Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America


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Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America

Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in American is considered as one of the greatest works of political writing of the nineteenth century. The text’s daring conjectures, formidable length, narrative complexity, and elegant prose make it a masterpiece. However, these qualities have over time made sure that opinions differ greatly when it comes to the roots of greatness. Alexis de Tocqueville was a French political theorist and sociologist who went to the United States in 1831 to study prison systems. As a result of his trip, he returned to France with a wealth of broad observations which he coded in the book Democracy in America. In the text, he makes trenchant observations about individualism and equality, and his work remains to be a valuable explanations of Americans to each other and America to Europeans.

His book revealed Tocqueville’s position on equality. Tocqueville opined that equality was the greatest social and political idea of his era and was convinced that the US provided the most advanced example of equality in motion at the time. While he admired American individualism, he warned that society could become paradoxically uniform and easily atomized when each citizen that is being incorporated into the rest gets lost in the crowd. In his opinion, a section of society did not have intermediate social structures like those provided by traditional systems to mediate relations with the state. He warned that the result would be a democratic tyranny of majority where individual rights were compromised. Tocqueville was impressed by what he saw in American society and admired the stability of the economy and popularity of the churches. He also marveled at the nation’s embrace of slavery and the country’s irony of the mistreatment of Native Americans.

Tocqueville’s arguments concerning the direction of American democracy are accurate. His arguments about American democracy beg the question of whether democracies are safe. From my standpoint, democracies are not as safe as we might view them. The text showcases fresh insights on important perennial themes such as the liberty of the press and tyranny of civil societies and majorities. Tocqueville’s findings reveal why modern democracies remain susceptible to commercial panics. His main concern was having a democracy where the individual rights of the people would be compromised. True to his word, it is evidenced in how modern democracies value equality, have grown complacent, and curtailed the treat of a revolution.

Undoubtedly, the contemporary political order has worked out exactly as predicted by Alexis de Tocqueville. During his visit to America, he was impressed by a lot of things, including the thriving economy and the wandering popularity of churches. Besides that, he found it ironic how despite claiming to be a freedom-loving nation, they embraced slavery and mistreated Native Americans. This goes to show that society was not as equal as it purported to be and if not careful, democracy would be feasible on paper and not implementable. He predicted there was a possibility that democracy would become compromised with time. He noted that to caution society from tyranny, there was a need to institute intermediate social structures like the ones that existed in traditional hierarchies to control relations in the state. His fears about inequality reflect in the current American society, where like most countries continues to be watered down. The reality is that democracies are not safe and there are a lot of divisions that are going on in the systems and the societies at large.