Democracy in America, Volumes One and Two by Alexis de Tocqueville, trans. Henry Reeve is a publication of the Pennsylvania State University. This Portable . Alexis de Tocqueville: “Democracy in America”. As “Democracy in America” revealed, Tocqueville believed that equality was the great political and social idea of. Alexis de Tocqueville (). Democracy in America. Volume 1. Alexis De Tocqueville. Written: ; Translated: by Henry Reeve, revised and corrected, ;.

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I am incapable of aiming at a universal exactitude; I have not seen enough for that; but I already know, I think, much more than we have ever been taught in France about it, and certain points of the picture can be of great, even current interest.

For the same reason, you excite only a small number of passions. It is rare to proceed by the path of general reform because there are few things to which you can apply the same principle in England. I came into the world at the end of a long Revolution that, after destroying the old state, had created nothing lasting.

He teaches himself about the forms of government by governing. The Americans are only the part of the English population that works on the conquest of America: Even in New England, where there were comparatively few slaves, the economy was rooted in the slave trade with the West Indies.

I read this in response to my frustration with what I saw as our inability to bring democracy to other places in the world. Even if, by misfortune, such an absolute dead level were attained, there would still be inequalities of intelligence which, coming directly from God, will ever escape the laws of man. Allow me to quote at length from pp. There was segregation and deep inequality in education. So I promised to amdrica him, without hiding the fact that I did not do it for him.

Their sources have been carefully and systematically indicated. In short, Tocqueville is seeking to understand America so that he could understand the future; tofque the plan of the book follows these two goals successively.

Americans are self-reliant, but not daring; they are often decent, but never saintly.

Democracy in America. English Edition. Vol. 1 – Online Library of Liberty

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. Only these two march with an easy and rapid stride down a road whose end no eye can yet perceive.


Vrin; 6, Place de la Sorbonne; Paris, Here it was a matter of restoring man to history and society; now it is going to be a matter of restoring him to reason. The lack of debate about the principle of equality which is the principle par excellence since it comes down to the principle of identity ends up by imposing a structure in which reason and confrontation are lacking.

They arrived equals in education and were all middle class.

Jun 29, Jake rated it it was amazing. It’s darn impressive to pen a thousand page study of the political and social landscape of early America. It oppressed the body, but the soul escaped its tyrannical enterprise. That is why the true revolution took place largely beforeaccelerated by a change that was above all European in nature, that began with the Reformation, continued with Bacon and Descartes, and then gave the Enlightenment universal ideas, applicable in all periods and to all parts of the world.

He anticipates the potential acrimony over the abolition of slavery that would tear apart the United States and lead to the American Civil War as well as the eventual superpower rivalry between the United States and Russia, which exploded after World War II and spawned the Cold War.

One of the most pivotal books in my college education. Provided with his notes on the United States, publications brought back from America, an ample correspondence with Americans and Frenchmen, his own letters, and a list of the subjects of his notes, Tocqueville drew up the initial plan of his book.

Moreover, there is an obstacle here to general innovations and to the impulses of reform. 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.

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

democrac Of course, there is no way to determine if the author’s thoughts are properly conveyed but the translation comes across clear and revealing. He defended Kergorlay who, acquitted, was soon set free.

He begins with local government and talks about state and federal government–including details of the establishment and importance of the executive, judicial and legislative branches. Objet can mean object the object of desiresubject the subject under considerationmatter the matter under discussionor objective the objective of a plan.


Beaumont and Tocqueville in America had different interests, but their intention was to publish their books simultaneously, as two parts of the same work. The work on the penitentiary system was generally well received. Moreover, the initial intention of Tocqueville and Beaumont was to publish a shared text on the political institutions and mores of the North Americans. The latter is the true human element of historical change. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

The Democracy, which sets forth as well one of the most fascinating interpretations of the French Revolution Edition: The young aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, sketch by an unknown artist. The reader will find other examples of such clusters of possible meanings in the translation.

Democracy in America

This would essentially make them a tool of the wealthy elite. In other words, a government should pass and enforce just laws. I think that all in all, the manufacturing aristocracy that we see rising before our eyes is one of the hardest that has appeared on earth; but it is at the same time one of the most restrained and least dangerous … if ever permanent inequality of conditions and aristocracy are introduced anew into the world, one can predict that they will enter by this door.

In a letter to Henry Reeve, 49 Tocqueville admitted:. What changes had taken place during the last two years?

Part of the reason for his seemingly miraculous ability is that, with Tocqueville, you find two things conjoined which are normally encountered separately: Married women, by contrast, lost all independence “in the bonds of matrimony” as “in America paternal discipline [by the woman’s father] is very relaxed and the conjugal tie very strict”.

The resulting translation is mine, and I take full responsibility for any weaknesses or failings. He taught us that in the age of democracy forms of total power can only win legitimacy and govern effectively when they harness the trimmings and trappings of democracy — when they mirror and mimic actually-existing democracies, in order better to go beyond them.