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
“A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment a… https://t.co/8tXRjtqQMY— Ivanka Trump (@Ivanka Trump) 1574378561.0
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.
This appears to be a very...interesting rendering from the conclusion of chapter 7 of volume 1, part 1. https://t.co/bQnN63TJyB— b-boy bouiebaisse (@b-boy bouiebaisse) 1574379224.0
here’s how it looks in my copy https://t.co/aH36MYUjQL— b-boy bouiebaisse (@b-boy bouiebaisse) 1574379228.0
But others recognized it was not de Tocqueville at all but rather Hare's interpretation of a translated text of de Tocqueville.
@jbouie The source for this quote, oft repeated, is an 1889 book, not Tocqueville. https://t.co/uJrgMJUs1u— Fred MacDowell (@Fred MacDowell) 1574380085.0
I made a whole movie about de Tocqueville and he never said that. He did say "He was as great as a man can be with… https://t.co/IJwELHvXrr— John Fugelsang (@John Fugelsang) 1574386959.0
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.
This quote is not de Tocqueville, but a wrong attribution from a WSJ opinion piece, you dull-witted sycophant. Also… https://t.co/s5MhBBGb0g— Victoria Brownworth (@Victoria Brownworth) 1574425528.0
@VABVOX This was my reply. https://t.co/SQauq3PhAs— Laura Marie (@Laura Marie) 1574425855.0
Some shared actual, more appropriate quotes from de Tocqueville...
"If, after having concentrated all the powers of government, [Americans] should vest them in the hands of an irresp… https://t.co/w5yzPJNNVZ— Dr. Danna Young🇺🇸✌🏻 (@Dr. Danna Young🇺🇸✌🏻) 1574385500.0
“What is to be feared is not so much the immorality of the great as the fact that immorality may lead to greatness.… https://t.co/03tUXgKOWG— Windsor Mann (@Windsor Mann) 1574378960.0
...while others went with quotes from other sources.
"Grab 'em by the pussy." "Do us a favor though." "Very fine people on both sides." "Bleeding from her whatever." "I… https://t.co/nCKZKVqQQz— Bob Cesca (@Bob Cesca) 1574379876.0
Says woman whose dad has lied in public over 13,000 times in public in his first 1,000 days in office. https://t.co/AYwBLOgns6— Mark Elliott (@Mark Elliott) 1574386429.0
This caused many to reflect on what bothers the First Daughter and presidential adviser and what doesn't.
Which of these bothers Ivanka? Lying about the Central Park 5 Grabbing women by the p---y Paying hush money to a p… https://t.co/tDfsy9MH0J— Keith Boykin (@Keith Boykin) 1574393968.0
@keithboykin Don't forget fraudulent charities and stealing from and mocking veterans— AJ (@AJ) 1574394782.0
@keithboykin @sherlk_ @IvankaTrump talking about "A decline of public morals in the US"? Really? when her dad has… https://t.co/PD9kXO3lwa— John T Marohn (@John T Marohn) 1574397696.0
A few provided their own creative quotes to match Ivanka's.
@keithboykin A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of power of repub… https://t.co/Db5kkyPELh— Hey, It’s Me! 😷...6 feet...😷 (@Hey, It’s Me! 😷...6 feet...😷) 1574395152.0
"Go to prison." America, 2019 https://t.co/5A8nqHanI8— Eric Garland (@Eric Garland) 1574378984.0
“Donald Trump is moral garbage. Impeach that motherfucker.” Ghost of Alexis de Tocqueville, 2019 https://t.co/DKjLqjXs56— Sarah Churchwell (@Sarah Churchwell) 1574384760.0
The hypocrisy was quickly pointed out.
@keithboykin None bec the trump kids who are making so much money from his presidency have no soul. Like their fath… https://t.co/d0zdAbeXQi— 𝙳𝚒𝚊𝚗𝚎 Wil (@𝙳𝚒𝚊𝚗𝚎 Wil) 1574398131.0
@keithboykin White House Barbie isn't even 100% human anymore... she is more plastic and silicon, and only says what daddy lets her— Stephen T (@Stephen T) 1574618956.0
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.