Alexis de Tocqueville looks at the United States and examines its
political, social, and cultural intricacies in DEMOCRACY IN
AMERICA. This edition of DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA is well introduced
and translated. This is not a basic travelogue of a French
aristocrat -Intellect - statesmans journey through the American
wilderness in a span of nine months, but it is a significant
documentary that compares and contrasts European Aristocracy to
American Democracy. At the time that Tocqueville wrote DEMOCRACY IN
AMERICA, both Europe and the United States experienced an enormous
shift in its political and social structure. On the US side,
several events occurred, Andrew Jackson was president, the
Anti-Slavery movement, Indian Removal commenced, immigration was on
the rise, and the industrial age was emerging; for the French and
European side, the Revolution of 1830 and autocracy took precedence
as well as a radical shake-up of the social class. Possibly, for
Tocqueville his travels to the United States served as a respite
from Frances revolutionary tendencies, and the opportunity to
observe US history in the making. In terms of chronology, 55 years
after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and 30 years
before the Civil War. In essence, Tocquevilles accounts bear much
significance to how the United States progressed, and where it was
Tocqueville writes and thinks in a Jeffersonian stance.
Throughout DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA Tocqueville suggests that
productivity cannot occur while a man remains idle, and that action
must take place in some form or another - the rule of law or
through communication. No doubt, this annotates Jeffersonian
politics and ideology. However, the basic premise throughout the
book concentrates on the difference between Democracy and
Aristocracy and their relationships to the social classes of each
respective ideology, and how each accomplished and achieved
effectiveness. Tocqueville looked toward America as a model to
post-revolutionary France, and one may say that this was an
exchange of politics and ideas that the United States had done a
century before; this was a shared entity.
DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA should be required reading. The most
exemplary aspect of the book is how Tocqueville speaks rhetorically
in a no nonsense way as well as its timelessness, which will
further entice readers to read on. As an added treat, the
appendices and the two most important essays of the book pertaining
to Tocquevilles encounters with the Iroquois and Chippeway Indians
should not be overlooked.
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