It is under repu­bli­can govern­ment that all the autho­rity of edu­ca­tion is nee­ded. The fear of des­po­tic govern­ments ari­ses spon­ta­neously in the midst of threats and punish­ments ; the honor of monar­chies is favo­red by the pas­sions, and favors them in turn ; but vir­tue is self-renun­cia­tion, which is always a very hard thing.

This vir­tue may be defi­ned as love of the laws and of the home­land. As this love requi­res a conti­nual pre­fe­rence for the public inte­rest over one’s own, it confers all the sepa­rate vir­tues : they are nothing more than this pre­fe­rence.

This love is sin­gu­larly atta­ched to demo­cra­cies. Only there is the govern­ment entrus­ted to each citi­zen. Now the govern­ment is like eve­ry­thing else in the world : to pre­serve it, you must love it.

You have never heard it said that kings did not love monar­chy, and that des­pots hated des­po­tism.

Everything the­re­fore depends on esta­bli­shing this love in the repu­blic, and it is to ins­pire it that edu­ca­tion must be attu­ned ; but for chil­dren to have it, there is one sure means, which is for the fathers them­sel­ves to have it.

We are ordi­na­rily at liberty to pass our know­ledge on to our chil­dren, and even more at liberty to share our pas­sions with them.

If that does not occur, it is because what has been done in the father’s house is under­mi­ned by out­side impres­sions.

It is not the rising peo­ple that dege­ne­ra­tes ; it only decli­nes when the fully-for­med men are already cor­rup­ted.