The French Revolution, unlike the American one, was not animated by a desire for limited government but for one based on popular sovereignty. Americans distrusted everyone who wielded power and sought to prevent the abuse of power by surrounding its holders with constitutional checks and subjecting its exercise to the rule of law. The French revolutionaries and their many successors were not afraid of power, they simply distrusted those persons - the king and his court - who then exercised it. Hardly anyone in France, or later in Sweden, wanted limited government; they wanted popular government. If the people ruled, they should rule fully; thus, the discretionary authority once possessed by the monarchy should be transferred intact into their hands.
- James Q. Wilson