Over 175 years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville, an astute political scientist, came to the United States to evaluate the meaning and actual functioning of democracy. Here, Tocqueville discusses the advantages and dangers of majority rule—which he thought could be as tyrannical as the rule of a monarchy. He analyzes the influence of political parties and the press on the government and the effect of equality on the social, political, and economic life of the American people. He also offers some startling predictions about world politics, which history has borne out. So brilliant and penetrating are his comments and criticisms, they have vital meaning today for all who are interested in democracy.
Abridged and with an Introduction by Richard D. Heffner
and an Afterword by Vartan Gregorian
“America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”-Alexis de Tocqueville
Both Volumes of Democracy in America with annotations included in this eBook
In the two volumes of Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, Tocqueville talks about the democratic revolution that had been occurring over the past seven hundred years and applies his insights to the United States in 1835. Democracy in America is essential reading for every American and is required reading in many high school and college courses.
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de Tocqueville focuses on why republican representative democracy prevailed in the United States, tracing its success from the state of equality established by the early Puritan settlers through the American Revolution and adoption of the Constitution. His speculations on the future of democracy offer prescient, thought-provoking reading, and his classic work remains a touchstone for modern thinkers on government. This edition is based on the earliest approved translation, which has served as the standard version for over a century and comes closest to reflecting the author's insights as perceived by his contemporaries.
Tocqueville was active in French politics, first under the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and then during the Second Republic (1849–1851) which succeeded the February 1848 Revolution. He retired from political life after Louis Napoléon Bonaparte's 2 December 1851 coup, and thereafter began work on The Old Regime and the Revolution.
He argued that the importance of the French Revolution was to continue the process of modernizing and centralizing the French state which had begun under King Louis XIV. The failure of the Revolution came from the inexperience of the deputies who were too wedded to abstract Enlightenment ideals. Tocqueville was a classical liberal who advocated parliamentary government, but was skeptical of the extremes of democracy (font: Wikipedia)
Originally published in 1856, the survey begins with a consideration of the contradictory opinions surrounding the revolution's outbreak. It takes an in-depth look at the old regime, including its administration, tribunals, official manners and customs, internecine quarrels, and class divisions. Tocqueville explores a range of influences on the rebellion's development, including the political rise of the nation's literary figures, the growth of antireligious attitudes, and the widespread desire for reform and liberty. This modestly priced edition of his scholarly study is essential reading for anyone with an interest in political philosophy, Enlightenment history, and the French Revolution.
Democracy in America: Volumes I and II includes both volumes of de Tocqueville’s influential work. Volume I explores the factors that contributed to the success of democracy in the United States, as well as the possible future of democracy in light of the unique religion and socio-economic factors that existed in the United States at that time. Volume II continues Tocqueville’s exploration of the nature of democracy in the United States, including an analysis of American civil society.
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âThe New Yorker