The analysis of language is of major interest, as it supplied for the first time an adequate treatment of the language mechanism in relation to scientific and philosophical issues. When he looked at social, religious, or
Alexis de Tocqueville was a French Historian and political thinker. However, there are glaring differences as well. Already existing negative tendencies in human nature have been exacerbated by social engineers that have attempted to alter and guide society according to their own visions.
Power and authority are now largely trusted and seen as sources of protection by a large portion of the population rather than threats to personal liberty and freedom, though this is changing.
True community is becoming increasingly rare. Government has expanded exponentially. All of these changes have an impact on how much freedom we enjoy — and how much freedom can be taken away without much resistance.
Below are some interesting excerpts from Democracy in America: Social authority makes them mistrustful and anxious, and they rely upon its power only when they cannot do without it. This first becomes apparent in the schools, where children play by their own rules and punish infractions they define themselves.
One encounters the same spirit in all aspects of social life. An obstruction blocks a public road, interrupting the flow of traffic.
The neighbors immediately set up a deliberative body. Enlightenment, like power, is disseminated throughout this vast country. Hence the beams of human intelligence do not all emanate from a common center but crisscross in every direction.
Nowhere have the Americans established any central direction over their thinking, any more than they have established any central direction over affairs of state. An idea that is clear and precise even though false will always have greater power in the world than an idea that is true but complex.
Montesquieu said that there is nothing more absolute than the authority of a prince who succeeds a republic, because the indefinite powers once fearlessly entrusted to elected officials would then be placed in the hands of a hereditary leader.
This is true in general, but particularly true of a democratic republic. In the United States, officials are not elected by a particular class of citizens but by the majority of the nation; they directly represent the passions of the multitude and are entirely dependent on its will.
They therefore inspire neither hatred nor fear. Thus, as I noted earlier, little care has been taken to limit their power by circumscribing their action, and the range of arbitrary discretion left to them is vast.
The habits fostered by this way of ordering things could outlast it. American officials could keep their indefinite power yet cease to be answerable to anyone, and it is impossible to say where tyranny would then end.
There are some among us who expect to see an aristocracy arise in America and who are already predicting exactly when it will seize power. Our contemporaries will find no image of it in their memories.
I search in vain for an expression that exactly reproduces my idea of it and captures it fully. The thing is new, hence I must try to define it, since I cannot give it a name.
I see an innumerable host of men, all alike and equal, endlessly hastening after petty and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls. Each of them, withdrawn into himself, is virtually a stranger to the fate of all the others.
For him, his children and personal friends comprise the entire human race. As for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he lives alongside them but does not see them. He touches them but does not feel them.
He exists only in himself and for himself, and if he still has a family, he no longer has a country. Over these men stands an immense tutelary power, which assumes sole responsibility for securing their pleasure and watching over their fate.
It is absolute, meticulous, regular, provident, and mild. It would resemble paternal authority if only its purpose were the same, namely, to prepare men for manhood.
But on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them in childhood irrevocably. It likes citizens to rejoice, provided they think only of rejoicing.One of the best written and most influential books about the United States, Tocqueville's Democracy in America has been translated only twice previously in years.
Neither of the earlier translations has the fluidity, accuracy, and elegance of this completely new translation, based on the recent critical French editions of the text.
Astolphe-Louis-Léonor, Marquis de Custine (18 March – 25 September ) was a French aristocrat and writer who is best known for his travel writing, in particular his account of his visit to Russia, La Russie en This work documents not only Custine's travels through the Russian Empire, but also the social fabric, economy and way of life during the reign of Nicholas I.
American democracy today remains a living, breathing idea, a work in progress. Indeed, the course of American history attests to the long and arduous struggle to right the wrongs and attempt to.
An overall view would be that Alexis de Tocqueville many have been right about America in the past and for a fact some of the observations, the ones stated above for example, are still true to this day and might be true in the future.
Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America Excerpts from the Original Electronic Text at the web site American Hypertexts at the University of Virginia. Traveling to the United States in to study American prisons for the French government, French aristocrats Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont .
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”.