Democracy in America Kindle ↠ Democracy in eBook

Democracy in America Kindle ↠ Democracy in eBook


  • Paperback
  • 983 pages
  • Democracy in America
  • Alexis de Tocqueville
  • English
  • 07 September 2019
  • 0140447601

10 thoughts on “Democracy in America

  1. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I struggle to penetrate God s point of view, from which vantage point I try to observe and judge human affairs. A few months ago, bored at work and with no other obligations to tie me to New York, I decided that I would look into employment in Europe and now, several months and an irksome visa process later, I am on the verge of setting off to Madrid Unsurprisingly, I m very excited to go but of course leaving one s home is always bittersweet This is partly why I picked up Tocqueville s D I struggle to penetrate God s point of view, from which vantage point I try to observe and judge human affairs. A few months ago, bored at work and with no other obligations to tie me to New York, I decided that I would look into employment in Europe and now, several months and an irksome visa process later, I am on the verge of setting off to Madrid Unsurprisingly, I m very excited to go but of course leaving one s home is always bittersweet This is partly why I picked up Tocqueville s Democracy in America, as a sort of literary good bye kiss to this odd, uncouth, chaotic, and fantastic place which has, up until now, molded my character, sustained my body, and contained my thoughts This turned out to be an excellent choice, for this book is without a doubt the best book ever written on the United States I am able to say this, even though I haven t even read a fraction of the books written on this country, because I simply can t imagine how anyone could have done it better As it is, I can hardly believe that Tocqueville could understand so much in the short span of his life and when I recall that he wrote this book after only 9 months in America, while he was still in his thirties, I am doubly astounded This seems scarcely human Part of the reason for his seemingly miraculous ability is that, with Tocqueville, you find two things conjoined which are normally encountered separately extremely keen powers of observation, and a forceful analytic mind With most travel writers, you encounter only the former and with most political philosophers, only the latter The product of this combination is a nearly perfect marriage of facts and reasoning, of survey and criticism, the ideas always hovering just above the reality, transforming the apparently senseless fabric of society into a sensible and intelligible whole Almost everything he sees, he understands and not only does he understand what he sees, but so often hits upon the why Although this book covers an enormous amount of ground religion, slavery, culture, government, the role of women, just to name a few topics there is one central question that runs through every subject What does the appearance of democracy mean for the future of humanity Tocqueville sees this question as the most pressing and significant one of his time for, as he perceived, what was happening then in America was destined to inspire Europe and perhaps the whole world to adopt this new form of government, which would forever change the face of society In short, Tocqueville is seeking to understand America so that he could understand the future and the plan of the book follows these two goals successively The first volume, published in 1835, is a thorough analysis of the United States and the second volume, published in 1840, is a comparison of democracy and aristocracy, an attempt to pinpoint how a switch to a democratic government causes far reaching changes in the whole culture Tocqueville is famously ambivalent about American democracy He often sounds greatly impressed at what he finds, noting how hardworking and self reliant are most Americans and yet so often, particularly in the second volume, Tocqueville sounds gloomy and pessimistic about what the future holds Much of his analysis is centered on the idea of social equality He often reminds the reader and by the way, Tocqueville wrote this for a French audience that Americans, rich or poor, famous or obscure, will treat everyone as an equal The entire idea of castes or classes has, in Tocqueville s opinion, been abolished and this has had many effects Most obviously, it gives free reign to American ambition, for anyone can potentially climb from the bottom to the top thus results the ceaseless activity and endless financial scheming of Americans And even those who are quite well off are not spared from this fever of ambition, for the lack of inherited wealth and stable fortunes means that the rich must continually exert effort to maintain their fortunes Whether this is true any is another story Thus we find a kind of money obsession, where everyone must constantly keep their minds in their wallets In America, money is not only real currency, but cultural currency as well, a marker of success and in this context, the creature comforts of life, which after all only money can buy, are elevated to great importance Rich food, warm beds, spacious houses these are praised above the simpler pleasures in life, such as agreeable conversation or pleasant walks on sunny days, as the former require money while the latter are free and available to anyone The central irony of a classless society is that it forces everyone to focus constantly on their status, as it is always in jeopardy You can imagine how shocking this must have been for Tocqueville, the son of an aristocratic family There simply was no class of Americans who had the leisure of retiring from the cares of the world and contemplating the higher but less practical things in life All thought was consumed in activity This results in a society of the ordinary individual In America, there are few great men as Tocqueville would say but a great many good ones Americans are self reliant, but not daring they are often decent, but never saintly They will sometimes risk their lives in pursuit of a fortune, but never their fortunes for the sake their lives An American might temporarily accept hardship if there is a financial reward on the other end but how many Americans would forsake their fortunes, their comforts, their houses and property, for the sake of an idea, a principle, a dream Thus a kind of narrow ambition pervades the society, where everyone is hoping to better their lot, but almost nobody is hoping to do something beyond acquiring money and things One can easily imagine the young Tocqueville, his mind filled with Machiavelli and Montesquieu, meeting American after American with no time or inclination for something as intangible as knowledge In the midst of his large scale cultural analysis, Tocqueville sometimes pauses for a time, putting off the role of philosopher to take up the role of prophet Tocqueville does get many of his predictions wrong For example, he did not at all foresee the Civil War and in fact he thought Americans would never willingly risk their property fighting each other and instead he thought that there would be a gigantic race war between blacks and whites in the south But Tocqueville was otherwise quite right about race relations in the slave owning states He predicts that slavery could not possibly last, and that it would soon be abolished and he notes that abolishing slavery will probably be the easiest task in improving the relationship between blacks and whites For although slavery can be destroyed through legal action, the effects of slavery, the deep rooted racial prejudice and hatred, cannot so easily be wiped clean In support of this view, Tocqueville notes how badly treated are free blacks in the northern states, where slavery is banned Without a place in society, they are shunned and fall into poverty The persistence of the color line in America is a testament to Tocqueville s genius and our failure to prove him wrong But perhaps the most arresting prediction Tocqueville makes is about the future rivalry of the United States with Russia Here are his words Americans struggle against obstacles placed there by nature Russians are in conflict with men The former fight the wilderness and barbarity the latter, civilization with all its weaponry thus, American victories are achieved with the plowshare, Russia s with the soldier s sword To achieve their aim, the former rely upon self interest and allow free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of individuals The latter focus the whole power of society upon a single man The former deploy freedom as their main mode of action the latter, slavish obedience The point of departure is different, their paths are diverse but each of them seems destined by some secret providential design to hold in their hands the fate of half the world at some date in the future.While discussing such an obviously brilliant man as was Tocqueville, whose ideas have become foundational in the study of American society, it seems almost petty to praise his prose style But I would be doing an injustice to any readers of this review if I failed to mention that Tocqueville is an extraordinary writer I was consistently captivated by his ability to sum up his thoughts into crisp aphorisms and to compress his analyses into perfectly composed paragraphs I can only imagine how much better it is in the original French Here is only a brief example Commerce is a natural opponent of all violent passions It likes moderation, delights in compromise, carefully avoids angry outbursts It is patient, flexible, subtle, and has recourse to extreme measures only when absolute necessity obliges it to do so Commerce makes men independent of each other, gives them quite another idea of their personal value, persuades them to manage their own affairs, and teaches them to be successful Hence it inclines them to liberty but draws them away from revolutions.In the brief space of a book review even a long one I cannot hope to do justice to such a wide ranging, carefully argued, and incisive book as this So I hope that I have managed to persuade you to at least add this work to your to read list, long as it may be already For my part, I can t imagine a better book to have read as I prepare myself to visit a new continent, about the same age as was Tocqueville when he visited these shores, for my own travels in a strange place And although, lowly American that I am, I cannot hope to achieve even a fraction of what Tocqueville has, perhaps his voice echoing in my ears will be enough to encourage me to look, to listen, and to understand


  2. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    I had thought to come back to this after reading a general history of the early history of the US republic, but instead a sudden batch of newspaper articles wondering about the end of Democracy brought me back to it.Reading this book I felt that the unfinished The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution was Tocqueville s masterpiece and in so far as Democracy in America has renown, I feel it is because there are a lot of Americans, and naturally it is nice when a foreigner takes your country an I had thought to come back to this after reading a general history of the early history of the US republic, but instead a sudden batch of newspaper articles wondering about the end of Democracy brought me back to it.Reading this book I felt that the unfinished The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution was Tocqueville s masterpiece and in so far as Democracy in America has renown, I feel it is because there are a lot of Americans, and naturally it is nice when a foreigner takes your country and its institutions seriously and discusses them soberly as something of world historical significance although in places he is plainly exasperated by his hosts.I feel it is important to say that it is not a travelogue, nor is it a systematic study of American institutions circa 1830 de Tocqueville s big idea, I guess, is that a culture or civilisation is by definition congruent so that on the basis of a couple of key data points one can infer or deduce the entire nature of that culture and civilisation On the one hand he is wonderfully inventive coming close to describing alienation and deskilling as a consequence of industrial labour organisation what will become of the man s mind, he asks, if all he does is make pin heads all day for years on end, on the other hand he plainly suffers from the absence of conceptual language which will be invented later and suffers from a fondness of logic and deduction, for example in his opinion at the time of writing there was no American literature but, because he perceives the nature of the culture of the USA, he gives us a chapter about what American and indeed all democratic countries literature will be like, ditto poetry, theatre, history writing and how the USA will conduct wars book 2 Chapter XIII onwards He suffers from Observational bias too because Andrew Jackson was President during his visit he assumes that the trend from then on will be for the Federal structures to become weaker and state ones stronger view spoiler which reminds me of a history of modern Greece that I read, the author closed with the election of a New Democracy government in the mid to late 1980s which he heralded as a decisive changing point in the history at least of Greece, when with a few yearsperspective we see that it bumbled and rumbled along determined to resolutely no kind of changing point at all hide spoiler Here his biases may also be due to his sources both books and the people he meet in the USA who by implication seem to have been well to do persons opposed to the Democratic party.Having read the thing twice, I feel as though I am a person on their death bed regretting that they didn t dounpaid overtime while they had the chance there need be no shame in reading a selection or an abridged version, Tocqueville would have benefited from an imaginative and kind editor, he spends pages expressing one idea but in lots of slightly different ways, it is possible to imagine a condensed version a couple of hundred pages long He suffers strongly from being innovative, later generations would devise concepts like conventional wisdom or collect statistics, or indeed establishostensibly democratic states and providingdata to chew over It is a bookadmirable in its ambition than likeable in it s delivery.In studying democracy in America we notice two obvious separate subjects America and Democracy, and the USA we can further say in the 1830s was a colonial society, a frontier society, a capitalist society which had a degree of industrialisation, had regions with a slave economy, as well as regions absorbing immigrants from overseas and regions absorbing internal migrants and all these factors worked together in a dynamic way Tocqueville doesn t pull all these elements apart nor can he know what was typical of democratic societies in general or only of America because they wasn t much to compare the USA with he doesn t much like Switzerland as it wasn t federal enough for his liking in the 1830s in his lifetime.Tocqueville was very interested in the role of religion, he observes that Christianity is essential democratic even Catholicism because he holds that everyone is equal beneath the priest, for his contemporaries and indeed Europeans for a further hundred years or so this would have been a provocative position to take the hostility in some countries to democratic tendencies from churches was marked and turf wars over education, welfare and social policy generally were and have been an ongoing process, I recall in the context of Italian unification that a Pope forbade Italians from participating in elections which I guess gave people something extra to talk about in the confessional box Religion, like Aristocracy meaning potentially any elite group in society functions in a dualistic manner, both are anti democratic and underpin democracy simultaneously they tend towards tyranny majoritarian culture in the case of religion, generally being anti democratic in the case of elites while at the same time promoting a unifying culture and protecting privileges and rights for all That nothing has a simple effect in the social dynamic, but is at least two faced was a useful insight.de Tocqueville was hardly a disinterested or neutral observer, he was an aristocrat, but he believed that the trend was towards democratic governments in politics He also felt that governments would be increasingly centralised and would have greater and greater scope than ever before, this meant that when democratic governments flipped in to despotism these despotic governments would bepowerful than any tyranny seen before 1830, democratic society would be vulnerable to tyranny because of the drive to equality, there would be no institutions or individuals capable of resisting despotism which seems a curious position since Aristocrats and provincial liberties in his native France hadn t been so successful in restraining the ambitions of mighty kings.Implicit in his thinking is French history, he assumes that all governments are essentially programmatic and are always working to achieve a certain programme coherent across centuries, he also seems to have the likes of Turgot and Sully in mind in believing that there are great statesmen, philosophes perhaps at heart, public spirited and of considerable intellect who really ought to be ruling over everybody, for him President Washington and the early leadership of the USA were of that ilk but things have been going downhill since Jefferson in his opinion For Tocqueville pure or model forms of government are practically irrelevant, politics is human interaction The history, social complexion and geography of the country shape how the democracy will actually function in practise At times this felt deterministic, if history is destiny then can we only say that democratic countries will remain so and non democratic societies remain so for all time But Tocqueville believes that through education a society can becomeand presumably less too democratic By education he means involvement in democratic activities holding political office and involvement in running public affairs In terms of the future of representative governments this seems to me a disturbing observation, are there countries where one can still observe a functioning Cursus honorum with aspiring politicians working up from fly catcher general to head of state Jury service he believes too is educative it teaches everybody that citizens are the ultimate power and are the ones with the right to decide and govern In this I feel the weakness of his trust in logic and deduction I feel that what he says makes sense but if it actually has that effect on society generally I am not sure, and while we can feel that the transition from non democratic to democratic society is unlikely to be smooth or easy, but that seems too simplistic a view too In addition to despotism Tocqueville s picture of the tyranny of the majority is strikingly pessimistic majority culture indeed looks worse than a despotismwhat I find most repulsive in America is not the extreme freedom that prevails there but the shortage of any guarantee against tyrannyp.294 in Tocqueville s vision of America the government represents the majority whose values and ideas will also be reflected throughout the legal system and public service general, he tells of observing an election in Pennslyvania and asking if free Blacks have the vote, he is told yes, but they don t dare to vote presumably for fear of violence , of course Tocqueville himself was also part of the majority in some ways, he reflects that everybody imaginable has the vote in the USA in the 1830s despite being in correspondence with J.S Mill he doesn t imagine giving women the vote and thinks it normal that servants not just slaves don t have the vote either Even if you do have the vote, as we noticed, exercising it is another issue and cultural change to shift the position of the majority is something else again Perhaps it begins to make sense that when French President Louis Napoleon held a referendum asking This democracy business is a bit rubbish really, do you agree that I must become your lawful Emperor, Napoleon III that a majority voted yes view spoiler the actual question was probably worded slightly differently hide spoiler I get the impression that Tocqueville has been mined as a source of an idealised view of the USA, how far his view of essentially the North and North west of the USA of the 1830 was a realistic and b remained similar as the country continued to develop I am sure many others will have their own ideas Thinking of some of the quotes below I see I ve read him in a similar light playing the game of what he got right or got wrong this is I guess to fall into the Texas sharp shooter fallacy, the USA even in 1830, was already a pretty big target, and the future is not so small either view spoiler hopefully hide spoiler.On the remarkable side I think is his view of slavery that a particular and not so visible evil is how the slave internalises the negative view that the slave society has of them and that the downfall of a civilisation need not be sudden, catastrophic and violent he anticipates the Needham Question by seeing the state of early nineteenth China as a warning you can be a forerunner yet still end up falling way behind without the need for any barbarians charging down the streets


  3. Russell Bittner Russell Bittner says:

    I don t mind admitting that Alexis de Toqueville s Democracy in America is quite possible the most demanding piece of exposition I ve read since Hegel s Phenomenology of Mind. I suspect it s one of those books analogous, if you will, to Cervantes Don Quixote, Melville s Moby Dick, Proust s In Search of Lost Time or Musil s Man Without Qualities that avid readers want to have read, but never have.I finally did.If you can find the time and the quiet to read fifty pages of th I don t mind admitting that Alexis de Toqueville s Democracy in America is quite possible the most demanding piece of exposition I ve read since Hegel s Phenomenology of Mind. I suspect it s one of those books analogous, if you will, to Cervantes Don Quixote, Melville s Moby Dick, Proust s In Search of Lost Time or Musil s Man Without Qualities that avid readers want to have read, but never have.I finally did.If you can find the time and the quiet to read fifty pages of this book a day, you can accomplish it in under three weeks If you can devote yourself tothan fifty pages a day and have the concentration necessary to make sense of what you re reading you re a better wo man than I am.I couldn t In spite of my best efforts and virtually ideal conditions most often in some secluded spot in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden , I found myself having to read many sentences two and three times over Democracy in America is no doubtworthy of a dissertation than of a review And I suspect that thousands of dissertations have been written on this oeuvre. The book is dense with a capital D and any sort of commentary on it could rival exegesis of the Torah.Dense it is But also prescient with a capital P If you can t find the time or the circumstances to devote yourself to a reading of the entire work, read just Chapter 10 of Part II, Volume One Some Considerations Concerning the Present State and Probable Future of the Three Races that Inhabit the Territory of the United States And keep in mind that Volume One was published in 1835 the Trail of Tears the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to a circumscribed territory in Oklahoma happened only three years later and the Civil War was still relatively far off But what of de Tocqueville s observation at the conclusion of Volume One concerning Americans and Russians ions before the start of the Cold War Allow me to quote at length from pp 475 476, as I don t want to shortchange the man There are today two great peoples on earth, who, though they started from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal the Russians and the Anglo Americans.Both grew in obscurity, and while humanity s gaze was focused elsewhere, they abruptly vaulted to the first rank among nations the world learned almost simultaneously of their birth and of their grandeur.All other peoples seem close to achieving the limits traced for them by nature and henceforth need only to preserve what they already have but these two are still growing All the others have stopped, or move forward only with the greatest of effort Only these two march with an easy and rapid stride down a road whose end no eye can yet perceive.The American does battle with the obstacles that nature has placed before him the Russian grapples with men One combats wilderness and barbarity the other, civilization with all its arms The American makes his conquests with the farmer s ploughshare, the Russian with the soldier s sword.To achieve his goal, the American relies on personal interest and allows individuals to exercise their strength and reason without guidance.The Russian in a sense concentrates all of society in the power of one man.The American s principal means of action is liberty the Russian s, servitude.Their points of departure are different, their ways diverse Yet each seems called by a secret design of Providence some day to sway the destinies of half the globe Just as prescient are de Tocqueville s observations in Volume Two, Part II, Chapter 20 pp 649 652 in the Arthur Goldhammer Literary Classics of the United States, 2004 edition I ve just read In these four pages titled How Industry Could Give Rise to an Aristocracy , de Tocqueville not only foresees the dangers of the industrial process known as Taylorism introduced decades later by the Ford Motor Company, but also adumbrates the condition of alienation between worker and owner manager, haves and have nots, into which we in the U S are now inexorably slipping Should you have any interest in understandingabout this latter development, I would respectfully refer you to Naomi Klein s book, The Shock Doctrine, which I reviewed here at Goodreads at the end of last month And what of this concluding observation 150 years before the deluge of widgets and gadgets in which most of the current generation of digital addicts would appear to be drowning Habitual inattention must be regarded as the greatest defect of the democratic mind last sentence on p 718 There are no doubt other good reasons for the seemingly constant state of distraction of so many young minds and de Tocqueville carefully lays out his argument in the pages leading up to his conclusion And yet, one has to wonder whether the democratic mind as it has come to be in these United States and elsewhere in the Western World at the beginning of the twenty first century was the incubator or the egg in our so called high tech r evolution Please allow me to return to p 198 to conclude with one last citation, even if I could go on and on with others worth their aphoristic weight in gold Time nostops for nations than it does for individuals Both advance daily toward a future of which they know nothing A future of which they know nothing Scary stuff but worthwhile to say the least reading.RRB6 14 13Brooklyn, NY


  4. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    Alexis de Tocqueville captures the spirit of American democracy back when he wrote his classic in 1835 But what of the spirit of democracy in current day America where every citizen has the God given right to be a spectator or participate in exciting entertainment The following fiction by author Lawrence Millman hits the bull s eye.THE ORIGIN OF DEMOCRACYA few years ago the Murmansk Opera came to town And my friend Clint decided to take his wife Erma to a production of The Legend of the Invis Alexis de Tocqueville captures the spirit of American democracy back when he wrote his classic in 1835 But what of the spirit of democracy in current day America where every citizen has the God given right to be a spectator or participate in exciting entertainment The following fiction by author Lawrence Millman hits the bull s eye.THE ORIGIN OF DEMOCRACYA few years ago the Murmansk Opera came to town And my friend Clint decided to take his wife Erma to a production of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronia at the local grange Now Clint had never been near an opera before Closet he had come was the tri annual demolition derby sponsored by the Loyal Order of moose So you can imagine his confusion when, by the middle of the second act, not a single junker had gone to meet its Maker He had hoped at least to see a skirmish of Ladas and Moskvitches, with perhaps something from the Eastern Block, like a Skoda, thrown in When they gonna bring on the cars he asked Erma Sh h h, said the man sitting behind him Nor did any cars show up the the end of the third act Clint felt cheated If the next act don t have a bang up, he said, I m gettin our money back Sh h h, hissed the man behind him At which point Clint turned around It s a goddamn free country I got every right to speak my mind It s guaranteed by the, um, constipation Constitution, whispered Erma Like I said, Clint said And when the next act brought only an apotheosis or two, he stormed out of the grange Minutes later he reappeared driving his Dodge Studebacker pickup mix He drove it right onto the stage, sideswiping a baritone and dispersing the Chorus of the Russian People Ain t no Communist gonna destroy the sacred privilege of a car Clint said The audience gave him a standing ovation And soon a whole armada of Fords, Chevys, Dodge Darts, and Buicks was crowding onto the stage, honking and cruising and bashing each other The man who d been sitting behind Clint kept yelling, Quiet Quiet I want to hear the opera But it was too late The majority ruled The Origin of Democracy by Lawrence Millman appeared in Unscheduled Departures The Asylum Anthology of Short Fiction edited by Greg Boyd


  5. Dan Dan says:

    Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocquevillede Tocqueville, a young French diplomat, wrote this remarkable essay in two books based on his travels to the United States in the 1830s He was a student of the consequences of the French revolution and had a very disdainful view of power for a diplomat in particular the elite s ability to eventually exploit the loopholes and take power back from the people It quickly becomes obvious from this treatise that de Tocqueville had enormous admiration f Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocquevillede Tocqueville, a young French diplomat, wrote this remarkable essay in two books based on his travels to the United States in the 1830s He was a student of the consequences of the French revolution and had a very disdainful view of power for a diplomat in particular the elite s ability to eventually exploit the loopholes and take power back from the people It quickly becomes obvious from this treatise that de Tocqueville had enormous admiration for America s experiment in democracy and also her progress He also points out sadly that some day the experiment would come to an end de Tocqueville came to the U.S in part to better understand sociology and prison reform His real aim and his lasting work, that congealed in his mind along the way, became America and her democratic system In his analyses here he often uses England, France and the South American countries as points of comparison to counterbalance the U.S study because these were the countries of importance that had constitutions or most resembled democracies that he was most familiar with Beyond a brief history lesson of very early America that is quite interesting, de Tocqueville dissects America s local, state and federal levels of government and the different branches of the federal government Many of his observations are still fresh and one even could say prescient given our political situation in the United States Of course he came decades after Washington and Adams and Jefferson and does not spend much time discussing these key people but rather the systems of government Here are some key takeaways.1 de Tocqueville believed the biggest reason for the success of America s democratic experiment fifty years into it was due to the mannerisms of Americans not the Constitution By mannerisms he meant not just discourse but the work habits and pragmatism He did not hold as much faith in Constitutions as France and Mexico s were similar to the U.S and both governments had major issues with corruption and inefficiencies The manners of the Americans of the United States are, then, the real cause which renders that people the only one of the American nations that is able to support a democratic government.2 In conjunction with the first point, he was enad of the Puritan work ethic and disappointed in the French to the north in Canada who did very little with either the land or opportunities in his opinion He spent a hundred pages discussing the Northeast and the Puritan influence This was quite interesting I have met with men in New England who were on the point of leaving a country, where they might have remained in easy circumstances, to go to seek their fortune in the wilds Not far from that district I found a French population in Canada, which was closely crowded on a narrow territory Nature offers the solitudes of the New World to Europeans but they are not always acquainted with the means of turning her gifts to account Other peoples of America have the same physical conditions of prosperity as the Anglo Americans, but without their laws and their manners and these peoples are wretched The laws and manners of the Anglo Americans are therefore that efficient cause of their greatness which is the object of my inquiry.3 de Tocqueville disliked the populist and current president of the time Andrew Jackson calling him a man of violent temper and mediocre talents Hmmm that sounds familiar His cruel policy toward Native Americans and the undue accolades pertaining to the Battle of New Orleans were other points that de Tocqueville wrote about Nevertheless he did comment that Jackson advocated a diminished role of centralized government in most areas including the role of banks I think if de Tocqueville had understood slavery better he might have had aenlightened view as to why Jackson so often opposed central government policies Far from wishing to extend the federal power, the President belongs to the party which is desirous of limiting that power to the bare and precise letter of the Constitution, and which never puts a construction upon that act favorable to the Government of the Union far from standing forth as the champion of centralization, General Jackson is the agent of all the jealousies of the States.4 de Tocqueville had a few, largely unremarkable, chapters on the two other peoples living in America beyond the Europeans African American slaves and Native Americans His views of Native Americans were somewhat empathetic His views on slaves were quite racist He simply could not understand why slaves didn t revolt at every opportunity This racist statement of his about the plight of slaves is actually one of the milder ones he makes.He the slave quietly enjoys the privileges of his debasement If he becomes free, independence is often felt by him to be a heavier burden than slavery5 Switching gears de Tocqueville talked extensively about townships and local communities and how they were the bedrock of America s success One of theenlightening aspects of the book He returns to this point often.Town meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science they bring it within the people s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty6 de Tocqueville also points out that a geographically isolated America does not have the pressures of warring neighbors like in France But he believes the U.S deserves credit for maintaining peace among themselves not an easy thing to do The American Union has no enemies to contend with it stands in the wilds like an island in the ocean But the Spaniards of South America were no less isolated by nature yet their position has not relieved them from the charge of standing armies They make war upon each other when they have no foreign enemies to oppose and the Anglo American democracy is the only one to maintain peace.7 de Tocqueville certainly had some interesting things to say about both impeachment and re elections of presidents He did not think a president should be eligible for re election Nor did he think the prosecutors in an impeachment trial should be withheld the ability to criminally prosecute the accused Better to have a president fearful of jail or in the case of treason the ultimate penalty Although he did acknowledge that he doubted a real tyrant would be stopped by the threat of jail either.By preventing political tribunals from inflicting judicial punishments the Americans seem to have eluded the worst consequences of legislative tyranny, rather than tyranny itself 8 de Tocqueville also wrote presciently of a future Mexican American war It took only thirteen years for his prediction to come true He thought nothing would slow the ambition of America s westward expansion How right he was Thus, the Spaniards and the Anglo Americans are, properly speaking, the only two races which divide the possession of the New World The limits of separation between them have been settled by a treaty but although the conditions of that treaty are exceedingly favorable to the Anglo Americans, I do not doubt that they will shortly infringe this arrangement.9 The last takeaway is around the question of how great empires end This is one near and dear to most of our hearts And de Tocqueville has some important things to say here Sadly no practical solutions DeTocqueville could not have imagined the technological globalization we have today nor Nuclear weapons nor the Climate Crisis So I m not convinced that making government local will solve the big problems But I could be wrong.All the passions which are most fatal to republican institutions spread with an increasing territory, whilst the virtues which maintain their dignity do not augment in the same proportion The ambition of the citizens increases with the power of the State the strength of parties with the importance of the ends they have in view but that devotion to the common weal which is the surest check on destructive passions is not stronger in a large than in a small republic.4 stars Highly readable book for being nearly two centuries old The version I read was translated to English in the 1870 s It is lengthy but reads quite quickly Most every section stands on its own I probably would have given five stars if de Tocqueville wasn t so obtuse about slavery Other than this blind spot his deductive reasoning is quite remarkable and pertinent to today s political climate


  6. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    De la democratie en Amerique On Democracy in America Democracy in America, Alexis de TocquevilleDe La D mocratie en Am rique published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840 is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville Its title translates as On Democracy in America, but English translations are usually simply entitled Democracy in America In the book, Tocqueville examines the democratic revolution that he believed had been occurring over the previous several hundr De la democratie en Amerique On Democracy in America Democracy in America, Alexis de TocquevilleDe La D mocratie en Am rique published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840 is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville Its title translates as On Democracy in America, but English translations are usually simply entitled Democracy in America In the book, Tocqueville examines the democratic revolution that he believed had been occurring over the previous several hundred years 1971 1346 815 1380 743 9641319505 19 1347 815 1383 574 1393 9789644455285 19 1394 1831


  7. HBalikov HBalikov says:

    It amazed me that my country, the USA, was looked on as a democracy worth emulating within its first half century of existence Though some see Democracy in America as a recounting of travels, and others see it a deconstruction of a foreign country, I think I am with a fair number of others who consider Tocqueville as trying to find what France might adapt for its own institutions That, of course, started with our penal system because that is what paid the freight for Tocqueville and his comp It amazed me that my country, the USA, was looked on as a democracy worth emulating within its first half century of existence Though some see Democracy in America as a recounting of travels, and others see it a deconstruction of a foreign country, I think I am with a fair number of others who consider Tocqueville as trying to find what France might adapt for its own institutions That, of course, started with our penal system because that is what paid the freight for Tocqueville and his compatriot, Gustave de Beaumont to spend many months seeing much of America.I have struggled with writing this review for months because it is so easy to drill down on any one ofthan a dozen topics including America s Constitution the nature of the democratic family the Indians that Tocqueville observed Blacks and slavery the importance of local government the judiciary the tyranny of the majority the role of political parties the foundation of education freedom of speech how s influence democracy American culture individualism the desire for wealth the strength of lawyers and, how Christianity fits with democracy.What permeates this two volume work are Tocqueville s thoughts and concerns about how democracy can and should work For instance, Americans were not the first individuals but Tocqueville invented the word individualism and applied it to Americans He believed there was a danger in this American individualism, particularly the tendency to withdraw from the public sphere It was in private life that individuals could see themselves as unique, yet he feared that this would encourage withdrawal from the public sphere and mitigated their participation in the life of the community, thus damaging the foundation of democracy Tocqueville consistently holds that democracy is not just a form of government it is a way of life Beyond democratic institutions, he sees democratic values and attitudes and family structures and culture Tocqueville uses the term s of democracy to describe the larger idea of democratic values and habits In addition to being essential to understanding our democracy, Tocqueville was concerned as to whether nations without a tradition of democracy could quickly create an egalitarian and free society A concern that is just as appropriate today There are so many aspects of America and Americans that he found worth considering Reading these almost 200 years since he wrote them down, it is easy to point to what may not be now relevant But the astounding impact of this book is how much of it is enduring and how many of the questions that he raised are still relevant.No summary of that is a substitute for your willingness to take time to immerse yourself in his experiences I leave you with something that, I hope, will further encourage you to do so.Key events before and during Beaumont and Tocqueville s time in America My thanks to one of my professors for his notes 1828..Tocqueville meets Gustave de Beaumont, who will be his traveling companion in America, and Mary Motley, whom he will later marry 1830Tocqueville reluctantly takes an oath of loyalty to the new king following the July Revolution and is appointed a substitute judge Beaumont and Tocqueville propose a trip to America to study the American penal system Jan 1, 1831..William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of The Liberator Feb 6, 1831..Beaumont and Tocqueville are granted an 18 month leave to study the American penal system Mar 18, 1831The Supreme Court rules on Cherokee Nation v Georgia Apr 2, 1831They set sail for America May 9, 1831Beaumont and Tocqueville arrive in Newport, Rhode Island May 11, 1831..They arrive in New York City May 27, 1831..They travel up the Hudson River to visit Sing Sing Penitentiary June 30, 1831..They leave New York City July 4, 1831..They attend July 4th festivities in Albany July 9, 1831They begin their visit to Auburn Penitentiary July 16, 1831.They arrive in Canandaigua, New York, and stay with John C Spencer July 18, 1831.They arrive in Buffalo July 22, 1831.They arrive in Detroit and depart for Saginaw July 26, 1831.John C Calhoun definitively declares himself for nullification Aug 9, 1831..Tocqueville and Beaumont arrive in Green Bay Aug 18, 1831.They visit Niagara Falls Aug 22, 1831..Nat Turner s rebellion begins Aug 23, 1831..They arrive in Montreal Sept 9, 1831.They arrive in Boston for a stay of almost four weeks Sept 28, 1831The Anti Masonic Convention meets Oct 12, 1831..They arrive in Philadelphia for a two week stay, visiting Eastern State Penitentiary several times Oct 28, 1831They travel to Balti, where they encounter slavery for the first time Nov 12, 1831..The first steam powered train makes its maiden voyage Nov 25, 1831..Tocqueville and Beaumont leave Pittsburgh on an Ohio River boat for Cincinnati but hit a rock the next day.Dec 7, 1831They arrive in Nashville Dec 25, 1831..They begin their trip to New Orleans from Memphis on a steamboat Jan 1, 1832.They arrive in New Orleans Jan 3, 1832They begin a long voyage on land and sea through the South Jan 15, 1832..They arrive in Norfolk, Virginia Jan 17, 1832..They arrive in Washington Jan 19, 1832Tocqueville and Beaumont meet President Andrew Jackson Feb 6, 1832..They arrive in New York Feb 20, 1832They board a ship for their return voyage to France


  8. Mike (the Paladin) Mike (the Paladin) says:

    I m going with 4 stars here, it isn t always the easiest book to read, but worth it There is a lot of wisdom in this book, a lot of insight While history hasn t borne out all his predictions, there have been enough Sadly also, it looks as thoughof the things he said may still prove to be true In today s atmosphere, the thoughts here compared to the reality we live in and that may be coming to pass.well, it s worth some thought When America broke away from the branch so to speak I m going with 4 stars here, it isn t always the easiest book to read, but worth it There is a lot of wisdom in this book, a lot of insight While history hasn t borne out all his predictions, there have been enough Sadly also, it looks as thoughof the things he said may still prove to be true In today s atmosphere, the thoughts here compared to the reality we live in and that may be coming to pass.well, it s worth some thought When America broke away from the branch so to speak it was a new thing in the world No colony had ever done what was done here and it was an idealistic experiment even a dream that was watched by the world Europe wassomewhat worried and England in particular was very unhappy about the implications Had the War of 1812 gone differently on this side of the Atlantic we all still might be drinking teathan coffee as it could have changed everything But when you say the War of 1812 in Europe their minds go to battles and events other than here in North America They think of the Napoleonic war But back to the subject The American Revolution raised questions worldwide and things began to percolate In France things boiled over not long after they did here It s notable that many in the academic community are farenad with the French Revolution than with the American You see it was supposed to be a rational Revolution it was a Godless revolution with all the clergy and God Himself rejected by the leaders and much of the movement the clergy was seen as close to the royals you see Unfortunately the French Revolution spun out of control into a rein of terror and then into a military dictatorship In the wake of all this a young man Alexis de Tocqueville spent 9 months touring the new United States and when he returned to France he wrote this book commenting on the social and governmental situation and implications He was torn between hopeful andwell, not so hopeful So I recommend the book It s interesting, thought provoking and somewhat sobering I leave you with one quote from said book The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public s money Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America Think about it


  9. E. G. E. G. says:

    ChronologyIntroduction NotesFurther ReadingTranslator s Note Democracy in America NotesTwo Essays on America Two Weeks in the Wilderness Excursion to Lake Oneida ChronologyIntroduction NotesFurther ReadingTranslator s Note Democracy in America NotesTwo Essays on America Two Weeks in the Wilderness Excursion to Lake Oneida


  10. Karey Karey says:

    Update My brother just told me that Kurt Vonnegut says that anyone who hasn t read Democracy in America is a wimp So I guess that makes me almost not a wimp Well Post from a few weeks ago I ve been wanting to read de Toqueville s, Democracy in America for some time, and I ve finally bit the bullet The translation is beautifully done De Toqueville s sentiments are eloquent and thought provoking Wonderful How s that for summer reading Part of me wishes we still talked like pilgrims.


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Democracy in America❮EPUB❯ ✼ Democracy in America ✷ Author Alexis de Tocqueville – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk Democracy in America has had the singular honor of being even to this day the work that political commentators of every stripe refer to when they seek to draw large conclusions about the society of th Democracy in America has had the singular honor of being even to this day the work that political commentators of every stripe refer to when they seek to draw large conclusions about the society of the USA Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat, came to the young nation to investigate the functioning of American democracy the social, political economic life of its citizens, publishing his observations in Brilliantly written, vividly illustrated Democracy in eBook Í with vignettes portraits, Democracy in America is far than a trenchant analysis of one society at a particular point in time What will most intrigue modern readers is how many of the observations still hold true on the mixed advantages of a free press, the strained relations among the races the threats posed to democracies by consumerism corruption So uncanny is Tocqueville s insight so accurate are his predictions, that it seems as tho he were not merely describing the American identity but actually helping to create it.


About the Author: Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis Charles Henri Cl rel de Tocqueville July , April , was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America appearing in two volumes and and The Old Regime and the Revolution In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societiesDemocracy in America , his Democracy in eBook Í major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science An eminent representative of the classical liberal political tradition, Tocqueville was an active participant in French politics, first under the July Monarchy and then during the Second Republic which succeeded to the February Revolution He retired from political life after Louis Napol on Bonaparte s December , coup, and thereafter began work on The Old Regime and the Revolution, Volume I After obtaining a law degree, Alexis de Tocqueville was named auditor magistrate at the court of Versailles There, he met Gustave de Beaumont, a prosecutor substitute, who collaborated with him on various literary works Both were sent to the United States to study the penitentiary system During this trip, they wrote Du syst me p nitentiaire aux Etats Unis et de son application Back in France, Tocqueville became a lawyer He met the English economist Nassau William Senior in , and they became good friends and corresponded for many years He published his master work, De la d mocratie en Am rique, in The success of this work, an early model for the science that would become known as sociology, led him to be named chevalier de la L gion d honneur Knight of the Legion of Honour in , and to be elected the next year to the Acad mie des sciences morales et politiques In he was elected to the Acad mie fran aiseTocqueville, who despised the July Monarchy , began his political career in the same period Thus, he became deputy of the Manche department Valognes , a position which he maintained until In parliament, he defended abolitionist views and upheld free trade, while supporting the colonization of Algeria carried on by Louis Philippe s regime Tocqueville was also elected general counsellor of the Manche in , and became the president of the department s conseil g n ral between and Apart from Canada, Tocqueville also made an observational tour of England, producing Memoir on Pauperism In and , he traveled to Algeria His first travel inspired his Travail sur l Alg rie, in which he criticized the French model of colonization, based on an assimilationist view, preferring instead the British model of indirect rule, which did not mix different populations together He went as far as openly advocating racial segregation between the European colonists and the Arabs through the implementation of two different legislative systems a half century before its effective implementation with the Indigenous codeAfter the fall of the July Monarchy during the February Revolution, Tocqueville was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly of , where he became a member of the Commission charged with the drafting of the new Constitution of the Second Republic He defended bicameralism two parliamentary chambers and the election of the President of the Republic by universal suffrage As the countryside was thought to beconservative than the laboring population of Paris, universal suffrage was conceived as a means to block the revolutionary spirit of ParisDuring the Second Republic, Tocqueville sided with the parti de l Ordre against the socialists and workers A few days after the February insurrection, he believed a violent clash between the workers population agitating in favor of a Democratic and Social Republic and.


10 thoughts on “Democracy in America

  1. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    I struggle to penetrate God s point of view, from which vantage point I try to observe and judge human affairs. A few months ago, bored at work and with no other obligations to tie me to New York, I decided that I would look into employment in Europe and now, several months and an irksome visa process later, I am on the verge of setting off to Madrid Unsurprisingly, I m very excited to go but of course leaving one s home is always bittersweet This is partly why I picked up Tocqueville s D I struggle to penetrate God s point of view, from which vantage point I try to observe and judge human affairs. A few months ago, bored at work and with no other obligations to tie me to New York, I decided that I would look into employment in Europe and now, several months and an irksome visa process later, I am on the verge of setting off to Madrid Unsurprisingly, I m very excited to go but of course leaving one s home is always bittersweet This is partly why I picked up Tocqueville s Democracy in America, as a sort of literary good bye kiss to this odd, uncouth, chaotic, and fantastic place which has, up until now, molded my character, sustained my body, and contained my thoughts This turned out to be an excellent choice, for this book is without a doubt the best book ever written on the United States I am able to say this, even though I haven t even read a fraction of the books written on this country, because I simply can t imagine how anyone could have done it better As it is, I can hardly believe that Tocqueville could understand so much in the short span of his life and when I recall that he wrote this book after only 9 months in America, while he was still in his thirties, I am doubly astounded This seems scarcely human Part of the reason for his seemingly miraculous ability is that, with Tocqueville, you find two things conjoined which are normally encountered separately extremely keen powers of observation, and a forceful analytic mind With most travel writers, you encounter only the former and with most political philosophers, only the latter The product of this combination is a nearly perfect marriage of facts and reasoning, of survey and criticism, the ideas always hovering just above the reality, transforming the apparently senseless fabric of society into a sensible and intelligible whole Almost everything he sees, he understands and not only does he understand what he sees, but so often hits upon the why Although this book covers an enormous amount of ground religion, slavery, culture, government, the role of women, just to name a few topics there is one central question that runs through every subject What does the appearance of democracy mean for the future of humanity Tocqueville sees this question as the most pressing and significant one of his time for, as he perceived, what was happening then in America was destined to inspire Europe and perhaps the whole world to adopt this new form of government, which would forever change the face of society In short, Tocqueville is seeking to understand America so that he could understand the future and the plan of the book follows these two goals successively The first volume, published in 1835, is a thorough analysis of the United States and the second volume, published in 1840, is a comparison of democracy and aristocracy, an attempt to pinpoint how a switch to a democratic government causes far reaching changes in the whole culture Tocqueville is famously ambivalent about American democracy He often sounds greatly impressed at what he finds, noting how hardworking and self reliant are most Americans and yet so often, particularly in the second volume, Tocqueville sounds gloomy and pessimistic about what the future holds Much of his analysis is centered on the idea of social equality He often reminds the reader and by the way, Tocqueville wrote this for a French audience that Americans, rich or poor, famous or obscure, will treat everyone as an equal The entire idea of castes or classes has, in Tocqueville s opinion, been abolished and this has had many effects Most obviously, it gives free reign to American ambition, for anyone can potentially climb from the bottom to the top thus results the ceaseless activity and endless financial scheming of Americans And even those who are quite well off are not spared from this fever of ambition, for the lack of inherited wealth and stable fortunes means that the rich must continually exert effort to maintain their fortunes Whether this is true any is another story Thus we find a kind of money obsession, where everyone must constantly keep their minds in their wallets In America, money is not only real currency, but cultural currency as well, a marker of success and in this context, the creature comforts of life, which after all only money can buy, are elevated to great importance Rich food, warm beds, spacious houses these are praised above the simpler pleasures in life, such as agreeable conversation or pleasant walks on sunny days, as the former require money while the latter are free and available to anyone The central irony of a classless society is that it forces everyone to focus constantly on their status, as it is always in jeopardy You can imagine how shocking this must have been for Tocqueville, the son of an aristocratic family There simply was no class of Americans who had the leisure of retiring from the cares of the world and contemplating the higher but less practical things in life All thought was consumed in activity This results in a society of the ordinary individual In America, there are few great men as Tocqueville would say but a great many good ones Americans are self reliant, but not daring they are often decent, but never saintly They will sometimes risk their lives in pursuit of a fortune, but never their fortunes for the sake their lives An American might temporarily accept hardship if there is a financial reward on the other end but how many Americans would forsake their fortunes, their comforts, their houses and property, for the sake of an idea, a principle, a dream Thus a kind of narrow ambition pervades the society, where everyone is hoping to better their lot, but almost nobody is hoping to do something beyond acquiring money and things One can easily imagine the young Tocqueville, his mind filled with Machiavelli and Montesquieu, meeting American after American with no time or inclination for something as intangible as knowledge In the midst of his large scale cultural analysis, Tocqueville sometimes pauses for a time, putting off the role of philosopher to take up the role of prophet Tocqueville does get many of his predictions wrong For example, he did not at all foresee the Civil War and in fact he thought Americans would never willingly risk their property fighting each other and instead he thought that there would be a gigantic race war between blacks and whites in the south But Tocqueville was otherwise quite right about race relations in the slave owning states He predicts that slavery could not possibly last, and that it would soon be abolished and he notes that abolishing slavery will probably be the easiest task in improving the relationship between blacks and whites For although slavery can be destroyed through legal action, the effects of slavery, the deep rooted racial prejudice and hatred, cannot so easily be wiped clean In support of this view, Tocqueville notes how badly treated are free blacks in the northern states, where slavery is banned Without a place in society, they are shunned and fall into poverty The persistence of the color line in America is a testament to Tocqueville s genius and our failure to prove him wrong But perhaps the most arresting prediction Tocqueville makes is about the future rivalry of the United States with Russia Here are his words Americans struggle against obstacles placed there by nature Russians are in conflict with men The former fight the wilderness and barbarity the latter, civilization with all its weaponry thus, American victories are achieved with the plowshare, Russia s with the soldier s sword To achieve their aim, the former rely upon self interest and allow free scope to the unguided strength and common sense of individuals The latter focus the whole power of society upon a single man The former deploy freedom as their main mode of action the latter, slavish obedience The point of departure is different, their paths are diverse but each of them seems destined by some secret providential design to hold in their hands the fate of half the world at some date in the future.While discussing such an obviously brilliant man as was Tocqueville, whose ideas have become foundational in the study of American society, it seems almost petty to praise his prose style But I would be doing an injustice to any readers of this review if I failed to mention that Tocqueville is an extraordinary writer I was consistently captivated by his ability to sum up his thoughts into crisp aphorisms and to compress his analyses into perfectly composed paragraphs I can only imagine how much better it is in the original French Here is only a brief example Commerce is a natural opponent of all violent passions It likes moderation, delights in compromise, carefully avoids angry outbursts It is patient, flexible, subtle, and has recourse to extreme measures only when absolute necessity obliges it to do so Commerce makes men independent of each other, gives them quite another idea of their personal value, persuades them to manage their own affairs, and teaches them to be successful Hence it inclines them to liberty but draws them away from revolutions.In the brief space of a book review even a long one I cannot hope to do justice to such a wide ranging, carefully argued, and incisive book as this So I hope that I have managed to persuade you to at least add this work to your to read list, long as it may be already For my part, I can t imagine a better book to have read as I prepare myself to visit a new continent, about the same age as was Tocqueville when he visited these shores, for my own travels in a strange place And although, lowly American that I am, I cannot hope to achieve even a fraction of what Tocqueville has, perhaps his voice echoing in my ears will be enough to encourage me to look, to listen, and to understand

  2. Jan-Maat Jan-Maat says:

    I had thought to come back to this after reading a general history of the early history of the US republic, but instead a sudden batch of newspaper articles wondering about the end of Democracy brought me back to it.Reading this book I felt that the unfinished The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution was Tocqueville s masterpiece and in so far as Democracy in America has renown, I feel it is because there are a lot of Americans, and naturally it is nice when a foreigner takes your country an I had thought to come back to this after reading a general history of the early history of the US republic, but instead a sudden batch of newspaper articles wondering about the end of Democracy brought me back to it.Reading this book I felt that the unfinished The Ancien Regime and the French Revolution was Tocqueville s masterpiece and in so far as Democracy in America has renown, I feel it is because there are a lot of Americans, and naturally it is nice when a foreigner takes your country and its institutions seriously and discusses them soberly as something of world historical significance although in places he is plainly exasperated by his hosts.I feel it is important to say that it is not a travelogue, nor is it a systematic study of American institutions circa 1830 de Tocqueville s big idea, I guess, is that a culture or civilisation is by definition congruent so that on the basis of a couple of key data points one can infer or deduce the entire nature of that culture and civilisation On the one hand he is wonderfully inventive coming close to describing alienation and deskilling as a consequence of industrial labour organisation what will become of the man s mind, he asks, if all he does is make pin heads all day for years on end, on the other hand he plainly suffers from the absence of conceptual language which will be invented later and suffers from a fondness of logic and deduction, for example in his opinion at the time of writing there was no American literature but, because he perceives the nature of the culture of the USA, he gives us a chapter about what American and indeed all democratic countries literature will be like, ditto poetry, theatre, history writing and how the USA will conduct wars book 2 Chapter XIII onwards He suffers from Observational bias too because Andrew Jackson was President during his visit he assumes that the trend from then on will be for the Federal structures to become weaker and state ones stronger view spoiler which reminds me of a history of modern Greece that I read, the author closed with the election of a New Democracy government in the mid to late 1980s which he heralded as a decisive changing point in the history at least of Greece, when with a few yearsperspective we see that it bumbled and rumbled along determined to resolutely no kind of changing point at all hide spoiler Here his biases may also be due to his sources both books and the people he meet in the USA who by implication seem to have been well to do persons opposed to the Democratic party.Having read the thing twice, I feel as though I am a person on their death bed regretting that they didn t dounpaid overtime while they had the chance there need be no shame in reading a selection or an abridged version, Tocqueville would have benefited from an imaginative and kind editor, he spends pages expressing one idea but in lots of slightly different ways, it is possible to imagine a condensed version a couple of hundred pages long He suffers strongly from being innovative, later generations would devise concepts like conventional wisdom or collect statistics, or indeed establishostensibly democratic states and providingdata to chew over It is a bookadmirable in its ambition than likeable in it s delivery.In studying democracy in America we notice two obvious separate subjects America and Democracy, and the USA we can further say in the 1830s was a colonial society, a frontier society, a capitalist society which had a degree of industrialisation, had regions with a slave economy, as well as regions absorbing immigrants from overseas and regions absorbing internal migrants and all these factors worked together in a dynamic way Tocqueville doesn t pull all these elements apart nor can he know what was typical of democratic societies in general or only of America because they wasn t much to compare the USA with he doesn t much like Switzerland as it wasn t federal enough for his liking in the 1830s in his lifetime.Tocqueville was very interested in the role of religion, he observes that Christianity is essential democratic even Catholicism because he holds that everyone is equal beneath the priest, for his contemporaries and indeed Europeans for a further hundred years or so this would have been a provocative position to take the hostility in some countries to democratic tendencies from churches was marked and turf wars over education, welfare and social policy generally were and have been an ongoing process, I recall in the context of Italian unification that a Pope forbade Italians from participating in elections which I guess gave people something extra to talk about in the confessional box Religion, like Aristocracy meaning potentially any elite group in society functions in a dualistic manner, both are anti democratic and underpin democracy simultaneously they tend towards tyranny majoritarian culture in the case of religion, generally being anti democratic in the case of elites while at the same time promoting a unifying culture and protecting privileges and rights for all That nothing has a simple effect in the social dynamic, but is at least two faced was a useful insight.de Tocqueville was hardly a disinterested or neutral observer, he was an aristocrat, but he believed that the trend was towards democratic governments in politics He also felt that governments would be increasingly centralised and would have greater and greater scope than ever before, this meant that when democratic governments flipped in to despotism these despotic governments would bepowerful than any tyranny seen before 1830, democratic society would be vulnerable to tyranny because of the drive to equality, there would be no institutions or individuals capable of resisting despotism which seems a curious position since Aristocrats and provincial liberties in his native France hadn t been so successful in restraining the ambitions of mighty kings.Implicit in his thinking is French history, he assumes that all governments are essentially programmatic and are always working to achieve a certain programme coherent across centuries, he also seems to have the likes of Turgot and Sully in mind in believing that there are great statesmen, philosophes perhaps at heart, public spirited and of considerable intellect who really ought to be ruling over everybody, for him President Washington and the early leadership of the USA were of that ilk but things have been going downhill since Jefferson in his opinion For Tocqueville pure or model forms of government are practically irrelevant, politics is human interaction The history, social complexion and geography of the country shape how the democracy will actually function in practise At times this felt deterministic, if history is destiny then can we only say that democratic countries will remain so and non democratic societies remain so for all time But Tocqueville believes that through education a society can becomeand presumably less too democratic By education he means involvement in democratic activities holding political office and involvement in running public affairs In terms of the future of representative governments this seems to me a disturbing observation, are there countries where one can still observe a functioning Cursus honorum with aspiring politicians working up from fly catcher general to head of state Jury service he believes too is educative it teaches everybody that citizens are the ultimate power and are the ones with the right to decide and govern In this I feel the weakness of his trust in logic and deduction I feel that what he says makes sense but if it actually has that effect on society generally I am not sure, and while we can feel that the transition from non democratic to democratic society is unlikely to be smooth or easy, but that seems too simplistic a view too In addition to despotism Tocqueville s picture of the tyranny of the majority is strikingly pessimistic majority culture indeed looks worse than a despotismwhat I find most repulsive in America is not the extreme freedom that prevails there but the shortage of any guarantee against tyrannyp.294 in Tocqueville s vision of America the government represents the majority whose values and ideas will also be reflected throughout the legal system and public service general, he tells of observing an election in Pennslyvania and asking if free Blacks have the vote, he is told yes, but they don t dare to vote presumably for fear of violence , of course Tocqueville himself was also part of the majority in some ways, he reflects that everybody imaginable has the vote in the USA in the 1830s despite being in correspondence with J.S Mill he doesn t imagine giving women the vote and thinks it normal that servants not just slaves don t have the vote either Even if you do have the vote, as we noticed, exercising it is another issue and cultural change to shift the position of the majority is something else again Perhaps it begins to make sense that when French President Louis Napoleon held a referendum asking This democracy business is a bit rubbish really, do you agree that I must become your lawful Emperor, Napoleon III that a majority voted yes view spoiler the actual question was probably worded slightly differently hide spoiler I get the impression that Tocqueville has been mined as a source of an idealised view of the USA, how far his view of essentially the North and North west of the USA of the 1830 was a realistic and b remained similar as the country continued to develop I am sure many others will have their own ideas Thinking of some of the quotes below I see I ve read him in a similar light playing the game of what he got right or got wrong this is I guess to fall into the Texas sharp shooter fallacy, the USA even in 1830, was already a pretty big target, and the future is not so small either view spoiler hopefully hide spoiler.On the remarkable side I think is his view of slavery that a particular and not so visible evil is how the slave internalises the negative view that the slave society has of them and that the downfall of a civilisation need not be sudden, catastrophic and violent he anticipates the Needham Question by seeing the state of early nineteenth China as a warning you can be a forerunner yet still end up falling way behind without the need for any barbarians charging down the streets

  3. Russell Bittner Russell Bittner says:

    I don t mind admitting that Alexis de Toqueville s Democracy in America is quite possible the most demanding piece of exposition I ve read since Hegel s Phenomenology of Mind. I suspect it s one of those books analogous, if you will, to Cervantes Don Quixote, Melville s Moby Dick, Proust s In Search of Lost Time or Musil s Man Without Qualities that avid readers want to have read, but never have.I finally did.If you can find the time and the quiet to read fifty pages of th I don t mind admitting that Alexis de Toqueville s Democracy in America is quite possible the most demanding piece of exposition I ve read since Hegel s Phenomenology of Mind. I suspect it s one of those books analogous, if you will, to Cervantes Don Quixote, Melville s Moby Dick, Proust s In Search of Lost Time or Musil s Man Without Qualities that avid readers want to have read, but never have.I finally did.If you can find the time and the quiet to read fifty pages of this book a day, you can accomplish it in under three weeks If you can devote yourself tothan fifty pages a day and have the concentration necessary to make sense of what you re reading you re a better wo man than I am.I couldn t In spite of my best efforts and virtually ideal conditions most often in some secluded spot in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden , I found myself having to read many sentences two and three times over Democracy in America is no doubtworthy of a dissertation than of a review And I suspect that thousands of dissertations have been written on this oeuvre. The book is dense with a capital D and any sort of commentary on it could rival exegesis of the Torah.Dense it is But also prescient with a capital P If you can t find the time or the circumstances to devote yourself to a reading of the entire work, read just Chapter 10 of Part II, Volume One Some Considerations Concerning the Present State and Probable Future of the Three Races that Inhabit the Territory of the United States And keep in mind that Volume One was published in 1835 the Trail of Tears the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to a circumscribed territory in Oklahoma happened only three years later and the Civil War was still relatively far off But what of de Tocqueville s observation at the conclusion of Volume One concerning Americans and Russians ions before the start of the Cold War Allow me to quote at length from pp 475 476, as I don t want to shortchange the man There are today two great peoples on earth, who, though they started from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal the Russians and the Anglo Americans.Both grew in obscurity, and while humanity s gaze was focused elsewhere, they abruptly vaulted to the first rank among nations the world learned almost simultaneously of their birth and of their grandeur.All other peoples seem close to achieving the limits traced for them by nature and henceforth need only to preserve what they already have but these two are still growing All the others have stopped, or move forward only with the greatest of effort Only these two march with an easy and rapid stride down a road whose end no eye can yet perceive.The American does battle with the obstacles that nature has placed before him the Russian grapples with men One combats wilderness and barbarity the other, civilization with all its arms The American makes his conquests with the farmer s ploughshare, the Russian with the soldier s sword.To achieve his goal, the American relies on personal interest and allows individuals to exercise their strength and reason without guidance.The Russian in a sense concentrates all of society in the power of one man.The American s principal means of action is liberty the Russian s, servitude.Their points of departure are different, their ways diverse Yet each seems called by a secret design of Providence some day to sway the destinies of half the globe Just as prescient are de Tocqueville s observations in Volume Two, Part II, Chapter 20 pp 649 652 in the Arthur Goldhammer Literary Classics of the United States, 2004 edition I ve just read In these four pages titled How Industry Could Give Rise to an Aristocracy , de Tocqueville not only foresees the dangers of the industrial process known as Taylorism introduced decades later by the Ford Motor Company, but also adumbrates the condition of alienation between worker and owner manager, haves and have nots, into which we in the U S are now inexorably slipping Should you have any interest in understandingabout this latter development, I would respectfully refer you to Naomi Klein s book, The Shock Doctrine, which I reviewed here at Goodreads at the end of last month And what of this concluding observation 150 years before the deluge of widgets and gadgets in which most of the current generation of digital addicts would appear to be drowning Habitual inattention must be regarded as the greatest defect of the democratic mind last sentence on p 718 There are no doubt other good reasons for the seemingly constant state of distraction of so many young minds and de Tocqueville carefully lays out his argument in the pages leading up to his conclusion And yet, one has to wonder whether the democratic mind as it has come to be in these United States and elsewhere in the Western World at the beginning of the twenty first century was the incubator or the egg in our so called high tech r evolution Please allow me to return to p 198 to conclude with one last citation, even if I could go on and on with others worth their aphoristic weight in gold Time nostops for nations than it does for individuals Both advance daily toward a future of which they know nothing A future of which they know nothing Scary stuff but worthwhile to say the least reading.RRB6 14 13Brooklyn, NY

  4. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    Alexis de Tocqueville captures the spirit of American democracy back when he wrote his classic in 1835 But what of the spirit of democracy in current day America where every citizen has the God given right to be a spectator or participate in exciting entertainment The following fiction by author Lawrence Millman hits the bull s eye.THE ORIGIN OF DEMOCRACYA few years ago the Murmansk Opera came to town And my friend Clint decided to take his wife Erma to a production of The Legend of the Invis Alexis de Tocqueville captures the spirit of American democracy back when he wrote his classic in 1835 But what of the spirit of democracy in current day America where every citizen has the God given right to be a spectator or participate in exciting entertainment The following fiction by author Lawrence Millman hits the bull s eye.THE ORIGIN OF DEMOCRACYA few years ago the Murmansk Opera came to town And my friend Clint decided to take his wife Erma to a production of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevronia at the local grange Now Clint had never been near an opera before Closet he had come was the tri annual demolition derby sponsored by the Loyal Order of moose So you can imagine his confusion when, by the middle of the second act, not a single junker had gone to meet its Maker He had hoped at least to see a skirmish of Ladas and Moskvitches, with perhaps something from the Eastern Block, like a Skoda, thrown in When they gonna bring on the cars he asked Erma Sh h h, said the man sitting behind him Nor did any cars show up the the end of the third act Clint felt cheated If the next act don t have a bang up, he said, I m gettin our money back Sh h h, hissed the man behind him At which point Clint turned around It s a goddamn free country I got every right to speak my mind It s guaranteed by the, um, constipation Constitution, whispered Erma Like I said, Clint said And when the next act brought only an apotheosis or two, he stormed out of the grange Minutes later he reappeared driving his Dodge Studebacker pickup mix He drove it right onto the stage, sideswiping a baritone and dispersing the Chorus of the Russian People Ain t no Communist gonna destroy the sacred privilege of a car Clint said The audience gave him a standing ovation And soon a whole armada of Fords, Chevys, Dodge Darts, and Buicks was crowding onto the stage, honking and cruising and bashing each other The man who d been sitting behind Clint kept yelling, Quiet Quiet I want to hear the opera But it was too late The majority ruled The Origin of Democracy by Lawrence Millman appeared in Unscheduled Departures The Asylum Anthology of Short Fiction edited by Greg Boyd

  5. Dan Dan says:

    Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocquevillede Tocqueville, a young French diplomat, wrote this remarkable essay in two books based on his travels to the United States in the 1830s He was a student of the consequences of the French revolution and had a very disdainful view of power for a diplomat in particular the elite s ability to eventually exploit the loopholes and take power back from the people It quickly becomes obvious from this treatise that de Tocqueville had enormous admiration f Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocquevillede Tocqueville, a young French diplomat, wrote this remarkable essay in two books based on his travels to the United States in the 1830s He was a student of the consequences of the French revolution and had a very disdainful view of power for a diplomat in particular the elite s ability to eventually exploit the loopholes and take power back from the people It quickly becomes obvious from this treatise that de Tocqueville had enormous admiration for America s experiment in democracy and also her progress He also points out sadly that some day the experiment would come to an end de Tocqueville came to the U.S in part to better understand sociology and prison reform His real aim and his lasting work, that congealed in his mind along the way, became America and her democratic system In his analyses here he often uses England, France and the South American countries as points of comparison to counterbalance the U.S study because these were the countries of importance that had constitutions or most resembled democracies that he was most familiar with Beyond a brief history lesson of very early America that is quite interesting, de Tocqueville dissects America s local, state and federal levels of government and the different branches of the federal government Many of his observations are still fresh and one even could say prescient given our political situation in the United States Of course he came decades after Washington and Adams and Jefferson and does not spend much time discussing these key people but rather the systems of government Here are some key takeaways.1 de Tocqueville believed the biggest reason for the success of America s democratic experiment fifty years into it was due to the mannerisms of Americans not the Constitution By mannerisms he meant not just discourse but the work habits and pragmatism He did not hold as much faith in Constitutions as France and Mexico s were similar to the U.S and both governments had major issues with corruption and inefficiencies The manners of the Americans of the United States are, then, the real cause which renders that people the only one of the American nations that is able to support a democratic government.2 In conjunction with the first point, he was enad of the Puritan work ethic and disappointed in the French to the north in Canada who did very little with either the land or opportunities in his opinion He spent a hundred pages discussing the Northeast and the Puritan influence This was quite interesting I have met with men in New England who were on the point of leaving a country, where they might have remained in easy circumstances, to go to seek their fortune in the wilds Not far from that district I found a French population in Canada, which was closely crowded on a narrow territory Nature offers the solitudes of the New World to Europeans but they are not always acquainted with the means of turning her gifts to account Other peoples of America have the same physical conditions of prosperity as the Anglo Americans, but without their laws and their manners and these peoples are wretched The laws and manners of the Anglo Americans are therefore that efficient cause of their greatness which is the object of my inquiry.3 de Tocqueville disliked the populist and current president of the time Andrew Jackson calling him a man of violent temper and mediocre talents Hmmm that sounds familiar His cruel policy toward Native Americans and the undue accolades pertaining to the Battle of New Orleans were other points that de Tocqueville wrote about Nevertheless he did comment that Jackson advocated a diminished role of centralized government in most areas including the role of banks I think if de Tocqueville had understood slavery better he might have had aenlightened view as to why Jackson so often opposed central government policies Far from wishing to extend the federal power, the President belongs to the party which is desirous of limiting that power to the bare and precise letter of the Constitution, and which never puts a construction upon that act favorable to the Government of the Union far from standing forth as the champion of centralization, General Jackson is the agent of all the jealousies of the States.4 de Tocqueville had a few, largely unremarkable, chapters on the two other peoples living in America beyond the Europeans African American slaves and Native Americans His views of Native Americans were somewhat empathetic His views on slaves were quite racist He simply could not understand why slaves didn t revolt at every opportunity This racist statement of his about the plight of slaves is actually one of the milder ones he makes.He the slave quietly enjoys the privileges of his debasement If he becomes free, independence is often felt by him to be a heavier burden than slavery5 Switching gears de Tocqueville talked extensively about townships and local communities and how they were the bedrock of America s success One of theenlightening aspects of the book He returns to this point often.Town meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science they bring it within the people s reach, they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it A nation may establish a system of free government, but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty6 de Tocqueville also points out that a geographically isolated America does not have the pressures of warring neighbors like in France But he believes the U.S deserves credit for maintaining peace among themselves not an easy thing to do The American Union has no enemies to contend with it stands in the wilds like an island in the ocean But the Spaniards of South America were no less isolated by nature yet their position has not relieved them from the charge of standing armies They make war upon each other when they have no foreign enemies to oppose and the Anglo American democracy is the only one to maintain peace.7 de Tocqueville certainly had some interesting things to say about both impeachment and re elections of presidents He did not think a president should be eligible for re election Nor did he think the prosecutors in an impeachment trial should be withheld the ability to criminally prosecute the accused Better to have a president fearful of jail or in the case of treason the ultimate penalty Although he did acknowledge that he doubted a real tyrant would be stopped by the threat of jail either.By preventing political tribunals from inflicting judicial punishments the Americans seem to have eluded the worst consequences of legislative tyranny, rather than tyranny itself 8 de Tocqueville also wrote presciently of a future Mexican American war It took only thirteen years for his prediction to come true He thought nothing would slow the ambition of America s westward expansion How right he was Thus, the Spaniards and the Anglo Americans are, properly speaking, the only two races which divide the possession of the New World The limits of separation between them have been settled by a treaty but although the conditions of that treaty are exceedingly favorable to the Anglo Americans, I do not doubt that they will shortly infringe this arrangement.9 The last takeaway is around the question of how great empires end This is one near and dear to most of our hearts And de Tocqueville has some important things to say here Sadly no practical solutions DeTocqueville could not have imagined the technological globalization we have today nor Nuclear weapons nor the Climate Crisis So I m not convinced that making government local will solve the big problems But I could be wrong.All the passions which are most fatal to republican institutions spread with an increasing territory, whilst the virtues which maintain their dignity do not augment in the same proportion The ambition of the citizens increases with the power of the State the strength of parties with the importance of the ends they have in view but that devotion to the common weal which is the surest check on destructive passions is not stronger in a large than in a small republic.4 stars Highly readable book for being nearly two centuries old The version I read was translated to English in the 1870 s It is lengthy but reads quite quickly Most every section stands on its own I probably would have given five stars if de Tocqueville wasn t so obtuse about slavery Other than this blind spot his deductive reasoning is quite remarkable and pertinent to today s political climate

  6. Ahmad Sharabiani Ahmad Sharabiani says:

    De la democratie en Amerique On Democracy in America Democracy in America, Alexis de TocquevilleDe La D mocratie en Am rique published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840 is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville Its title translates as On Democracy in America, but English translations are usually simply entitled Democracy in America In the book, Tocqueville examines the democratic revolution that he believed had been occurring over the previous several hundr De la democratie en Amerique On Democracy in America Democracy in America, Alexis de TocquevilleDe La D mocratie en Am rique published in two volumes, the first in 1835 and the second in 1840 is a classic French text by Alexis de Tocqueville Its title translates as On Democracy in America, but English translations are usually simply entitled Democracy in America In the book, Tocqueville examines the democratic revolution that he believed had been occurring over the previous several hundred years 1971 1346 815 1380 743 9641319505 19 1347 815 1383 574 1393 9789644455285 19 1394 1831

  7. HBalikov HBalikov says:

    It amazed me that my country, the USA, was looked on as a democracy worth emulating within its first half century of existence Though some see Democracy in America as a recounting of travels, and others see it a deconstruction of a foreign country, I think I am with a fair number of others who consider Tocqueville as trying to find what France might adapt for its own institutions That, of course, started with our penal system because that is what paid the freight for Tocqueville and his comp It amazed me that my country, the USA, was looked on as a democracy worth emulating within its first half century of existence Though some see Democracy in America as a recounting of travels, and others see it a deconstruction of a foreign country, I think I am with a fair number of others who consider Tocqueville as trying to find what France might adapt for its own institutions That, of course, started with our penal system because that is what paid the freight for Tocqueville and his compatriot, Gustave de Beaumont to spend many months seeing much of America.I have struggled with writing this review for months because it is so easy to drill down on any one ofthan a dozen topics including America s Constitution the nature of the democratic family the Indians that Tocqueville observed Blacks and slavery the importance of local government the judiciary the tyranny of the majority the role of political parties the foundation of education freedom of speech how s influence democracy American culture individualism the desire for wealth the strength of lawyers and, how Christianity fits with democracy.What permeates this two volume work are Tocqueville s thoughts and concerns about how democracy can and should work For instance, Americans were not the first individuals but Tocqueville invented the word individualism and applied it to Americans He believed there was a danger in this American individualism, particularly the tendency to withdraw from the public sphere It was in private life that individuals could see themselves as unique, yet he feared that this would encourage withdrawal from the public sphere and mitigated their participation in the life of the community, thus damaging the foundation of democracy Tocqueville consistently holds that democracy is not just a form of government it is a way of life Beyond democratic institutions, he sees democratic values and attitudes and family structures and culture Tocqueville uses the term s of democracy to describe the larger idea of democratic values and habits In addition to being essential to understanding our democracy, Tocqueville was concerned as to whether nations without a tradition of democracy could quickly create an egalitarian and free society A concern that is just as appropriate today There are so many aspects of America and Americans that he found worth considering Reading these almost 200 years since he wrote them down, it is easy to point to what may not be now relevant But the astounding impact of this book is how much of it is enduring and how many of the questions that he raised are still relevant.No summary of that is a substitute for your willingness to take time to immerse yourself in his experiences I leave you with something that, I hope, will further encourage you to do so.Key events before and during Beaumont and Tocqueville s time in America My thanks to one of my professors for his notes 1828..Tocqueville meets Gustave de Beaumont, who will be his traveling companion in America, and Mary Motley, whom he will later marry 1830Tocqueville reluctantly takes an oath of loyalty to the new king following the July Revolution and is appointed a substitute judge Beaumont and Tocqueville propose a trip to America to study the American penal system Jan 1, 1831..William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of The Liberator Feb 6, 1831..Beaumont and Tocqueville are granted an 18 month leave to study the American penal system Mar 18, 1831The Supreme Court rules on Cherokee Nation v Georgia Apr 2, 1831They set sail for America May 9, 1831Beaumont and Tocqueville arrive in Newport, Rhode Island May 11, 1831..They arrive in New York City May 27, 1831..They travel up the Hudson River to visit Sing Sing Penitentiary June 30, 1831..They leave New York City July 4, 1831..They attend July 4th festivities in Albany July 9, 1831They begin their visit to Auburn Penitentiary July 16, 1831.They arrive in Canandaigua, New York, and stay with John C Spencer July 18, 1831.They arrive in Buffalo July 22, 1831.They arrive in Detroit and depart for Saginaw July 26, 1831.John C Calhoun definitively declares himself for nullification Aug 9, 1831..Tocqueville and Beaumont arrive in Green Bay Aug 18, 1831.They visit Niagara Falls Aug 22, 1831..Nat Turner s rebellion begins Aug 23, 1831..They arrive in Montreal Sept 9, 1831.They arrive in Boston for a stay of almost four weeks Sept 28, 1831The Anti Masonic Convention meets Oct 12, 1831..They arrive in Philadelphia for a two week stay, visiting Eastern State Penitentiary several times Oct 28, 1831They travel to Balti, where they encounter slavery for the first time Nov 12, 1831..The first steam powered train makes its maiden voyage Nov 25, 1831..Tocqueville and Beaumont leave Pittsburgh on an Ohio River boat for Cincinnati but hit a rock the next day.Dec 7, 1831They arrive in Nashville Dec 25, 1831..They begin their trip to New Orleans from Memphis on a steamboat Jan 1, 1832.They arrive in New Orleans Jan 3, 1832They begin a long voyage on land and sea through the South Jan 15, 1832..They arrive in Norfolk, Virginia Jan 17, 1832..They arrive in Washington Jan 19, 1832Tocqueville and Beaumont meet President Andrew Jackson Feb 6, 1832..They arrive in New York Feb 20, 1832They board a ship for their return voyage to France

  8. Mike (the Paladin) Mike (the Paladin) says:

    I m going with 4 stars here, it isn t always the easiest book to read, but worth it There is a lot of wisdom in this book, a lot of insight While history hasn t borne out all his predictions, there have been enough Sadly also, it looks as thoughof the things he said may still prove to be true In today s atmosphere, the thoughts here compared to the reality we live in and that may be coming to pass.well, it s worth some thought When America broke away from the branch so to speak I m going with 4 stars here, it isn t always the easiest book to read, but worth it There is a lot of wisdom in this book, a lot of insight While history hasn t borne out all his predictions, there have been enough Sadly also, it looks as thoughof the things he said may still prove to be true In today s atmosphere, the thoughts here compared to the reality we live in and that may be coming to pass.well, it s worth some thought When America broke away from the branch so to speak it was a new thing in the world No colony had ever done what was done here and it was an idealistic experiment even a dream that was watched by the world Europe wassomewhat worried and England in particular was very unhappy about the implications Had the War of 1812 gone differently on this side of the Atlantic we all still might be drinking teathan coffee as it could have changed everything But when you say the War of 1812 in Europe their minds go to battles and events other than here in North America They think of the Napoleonic war But back to the subject The American Revolution raised questions worldwide and things began to percolate In France things boiled over not long after they did here It s notable that many in the academic community are farenad with the French Revolution than with the American You see it was supposed to be a rational Revolution it was a Godless revolution with all the clergy and God Himself rejected by the leaders and much of the movement the clergy was seen as close to the royals you see Unfortunately the French Revolution spun out of control into a rein of terror and then into a military dictatorship In the wake of all this a young man Alexis de Tocqueville spent 9 months touring the new United States and when he returned to France he wrote this book commenting on the social and governmental situation and implications He was torn between hopeful andwell, not so hopeful So I recommend the book It s interesting, thought provoking and somewhat sobering I leave you with one quote from said book The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public s money Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America Think about it

  9. E. G. E. G. says:

    ChronologyIntroduction NotesFurther ReadingTranslator s Note Democracy in America NotesTwo Essays on America Two Weeks in the Wilderness Excursion to Lake Oneida ChronologyIntroduction NotesFurther ReadingTranslator s Note Democracy in America NotesTwo Essays on America Two Weeks in the Wilderness Excursion to Lake Oneida

  10. Karey Karey says:

    Update My brother just told me that Kurt Vonnegut says that anyone who hasn t read Democracy in America is a wimp So I guess that makes me almost not a wimp Well Post from a few weeks ago I ve been wanting to read de Toqueville s, Democracy in America for some time, and I ve finally bit the bullet The translation is beautifully done De Toqueville s sentiments are eloquent and thought provoking Wonderful How s that for summer reading Part of me wishes we still talked like pilgrims.

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