• Local assemblies of the people constitute the strength of free nations. Municipal institutions are to liberty what primary schools are to science: they bring it within the people's reach, and teach them how to use and enjoy it. A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty.

    Alexis de Tocqueville (1851). “The Republic of the United States of America: And Its Political Institutions, Reviewed and Examined”, p.62