Democracy in America by Alexis de TocquevilleDemocracy 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 1835 & 1840. Brilliantly written, vividly illustrated with vignettes & portraits, Democracy in America is far more 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.
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Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville , born July 29, , Paris , France—died April 16, , Cannes , political scientist , historian, and politician, best known for Democracy in America , 4 vol. Almost diminutive in stature, acutely sensitive, and plagued by severe bouts of anxiety since childhood, he remained close to his parents throughout his life. Despite a frail voice in a fragile body, distaste for the daily demands of parliamentary existence, and long periods of illness and nervous exhaustion, Tocqueville chose politics as his vocation and adhered to this choice until he was driven from office. His decision in favour of a public career was made with some assurance of success. His father was a loyal royalist prefect and in was made a peer of France by Charles X.
Alexis de Tocqueville is perhaps best known among Americans as the author of the influential work, Democracy in America. He produced the book in two volumes -- the first, which came out in and the second, which came out in -- after taking a tour of the United States with his colleague and friend Gustave de Beaumont in His thesis in Democracy was simple. After careful observation of American customs, laws, institutions, and religion, he determined that the one defining factor in the United States was equality of conditions. By this, Tocqueville meant that since there was no feudal tradition with all its social hierarchies, Americans were a highly mobile people. They were mobile socially and economically -- they could become entrepreneurs and build their own wealth without much to constrain them.
Both of his parents had been jailed during the Reign of Terror. After attending college in Metz, Tocqueville studied law in Paris and was appointed a magistrate in Versailles, where he met his future wife and befriended a fellow lawyer named Gustave de Beaumont. Unable to advance, he and Beaumont secured permission to carry out a study of the American penal system, and in April they set sail for Rhode Island. In Pennsylvania , Tocqueville spent a week interviewing every prisoner in the Eastern State Penitentiary. In Washington , D.
Did you know? During his travels in the United States, one of the first things that surprised Alexis de Tocqueville about American culture was.
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Alexis de Tocqueville: Early Life
Last month, Nadia Bloom, an eleven-year-old girl who had been missing for four days, was found, unhurt, in alligator-infested Florida swampland., 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.