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Location: Masterton, New Zealand

I survived school history despite the best efforts of the education system to bore me to death. Many years later, I discovered Treaties, dates, the movement of nations, are mere context. The fascination is in the details.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

National traits - according to Alexis de Tocqueville's 'Democracy in America', 1835.

".... national pride takes different forms.
The Americans, in their relations with strangers, are impatient of the least criticism and absolutely insatiable for praise. The slightest congratulation pleases them, but the most extravagant eulogium is not enough to satisfy them; they are all the time touting for your praise, and if you are slow to give it, they begin praising themselves. It is as if they were doubtful of their own merit. Their vanity is not only hungry, but anxious and envious. It gives nothing, and asks insistently. .....
The Englishman, on the contrary, tranquilly enjoys the real or imaginary advantages which his country affords. He cares nothing for the praise of strangers. His attitude towards the whole world is one of disdainful and ignorant reserve. His pride seeks no nourishment; it lives on itself."

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