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People desrve the government they get

Posted by ESC on June 28, 2003

In Reply to: People desrve the government they get posted by Moe on June 27, 2003

: I understand the meaning of "people deserve the government they get" when applied to modern democracies with free elections. What I wonder is where the saying comes from, about how old it is, and whether it was ever used with a broader reference -- like to societies that have not had free elections.

EVERY COUNTRY HAS THE GOVERNMENT IT DESERVES - "'Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite.' "Lettres et Opuscules Inédits," vol. I, letter 53 (15 August 1811.) Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), French writer and diplomat. From "The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations," Fifth Edition, edited by Elizabeth Knowles (Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York, 2001).