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Alexander Fraser Tytler
1748 - 1813

Scottish professor of history at Edinburgh University, a.k.a. Lord Woodhouselee, author of The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic (1776)


A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. [Tytler describes the life cycle of civilization as from Bondage to Spiritual Faith to Great Courage to Liberty to Abundance to Selfishness to Complacency to Apathy to Dependency and back into Bondage.]

1776 - from The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic