Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Alexander Fraser Tytler (17471813)
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
Attributed to ALEXANDER FRASER TYTLER, LORD WOODHOUSELEE. Unverified.