Literary analysis of the work democracy in america by tocqueville

Alexis de tocqueville individualism

It produces no lasting works of art, no poetry, no fine literature. These fragments, revived by the choice of the editor, appear between brackets in the main text and in notes. Tyranny of the majority: At the same time, Americans give great weight to, and feel great pressure from, the opinion of the majority. This book was famous for two accurate predictions, one, the U. Following a system frequently used at the time, the draft occupies the right side of the folio and leaves the left side free for notes and variants. He was not the first to use the term in its modern sense see my earliest works Democracy and Civil Society and Civil Society and the State , but he did find the new American republic brimming with many different forms of civil association, and he therefore pondered their importance for consolidating democracy. Knopf edited and with an extensive historical essay by Phillips Bradley. He observes that the strong role religion played in the United States was due to its separation from the government, a separation all parties found agreeable. These same opponents of slavery were to some degree aware of a contradiction that lurked within the contradiction. Its daring conjectures, elegant prose, formidable length and narrative complexity make it a masterpiece, yet exactly those qualities have together ensured, through time, that opinions greatly differ about the roots of its greatness. This dramatically increased the efficiency and volume of production, but at a high social cost.

Tocqueville was the first political writer to bring together the newly-invented modern understanding of civil society with the old Greek category of democracy; and he was the first to say that a healthy democracy makes room for civil associations that function as schools of public spirit, permanently open to all, within which citizens become acquainted with others, learn their rights and duties as equals, and press home their concerns, sometimes in opposition to government, so preventing the tyranny of minorities by herd-like majorities through the ballot box.

In Volume II of the book, Tocqueville covers topics such as: How religion in the United States avails itself to democratic tendencies; Roman Catholicism in the United States; pantheism ; equality and the perfectibility of man; science; literature; art; how democracy has modified the English language ; spiritual fanaticism; education; and equality of the sexes.

What are some of the problems with american democracy that troubled tocqueville the most

This was supposed to be a chance for him to take a look at the American prison system. Knopf edited and with an extensive historical essay by Phillips Bradley. He ultimately seeks to understand the true nature of American political life and why it was so different from Europe. The printing process inevitably introduced others. Every typographic reproduction leads, however, to adulteration, an adulteration as necessary as it is inevitable. The military crushing of the Southern fantasy of Greek democracy, in the name of a God-given vision of representative democracy, proved costly. Exercising freedom through participation in public affairs is therefore extremely vital because it gives people a personal interest in thinking about others in society. 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. I know well the conscientiousness that caused our friend to present the expression of his thought to the public only after he had brought it to the highest perfection that he felt capable of giving it; but it is one thing to put a piece of writing aside in order to make it more perfect and something else to want it suppressed when fate has decreed that the process of perfecting it cannot take place. That first edition, which elicited considerable criticism, possesses almost as many good qualities as failings.

America has managed to avoid such dangers thus far because its citizens have had a long time to accustom themselves both to individual liberties and to participation in politics on a number of levels.

They would regard such projects necessary for the accumulation of wealth, the nurturing of equality and the maintenance of social order. Democratic juries are a key example of active political life in America.

Democracy in america themes

There were an estimated , casualties, 3 per cent of the total population of the United States. After recovering the missing passages, I then compared the whole text with the manuscript and identified more than a hundred diverse errors. Tocqueville depicts a number of hypothetical scenarios of future democratic societies where everyone thinks and acts the same way, where tyranny is diffused in a subtle, insidious, but no less powerful way. Setting out from New York, he travelled upstate to Buffalo, then through the frontier, as it was then called, to Michigan and Wisconsin. The future was America. Guided by fear and greed and professional and family honour and respectability, they would be happy to be co-opted or kidnapped by state rulers, willing to be bought off with lavish services and cash payments and invisible benefits that brought them stable comforts. Mary Mottley died in

It is enlarged, amplified by a body of texts that has never existed in the form that I give it today. Since the author was no longer there to ensure the correction of his texts, Beaumont took charge of it. On the basis of his travels and observations, Tocqueville predicted that American democracy would in future have to confront a fundamental dilemma.

He had stayed in the United States through February for about nine months, so intrigued by democracy, majority rule, and the absence of social hierarchy.

Literary analysis of the work democracy in america by tocqueville

The point can be put in a different way: Tocqueville positively contradicted himself. Its daring conjectures, elegant prose, formidable length and narrative complexity make it a masterpiece, yet exactly those qualities have together ensured, through time, that opinions greatly differ about the roots of its greatness. With this intention, in , he hired the services of a copyist. Copy to Clipboard. Thanks to democracy, something similar happens in the field of social life, or so Tocqueville proposed. Equality is for him not the equal right of citizens to be different. In other words, democracy promotes something of a Gestalt switch in the perception of power. 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. It is in fact their progenitor. Since the author was no longer there to ensure the correction of his texts, Beaumont took charge of it.

While they admit that Tocqueville was well aware that democracy is prone to self-contradiction and self-destruction, they note that he tended to exaggerate the momentum and geographic extent of the busy levelling process that was underway in America. Democracy in America is arguably a great work of modern democratic literature, a highly engaging and thought-provoking text that markedly stands at right angles to the dull-witted science of politics that is today dominant in the American academy, and elsewhere.

tocqueville tyranny of the majority
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Democracy in America