George Orwell Essays on Literature and Language - …

There is one topic on which we desire to say a few words, particularly as it is one on which the testimony of travellers is not uniform—the inordinate national vanity of which the Americans are accused, and their imputed excess of sensitiveness to criticism. On these points the testimony of M. de Tocqueville, M. de Beaumont, and Mr. Abdy, is extremely unfavourable. They all agree in representing the mass of Americans as not only offended by any disparagement of their country, even in the most unessential particular, but dissatisfied with any moderate praise; and as nourishing the most extravagant ideas of the superiority of their country over all others. All these authors agree also in ascribing this national weakness to the fulsome flattery heaped on the nation by nearly all their politicians and writers: flattery, of which Mr. Abdy (who excels almost any traveller we remember in the abundance of specific facts with which he usually substantiates his general observations) produces a number of very ludicrous instances.

George Orwell Essays on Literature and Language

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James May - Essays - Art, Literature and Politics

There is no theory, religious or political, which cannot be freely promulgated in the constitutional states of Europe, or which does not penetrate into the others; for there is no country in Europe so completely subjected to one power, that he who wishes to speak the truth may not find a support sufficient to protect him against the consequences of his independence. If he has the misfortune to live under an absolute monarchy, he often has the people with him; if he inhabits a free country, he can, in case of need, shelter himself under the royal authority. The aristocratic fraction of society sustains him in the democratic countries, and the democracy in the others. But in a democracy organized like that of the United States, there exists only one power, one single source of influence and success, and nothing beyond its limits.

Essays On Politics And Literature PDF Download

If the judge could only attack the legislator openly and directly, he would sometimes be afraid to oppose any resistance to his will; and at other moments party spirit might encourage him to brave it at every turn. The laws would consequently be attacked when the power from which they emanate is weak, and obeyed when it is strong. That is to say, when it would be useful to respect them, they would be contested; and when it would be easy to convert them into an instrument of oppression, they would be respected. But the American judge is brought into the political arena independently of his own will. He only judges the law because he is obliged to judge a case. The political question which he is called upon to resolve is connected with the interest of the parties, and he cannot refuse to decide it without being guilty of a denial of justice. He performs his functions as a citizen by fulfilling the precise duties which belong to his profession as a magistrate. It is true that upon this system the judicial censorship which is exercised by the courts of justice over the acts of the legislature cannot extend to all laws indefinitely, inasmuch as some of them can never give rise to that formal species of contestation which is termed a lawsuit; and even when such a contestation is possible, it may happen that no one is inclined to carry it into a court of justice.

Faded Dreams: The Politics and Economics of Race in America addresses the subject of economic inequalities among minorities.
John Stuart Mill, The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume XVIII - Essays on Politics and Society Part I (On Liberty) [1977]

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Mill no less than Tocqueville was eager to recognize the main political corollaries of these liberal ideas. He emphasized the importance for individuals of fostering and preserving combinations or associations to promote mutual protection and common causes, such as political unions, antislavery societies, and the like. He saw the freedom of combination as intimately joined to that of the press. “The real Political Unions of England,” he wrote, “are the Newspapers. It is these which tell every person what all other persons are feeling, and in what manner they are ready to act.” (165.) He evidently did not foresee that sometimes newspapers might also become the instruments of a democratic despotism.

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It any exemplification be necessary of these last words, an obvious one may be found in the disgraceful state of the English law respecting the property of married women. If women had votes, could laws ever have existed by which a husband, who perhaps derives from his wife all he has, is entitled to the absolute and exclusive control of it the moment it comes into her hands? As to the other objection which our author anticipates, “incompetency from ignorance,” (a strange objection in a country which has produced Queen Elizabeth,) of that ignorance the exclusion itself is the main cause. Was it to be expected that women should frequently feel any interest in acquiring a knowledge of politics, when they are pronounced by law incompetent to hold even the smallest political function, and when the opinion of the stronger sex discountenances their meddling with the subject, as a departure from their proper sphere?

Get this from a library! Essays on politics and literature. [Bernard Crick]

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the occupation accustomed me to see and hear the difficulties of every course, and the means of obviating them, stated and discussed deliberately, with a view to execution; it gave me opportunities of perceiving when public measures, and other political facts, did not produce the effects which had been expected of them, and from what causes; above all it was valuable to me by making me, in this portion of my activity, merely one wheel in a machine, the whole of which had to work together. . . . I became practically conversant with the difficulties of moving bodies of men, the necessities of compromise, the art of sacrificing the non-essential to preserve the essential. I learnt how to obtain the best I could, when I could not obtain everything. . . .