Over one hundred and fifty years ago, Alexis de Tocqueville, a
young French nobleman and an astute political scientist, came to
the United States to evaluate the meaning and actual functioning of
democracy. Democracy in America is the classic treatise on the
American way of life that he wrote as a result of his visit.
Tocqueville discusses the advantages and dangers of the majority
rule -- which he thought could be as tyrannical as the rule of the
aristocracy. He analyzes the influence of political parties and the
press on the government and the effect of democracy 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.
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