An introduction to the life of alexis de tocqueville

In such meetings, there is always a spirit of loyalty to the State, because that is loyalty to the people, and a reverence for God that gives weight to the duties and responsibilities of citizenship. Despite maintaining that the balance of property determined the balance of power, Tocqueville argued that as the United States showed, equitable property holdings did not ensure the rule of the best men.

He admires their relatively higher level of education and argues that education should be extended to women as part of extending political rights to everyone. Like his temperament and his faith, his views of human nature and of human knowledge were not Cartesian.

He published the second volume of Democracy in Americaand a number of minor writings; and his Democracy was being translated and published in many languages across Europe and in the Americas.

Inin the midst of the fighting, he remarked how there was something brummagem and make-believe in this revolution: No lofty views, no spiritual conception presided over the foundation of these new settlements. This was a political party movement, intended to be radical and revolutionary, but it will, ultimately, react because it has not the sanction of public opinion.

My aim has been to show, by the American example, that laws, and more especially mores can allow a democratic people to remain free. We French, Parisians especially, gladly mingle literary and theatrical reminiscences with our most serious demonstrations. Indeed, his twenty-fifth birthday fell on the very day when Charles X left Versailles forever.

Eventually, Tocqueville built up an enormous personal influence in his constituencywinning subsequent elections by more than 70 percent of the vote and becoming president of his departmental council a local representative body.

No one can rise even from the most cursory perusal without clearer insight and more patriotic appreciation of the blessings of liberty protected by law, nor without encouragement for the stability and perpetuity of the Republic.

What is remarkable is that this youthful foreign aristocrat should have had such an acute and profound comprehension of the American character. The portions we have suggest this judgment. Democratic institutions awaken and flatter the passion for equality without ever being able to satisfy it entirely.

In the first volume of Democracy in America Tocqueville gradually rises to this theme, as the book advances from a description of American institutions to an analysis of American democratic society and of its problems.

The quality of the writing is as high as that of his finished books. This singularity can be seen in the method, the style, and the philosophy of Democracy in America; but the unity of this philosophy, method, and style was not bound up with the subject of this first work.

When the Constitution was thus perfected and established, a new form of government was created, but it was neither speculative nor experimental as to the principles on which it was based. Although by birth and sympathies an aristocrat, M. Many people disliked the serious and Olympian tone of his utterances; he seemed like Aristides the Just in the heedless democracy of Athens.

When De Tocqueville wrote, we had lived less than fifty years under our Constitution. He would find it in public opinion, which is the vital force in every law in a free government. Gobineau met Tocqueville in the early s. By the twentieth century, it had become a classic work of political sciencesocial scienceand history.

I found this excellent man—for such he was in spite of well-meaning bits of trickery, pious fibs and all the other petty sins that a timid heart and vacillating mind could suggest to an honest soul—I found him, I say, walking about in his room, a prey to strong emotions.

Those who, having read this book, should imagine that in writing it I am urging all nations with a democratic social state to imitate the laws and mores of the Anglo-Americans would be making a great mistake; they must have paid more attention to the form than to the substance of my thought.

But he would find it in the unwritten law of the natural aversion of the races. They could join limited intellectual circles to explore the weighty and complex problems facing society, or they could use their superior talents to amass vast fortunes in the private sector.

Indeed, Tocqueville turns his attention to the various civic institutions, such as town halls and temperance societies, which bind citizens together and work against individualism and materialism.

In his introductory chapter, M. They are summary statements of the beliefs of the Catholic Christian Tocqueville; and they are principal arguments for the incompatibility of Christianity with a philosophy of history dependent on conceptions of race.

Alexis de Tocqueville

The judgment of all who have studied his commentaries seems to have been unanimous, that his talents and learning were fully equal to his task. Recollections — This work was a private journal of the Revolution of These include his belief that democracy has a tendency to degenerate into " soft despotism " as well as the risk of developing a tyranny of the majority.

Because of his illness he was again advised to move away from Normandy, at least for a time. One of the main achievements of Tocqueville the historian is his revision of many standard notions about the origins of the Revolution.French sociologist and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville () traveled to the United States in to study its prisons and returned with a wealth of broader observations that he codified in “Democracy in America” (), one of the most influential books of the 19th century.

Alexis de Tocqueville (–) was a French political philosopher, statesman, and author of two seminal works in the history of political thought, Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution. In these works, Tocqueville explains the origins and character of modern life in the “Christian universe,” which he believes is.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America Chapter Summary. Find summaries for every chapter, including a Democracy in America Chapter Summary Chart to help you understand the book. Online Library of Liberty. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc. Advanced Search. Alexis de Tocqueville: A Bibliographical Essay by John Lukacs Related Links: Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Tocqueville’s Family Background and Early Life.

Alexis Charles Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was born on July 29, of an. Democracy in America is now widely studied in America universities, and it has been quoted by Presidents, Supreme Court Justices, and Congressmen.

Humbler instances of its influence abound; for example, the name for the most generous category of giver to The United Way is the “Alexis de Tocqueville Society”. Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America Edited and translated by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop and with an Introduction .

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An introduction to the life of alexis de tocqueville
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