Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
Alexis de Tocqueville (180559)
Americans combine to give fêtes, found seminaries, build churches, distribute books, and send missionaries to the antipodes. Hospitals, prisons, and schools take shape in that way. Finally, if they want to proclaim a truth or propagate some feeling by the encouragement of a great example, they form an association. In every case, at the head of any new undertaking, where in France you would find the government or in England some territorial magnate, in the United States you are sure to find an association. I have come across several types of association in America of which, I confess, I had not previously the slightest conception, and I have often admired the extreme skill they show in proposing a common object for the exertions of very many and in inducing them voluntarily to pursue it.
ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, Democracy in America, ed. J. P. Mayer, trans. George Lawrence, vol. 2, part 2, chapter 5, pp. 51314 (1969). Originally published in 18351840.