Many have heard quoted the first two lines of Alexander Tyler's statement. Here is the rest of it.
The Fall Of A Republic
While the thirteen American colonies were still under British control, Professor Alexander Tyler wrote the following:
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage. Professor Alexander Tyler
And where is America on the progression scale now?
I think it is past time for the good people of this nation to rise up and loudly proclaim that enough is enough and work to set this country back on course if that is possible. There is absolutely no logical reason why America should go the way of past great civilizations if we can restore honor and integrity in ourgovernment and a sense of patriotism in our people. There is no reason why the"Gimmemores" and the "Mefirsts" should prevail in our society.
We must remember that our country has a spirit unprecedented in the affairs of man. Many past civilizations were mighty and victorious in war,conquering and exploiting millions, but I can think of none that have been as magnanimous as America towards those it once counted as enemies. What past great civilization reached out and helped those it had vanquished as America has done for Germany, Japan, and Russia? What other nation has stepped aside so graciously when previously vanquished foes and victims of their foe's conquests petitioned for a return to self government? Of all the real estate captured by American fighting men and paid for with their blood, America has only two very small territories remaining, American Samoa and Guam, and they will be granted independence the moment they decide to go it on their own. Neither seem willing to break the bonds with America at the moment. Though not the only point of uniqueness, this particular one speaks reams about the heart and soul of America. It is only recently that America's power has been cowardly misused for nefarious purpose, but there is no reason for this to continue if we elect honest, ethical and courageous men and women to represent and lead us. If we do not do this, we will rapidly become yet another self inflicted social failure.
The people of America need to teach themselves to discern the difference between politicians and statesmen and the difference is great. A politician is: a person engaged in party politics as a profession; a person primarily interested inpolitical office for selfish or other narrow usually short-sighted reasons. Astatesman is: one versed in the principles or art of government; especially one actively engaged in conducting the business of a government or in shaping its policies; one who exercises political leadership wisely and without narrow partisanship. America is cursed with far too many politicians and far too few statesmen in my opinion. While we may have become a nation of blind adherence to political rhetoric due to our laziness and unwillingness to get the facts and think on our own, there is no reason we cannot become a nation of wise, informed citizens choosing those that display the highest standards of honor, integrity,and moral courage to lead us.
Nowhere in any of the many founding documents of our country do I find any idea among the framers of our nation that there would rise up an exalted chaste of professional politicians who exhibit the very worst of the definition and who would, by hook or crook, build and maintain a power base by redistributing the wealth of others. That concept would be absolutely abhorrent to them. They were the ones willing to go to war with England and risk everything over unfair and burdensome taxation issues. I think they had in mind a republic led by statesmen selflessly dedicated to the good of the nation. Perhaps the best thing Americacan do to save itself is to break the power base of the "professionals" by termlimits. The "professionals" have not taken us up upward, but downward.
I do not say the constitutional guarantee of electing anyone we choose to represent us should be done away with. I am saying that perhaps a mandatory break of 4 to 6 years between two consecutive terms in any national elected office is good for the people in general and the nation in particular. It gives those that have led a break from the rigors of government and an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with what it is like to earn a living or make a payroll as most of us have to do. Legislating term limits would not violate the spirit or intent of the Constitution any more than prohibiting the false crying of "fire" in a crowded theater violates the Constitutional guarantee of free speech. Surely there exists among us sufficient quantities of wise, honest, ethical men and women able to be cycled in and out of positions of power rather than the less than 600"professional politicians" seemingly concreted in those positions of power now. To believe otherwise speaks poorly of the quality of the American people and damns us to extinction.