An introduction to the life of alexis de tocqueville

They regarded him as the evil and Lamartine as the good genius, mistakenly in both cases. True, he had prepared himself well for his American journey by extensive reading; he knew English, and had had, for some time, a particular interest in the laws and institutions of England.

Fools show their fear grossly in all its nakedness, but the others know how to cover it with a veil of such fine and delicately woven, small, convincing deceits that there is a pleasure in contemplating this ingenious labor of the intelligence.

The quality of the writing is as high as that of his finished books. Was Tocqueville a conservative or a liberal. 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.

Each succeeding generation of Americans will find in the pure and impartial reflections of De Tocqueville a new source of pride in our institutions of government, and sound reasons for patriotic effort to preserve them and to inculcate their teachings.

I know that there are many of my contemporaries whom this does not embarrass. Political associations are another means by which Americans maintain individual political rights. It was published in June ; it received a critical acclaim not dissimilar from that of the first volume of Democracy in America twenty-one years before.

I love it more from considering the evils it prevents than on account of the good it does. 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.

Tocqueville wrote that he did not know of any country where there was "less independence of mind, and true freedom of discussion, than in America". Consult English Translation section of the Tocqueville Bibliography.

He would write a book describing the main features of the French Revolution and include Napoleon. Includes previously unpublished letters, essays, and other writings. 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.

It was stronger than you, stronger because of its origin; it was better supported than you are by ancient customs, old mores and old beliefs; it was stronger than you, and yet it has fallen into dust. He thus viewed pressures of the dependent poor for state welfare and of the unemployed for state employment as the initial steps to a universal and degrading dependence on the state by all social classes.

In this book, as also in some of his other writings, Tocqueville demonstrates—without, however, arguing the philosophical point—the inadequacy of the Cartesian and scientific separation of the universe into object and subject, the observer from the matter observed.

He had seen that these revolutions were accomplished almost without the shedding of blood, and he was filled with anxiety to learn the causes that had placed republican government, in France, in such contrast with Democracy in America.

Ordinary Americans enjoyed too much power and claimed too great a voice in the public sphere to defer to intellectual superiors. He was not able to follow the leadership of others, nor did his oratorical style win him quick recognition as a leader.

In October Louis-Napoleon dismissed the conservative-liberal cabinet of which Tocqueville was a prominent member. That which was experimental in our plan of government was the question whether democratic rule could be so organized and conducted that it would not degenerate into license and result in the tyranny of absolutism, without saving to the people the power so often found necessary of repressing or destroying their enemy, when he was found in the person of a single despot.

Virtues of any sort are rare enough, and we can ill afford to quibble about their type and relative importance.

After his influence began to decline, a process not substantially reversed by either the posthumous publication of his Recollections in or that of his correspondence with his friend, the diplomatist and philosopher Arthur de Gobineau. As a result, he had no major legislative accomplishment to his credit during the reign of Louis-Philippe.

Belonging neither to the class which regarded the social revolution as an innovation to be resisted, nor to that which considered political equality the universal panacea for the evils of humanity, he resolved by personal observation of the results of democracy in the New World to ascertain its natural consequences, and to learn what the nations of Europe had to hope or fear from its final supremacy.

It is that the American example is a living illustration of the possibility of a more-or-less orderly democracy, and that consequently both the conservative and the radical European views of democracy ought to be revised.

Western emigration seemed commonplace and prosaic till M.

Alexis de Tocqueville

However, Tocqueville also argues that America has found a number of ways to mitigate tyranny of the majority, especially through law and the jury system, political associations, and the historical effects of Puritanism in early America.

The first who attracts the eye, the first in enlightenment, in power and in happiness, is the white man, the European, man par excellence; below him appear the Negro and the Indian.

Introduction: A Brief Life of Alexis de Tocqueville

Virtues of any sort are rare enough, and we can ill afford to quibble about their type and relative importance. The nine-volume publication of his works, edited by Beaumont —66was received as the legacy of a martyr of liberty.

Alexis de Tocqueville

If they were true principles, as they were, the government founded upon them was destined to a life and an influence that would continue while the liberties it was intended to preserve should be valued by the human family.

He came as an honest and impartial student and his great commentary, like those of Paul, was written for the benefit of all nations and people and in vindication of truths that will stand for their deliverance from monarchical rule, while time shall last.

This time it was not a matter of overthrowing the government, but simply letting it fall. It was stronger than you, stronger because of its origin; it was better supported than you are by ancient customs, old mores and old beliefs; it was stronger than you, and yet it has fallen into dust.

In Europe, he claimed, nobody cared about making money. Online Library of Liberty. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc. Advanced Search.

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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. Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont in America: Their Friendship and Their Travels, edited by Oliver Zunz, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (University of Virginia Press, ), pages.

Includes previously unpublished letters, essays, and other writings. Alexis's father, Hervé de Tocqueville, was imprisoned in the Conciergerie in at the age of twenty-two. This book is a portrait of Alexis de Tocqueville, his inner life, and the events of his time. Special Introduction By Hon.

John J. Ingalls. Nearly two-thirds of a century has elapsed since the appearance of “Democracy in America,” by Alexis Charles Henri Clerel de Tocqueville, a French nobleman, born at Paris, July 29, Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Paris on July 29, Tocqueville's father was a royalist prefect from Normandy who supported the Bourbon monarchy, his great-grandfather was a liberal aristocrat killed in the French Revolution, and his mother was a devout Roman Catholic who strongly advocated a return on the Old Regime.

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.

An introduction to the life of alexis de tocqueville
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Democracy In America by Alexis de Tocqueville