If you've spent any time on the internet, you've probably seen the quote:
"The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy." ~ Abraham Lincoln, 1864
It is, of course, not a real quote from Abraham Lincoln, but it makes a good point that First Daughter and official White House Adviser Ivanka Trump should have heeded.
"A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office." ~ Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835
There's one big problem though. Alexis de Tocqueville never said nor wrote that.
The words come from the pen of American John Innes Clark Hare in 1889. The French diplomat Ivanka thought she quoted died in 1859.
30 years after his death, Hare paraphrased a translated passage from de Tocqueville's 1835 book De La Démocratie en Amérique to make his own case regarding the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868.
The 1835 book was to help the people of France better understand their own position between a fading aristocratic and an emerging democratic order and to help them sort out any confusion. As such, de Tocqueville viewed much of the power structures of democracy from the view of those who lived under a monarchy for millennia.
People quickly corrected Ivanka's error in understanding de Tocqueville's viewpoint.
But others recognized it was not de Tocqueville at all but rather Hare's interpretation of a translated text of de Tocqueville.
Although Ivanka came by the quote not through her own knowledge or research, but rather a Wall Street Journal opinion piece penned by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Elizabeth Price Foley.
Some shared actual, more appropriate quotes from de Tocqueville...
...while others went with quotes from other sources.
This caused many to reflect on what bothers the First Daughter and presidential adviser and what doesn't.
A few provided their own creative quotes to match Ivanka's.
The hypocrisy was quickly pointed out.
A good rule to follow when quoting anyone on the internet? Do your homework before hitting enter.
The book Quotes That Will Change Your Life: A Curated Collection of Mind-Blowing Wisdom is available here.