminal+it+deserves+What+is+equally+true+is+that+every+community+gets+the+kind+of+law+enforcement+it+insists+on"The pt. 3, "Eradicating Free Enterprise in Organized Crime," (1964) Alexander Lacassange https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandre_Lacassagne Attribution of original quote

John F. Kennedy photo
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James Madison photo

„Mr. MADISON considered the popular election of one branch of the National Legislature as essential to every plan of free Government.“

—  James Madison 4th president of the United States (1809 to 1817) 1751 - 1836
Context: Mr. MADISON considered the popular election of one branch of the National Legislature as essential to every plan of free Government. He observed that in some of the States one branch of the Legislature was composed of men already removed from the people by an intervening body of electors. That if the first branch of the general legislature should be elected by the State Legislatures, the second branch elected by the first-the Executive by the second together with the first; and other appointments again made for subordinate purposes by the Executive, the people would be lost sight of altogether; and the necessary sympathy between them and their rulers and officers, too little felt. He was an advocate for the policy of refining the popular appointments by successive filtrations, but though it might be pushed too far. He wished the expedient to be resorted to only in the appointment of the second branch of the Legislature, and in the Executive & judiciary branches of the Government. He thought too that the great fabric to be raised would be more stable and durable, if it should rest on the solid foundation of the people themselves, than if it should stand merely on the pillars of the Legislatures. Madison's notes (31 May 1787) http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_531.asp

Greg Bear photo

„You deserve whoever governs you … Everyone is responsible for the actions of their leaders.“

—  Greg Bear American writer best known for science fiction 1951
Cf. Joseph de Maistre: "Every nation gets the government it deserves." (1811)

Mark Twain photo

„Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.“

—  Mark Twain American author and humorist 1835 - 1910
Context: In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country — hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of. Only when a republic's life is in danger should a man uphold his government when it is in the wrong. There is no other time. This Republic's life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It has swung itself loose from its safe anchorage and is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands. Part VI: "Two Fragments from a Suppressed Book Called 'Glances at History' or 'Outlines of History' ".

George Bernard Shaw photo