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Book Title: Democracy in America|
The author of the book: Alexis de Tocqueville
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Edition: Lawbook Exchange
Date of issue: January 1st 2003
ISBN 13: 9781584772491
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 775 KB
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In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville [1805-1859] and Gustave de Beaumont [fl.1835] were sent to the United States by the French government to study American prisons, which were renowned for their progressive and humane methods. They were pleased to accept this assignment because they were intrigued by the idea of American democracy. Tocqueville and Beaumont spent nine months in the country, traveling as far west as Michigan and as far south as New Orleans. Throughout the tour, Tocqueville used his social connections to arrange meetings with several prominent and influential thinkers of the day. He recorded his thoughts on the structure of the government and the judicial system, and commented on everyday people and the nation's political culture and social institutions. His observations on slavery, in particular, are impassioned and critical. These notes formed the basis of Democracy in America. This landmark work initiated a dialogue about the nature of democracy and the United States and its people that continues to this day.
Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. Translated by Henry Reeve, Esq. With an Original Preface and Notes by John C. Spencer. New York: Adlard and Saunders, 1838. xxx, 464 pp. Reprint available 2003 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 2002025957. ISBN 1-58477-249-2. Cloth. $85. Reprint of the first English-language edition.
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Read information about the authorAlexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (July 29, 1805 – April 16, 1859) was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies.
Democracy in America (1835), his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science. An eminent representative of the classical liberal political tradition, Tocqueville was an active participant in French politics, first under the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and then during the Second Republic (1849–1851) which succeeded to the February 1848 Revolution. He retired from political life after Louis Napoléon Bonaparte's December 2, 1851 coup, and thereafter began work on The Old Regime and the Revolution, Volume I. After obtaining a law degree, Alexis de Tocqueville was named auditor-magistrate at the court of Versailles. There, he met Gustave de Beaumont, a prosecutor substitute, who collaborated with him on various literary works. Both were sent to the United States to study the penitentiary system. During this trip, they wrote Du système pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis et de son application (1832). Back in France, Tocqueville became a lawyer. He met the English economist Nassau William Senior in 1833, and they became good friends and corresponded for many years. He published his master-work, De la démocratie en Amérique, in 1835. The success of this work, an early model for the science that would become known as sociology, led him to be named chevalier de la Légion d'honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour) in 1837, and to be elected the next year to the Académie des sciences morales et politiques. In 1841 he was elected to the Académie française.
Tocqueville, who despised the July Monarchy (1830–1848), began his political career in the same period. Thus, he became deputy of the Manche department (Valognes), a position which he maintained until 1851. In parliament, he defended abolitionist views and upheld free trade, while supporting the colonization of Algeria carried on by Louis-Philippe's regime. Tocqueville was also elected general counsellor of the Manche in 1842, and became the president of the department's conseil général between 1849 and 1851.
Apart from Canada, Tocqueville also made an observational tour of England, producing Memoir on Pauperism. In 1841 and 1846, he traveled to Algeria. His first travel inspired his Travail sur l'Algérie, in which he criticized the French model of colonization, based on an assimilationist view, preferring instead the British model of indirect rule, which did not mix different populations together. He went as far as openly advocating racial segregation between the European colonists and the "Arabs" through the implementation of two different legislative systems (a half century before its effective implementation with the 1881 Indigenous code).
After the fall of the July Monarchy during the February 1848 Revolution, Tocqueville was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly of 1848, where he became a member of the Commission charged with the drafting of the new Constitution of the Second Republic (1848–1851). He defended bicameralism (two parliamentary chambers) and the election of the President of the Republic by universal suffrage. As the countryside was thought to be more conservative than the laboring population of Paris, universal suffrage was conceived as a means to block the revolutionary spirit of Paris.
During the Second Republic, Tocqueville sided with the parti de l'Ordre against the "socialists" and workers. A few days after the February insurrection, he believed a violent clash between the workers' population agitating in favor of a "Democratic and Social Republic" and
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