Hillary Clinton’s DNC acceptance speech on Thursday evening hit on all of the expected themes. However, along with the typical liberal boilerplate there was one line in particular that sounded familiar.
“But here’s the sad truth,” Hillary said. “There is no other Donald Trump…This is it. And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.” [emphasis added]
It’s a fantastic line. Unfortunately for Hillary, someone else wrote it.
The line “America is great because America is good” is pulled directly from a quote that has long been attributed to 19th century French writer Alexis de Tocqueville.
I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodis harbors and her ample rivers — and it was not there. . . . in her fertile fields and bound less forests — and it was not there. . . . in her rich mines and her vast worl d commerce — and it was not there. . . . in her democratic Congress and her ma tchless Constitution — and it was not there. Not until I went into the churche s of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand th e secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.
This isn’t the first time a Clinton has used the line. In a speech delivered in March of 1994, Bill Clinton used the same quote, the only difference being that he actually cited de Tocqueville. Then-President Clinton said:
I believe fundamentally in the common sense and the essential core goodness of the American people. Don’t forget that Alexis de Tocqueville said a long time ago that America is great because America is good; and if America ever ceases to be good, she will no longer be great.
Despite it’s apocryphal attribution to de Tocqueville, the attribution is actually spurious. It isn’t found in the French statesman’s most famous work Democracy in America, nor is it found anywhere else in his writings.
The RNC’s Sean Spicer raised the alarm on the plagiarism on Thursday evening:
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) July 29, 2016
While Melania Trump was pilloried for her speech, will the media hold the actual Democratic nominee accountable for lifting part of her speech? We’re not holding our breath.