Speaking at a Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors event last night, Hillary Clinton decided to talk about Alexis de Tocqueville. The problem? She got it wrong -- by about a hundred years.
"There's a wonderful phrase that was first used by Alexis de Tocqueville, who came to the United States in the very early 1930s and traveled around our country," said Hillary Clinton, a probable 2016 presidential candidate. "And he was so amazed at how Americans organized themselves -- you know, coming from aristocratic Europe, which was totally top-down and hierarchical -- he couldn't believe how many of us were joiners. But it was not only because individually going that far back we saw that as something we wanted to do for ourselves, but because we knew together we could do so much more. You know, at a time, when sometimes we seem divided and people seem to be arguing all the time, we really have to take stock of how blessed we are, be grateful for the men and women who serve us, and be thankful that we have through all of our ups and our downs and our challenges continue to stand for the values that unite us: freedom and democracy and opportunity."
Tocqueville died in 1859, well before the 1930s. Indeed, the French man came to America in the 1830s, meaning Clinton got her history wrong by a hundred years.