Democracy in America, Volumes One and Two by Alexis de Tocqueville, trans. Henry Reeve is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University. This Portable . Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Tocqueville, Alexis de, – [De la démocratie en Amérique. English]. Democracy in America/Alexis. Democracy in America: historical-critical edition of De la démocratie en Amérique /Alexis de Tocqueville; edited by Eduardo Nolla; translated from the French by.
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5 On the Government of Democracy in America. On Universal Suffrage. On the Choices of the People and the Instincts of American Democracy in Its. Choices. Book Two: Influence Of Democracy On Progress Of Opinion in The United treated of in the work on the Democracy of America, which I published five years . Democracy in America. byTocqueville, Alexis de, ; Reeve, Henry, ; Spencer, John C. (John Canfield),
Tocqueville went on to a career as a politician and historian. He died in at the age of just 53, but his book is still regarded as a classic text today. And his ideas still stimulate political debate, particularly in America, where his influence has been most noticeable and lasting.
What Does Democracy in America Say? Although this attempt had proved unsuccessful, Tocqueville believed the French still wanted to live in a democracy, and his aim was to learn from America and take those lessons back to France. So as well as studying the American political system, Tocqueville also made sure he studied American society, American values, and American institutions, thinking that all these different elements must play a role in keeping democracy healthy.
Tocqueville was aware that there were potential dangers in adopting democracy as a system of government.
If the state became too powerful, he reasoned, the people might become dependent on it. If people were too dependent on the state, they might lose the ability to think for themselves.
And if people did not think for themselves, civilization itself might be threatened. Tocqueville also noted another—related—danger in democratic rule. Democracies could potentially develop where there would be no room for minority opinions. He called this the tyranny of the majority.
In Democracy in America Tocqueville discusses these problems and, especially, what the Americans had done to avoid them. He argues that the American legal system acted as an effective brake on excessive state power. Local societies played an important role in a working democracy, Tocqueville noted.
Americans from all walks of life and of all ages regularly came together to form groups—something that did not happen in the Europe of the s. These groups could have any aim or reason for coming together at all. They could meet for religious, sporting, or philanthropic that is, charitable or humanitarian reasons, or simply for enjoyment; it did not matter. For Tocqueville, what was key was the fact that individuals chose to form groups in the spirit of sharing and involvement.
He felt that these groups helped to keep state power under control. The fact that they existed showed that individual initiative was alive and well. They were not formed because the state had decided they should be but, rather, because individuals had decided to form them.
To Tocqueville, that showed a resilient and resourceful society rather than an unthinking, conformist one. And a society that formed groups to pursue certain goals could easily create its own forums where minority opinions could be heard. As part of a group, those opinions would have more weight and would be heard more widely.
Tocqueville believed that this kind of social activity would greatly benefit Europe. Why Does Democracy in America Matter? Democracy in America was published in two volumes, the first in and the other in It was immediately popular in both Europe and the United States, while also having a profound impact on the French population. By the twentieth century, it had become a classic work of political science , social science , and history.
It is a commonly assigned reading for undergraduates of American universities majoring in the political or social sciences, and part of the introductory political theory syllabus at Cambridge, Oxford, Princeton and other institutions. In the introduction to his translation of the book, Harvard Professor Harvey C. Mansfield calls it "at once the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on America.
Tocqueville's work is often acclaimed for making a number of astute predictions. He anticipates the potential acrimony over the abolition of slavery that would tear apart the United States and lead to the American Civil War as well as the eventual superpower rivalry between the United States and Russia, which exploded after World War II and spawned the Cold War.
Noting the rise of the industrial sector in the American economy, Tocqueville, some scholars have argued, also correctly predicted that an industrial aristocracy would rise from the ownership of labor.
He warned that ' On the other hand, Tocqueville proved shortsighted in noting that a democracy's equality of conditions stifles literary development.
Democracy in America
Equally, in dismissing the country's interest in science as limited to pedestrian applications for streamlining the production of material goods, he failed to imagine America's burgeoning appetite for pure scientific research and discovery. According to Tocqueville, democracy had some unfavorable consequences: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
This article is about the book written by Tocqueville. This section is in list format, but may read better as prose.
You can help by converting this section , if appropriate. Editing help is available. September Librairie de Charles Gosselin.
Retrieved 24 June II 1 ed. III 1 ed. IV 1 ed. The Christian Science Monitor.
Retrieved 22 April Democracy in America. The University of Chicago Press. University of Chicago Press.
Tocqueville and the problem of democracy. Stanford University Press. The Rhetoric of Women's History". The Journal of American History. University of North Carolina Press. How the Americans understand the Equality of the sexes". Saunders and Otley.
The young Woman in the Character of a Wife". Tocqueville's Political Economy. Princeton University Press. Retrieved Translator's Note — Arthur Goldhammer". Archived from the original on Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.
Mutual liberty Soft despotism. Gustave de Beaumont Francis J. Exploring Democracy in America.
Authority control BNF: Retrieved from " https: Hidden categories: Articles with incomplete citations from November All articles with incomplete citations Articles needing cleanup from September All pages needing cleanup Articles with sections that need to be turned into prose from September Articles with Project Gutenberg links Articles with LibriVox links Wikipedia articles with BNF identifiers.As for myself, I do not hesitate to avow that although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is in some respects one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen women occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked, By the twentieth century, it had become a classic work of political science , social science , and history.
Democracy in America — Volume 1 by Alexis de Tocqueville
Moreover, their power is a certain kind, being tied to the possession of land feudal estates and passing from one person to another in the same family only by inheritance. He even stayed in a log cabin. Ask them what the equality of conditions is responsible for in America. Tocqueville not only analyzed the tension between the requirements of faith and democratic norms, but also distinguished covenantal ways of negotiating these concerns from the approach taken by later advocates of religious freedom, fames Madison and Thomas Jefferson.
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