3. THE EXAGGERATION AND INGENUOUSNESS OF THE SENTIMENTS OF
CROWDS. Crowds do not admit doubt or uncertainty, and always go
to extremes--Their sentiments always excessive. 4. THE
INTOLERANCE, DICTATORIALNESS, AND CONSERVATISM OF CROWDS. The
reasons of these sentiments--The servility of crowds in the face
of a strong authority--The momentary revolutionary instincts of
crowds do not prevent them from being extremely
conservative--Crowds instinctively hostile to changes and
progress. 5. THE MORALITY OF CROWDS. The morality of
crowds, according to the suggestions under which they act, may be
much lower or much higher than that of the individuals composing
them--Explanation and examples-- Crowds rarely guided by those
considerations of interest which are most often the exclusive
motives of the isolated individual--The moralising role of
Having indicated in a general way the principal characteristics
of crowds, it remains to study these characteristics in detail.
It will be remarked that among the special characteristics of
crowds there are several--such as impulsiveness, irritability,
incapacity to reason, the absence of judgment and of the critical
spirit, the exaggeration of the sentiments, and others
besides--which are almost always observed in beings belonging to
inferior forms of evolution--in women, savages, and children, for
instance. However, I merely indicate this analogy in passing;
its demonstration is outside the scope of this work. It would,
moreover, be useless for persons acquainted with the psychology
of primitive beings, and would scarcely carry conviction to those
in ignorance of this matter.
I now proceed to the successive consideration of the different
characteristics that may be observed in the majority of crowds.
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