By Alexis De Tocqueville, John C. Spencer
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Extra resources for American Institutions And Their Influence (1851)
The colonies still recognised the supremacy of the mother-country; monarchy was still the law of the state; but the republic was already established in every township. [Footnote: Code of 1650, p. 80. ] In the townships of New England the law of representation was not adopted, but the affairs of the community were discussed, as at Athens, in the market-place, by a general assembly of the citizens. In studying the laws which were promulgated at this first era of the American republics, it is impossible not to CHAPTER II 33 be struck by the remarkable acquaintance with the science of government, and the advanced theory of legislation, which they display.
Of course, an immense multitude of persons are to be found who entertain the same number of ideas on religion, history, science, political economy, legislation, and government. The gifts of intellect proceed directly from God, and man cannot prevent their unequal distribution. But in consequence of the state of things which we have here represented, it happens, that although the capacities of men are widely different, as the Creator has doubtless intended they should be, they are submitted to the same method of treatment.
See also the law against the quakers, passed on the 14th of October, 1656. "Whereas," says the preamble, "an accursed race of heretics called quakers has sprung up," &c. The clauses of the statute inflict a heavy fine on all captains of ships who should import quakers into the country. The quakers who may be found there shall be whipped and imprisoned with hard labor. Those members of the sect who should defend their opinions shall be first fined, then imprisoned, and finally driven out of the province.
American Institutions And Their Influence (1851) by Alexis De Tocqueville, John C. Spencer