A recent letter in the Brunswick News noted that in 1835, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville predicted “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.”

Half a century later, historian and future British ambassador to the U.S. James Bryce, toured our country as it grappled with inequalities of wealth, rising levels of immigration, rapid economic transition and questions about the United States’ role in the world.

Bryce predicted that disaster could strike American democracy at the hands of a demagogic President with an enthusiastic public base. “A bold President who knew himself to be supported by a majority in the country might be tempted to override the law.” Bryce wrote. “He might be a tyrant, not against the masses, but with the masses.”

Let’s hope these presumably well-meaning men’s predictions simply were wrong.

Dave Davis

St. Simons Island

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