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Download mobi Ù De la démocratie en Amériue 983 pages ↠ Alexis de Tocqueville ¿ Democracy in America has had the singular honor of being even to this day the work that political commentators of every stripe refer to when they seek to draw large conclusions about the society of the USA AOcracy the social political economic life of its citizens publishing his observations in 1835 1840 Brilliantly written vividly illustrated with vignettes portrait It amazed me that my country the USA was looked on as a democracy worth emulating within its first half century of existence Though some see Democracy in America as a recounting of travels and others see it a deconstruction of a foreign country I think I am with a fair number of others who consider Tocueville as trying to find what France might adapt for its own institutions That of course started with our penal system because that is what “paid the freight” for Tocueville and his compatriot Gustave de Beaumont to spend many months seeing much of AmericaI have struggled with writing this review for months because it is so easy to drill down on any one of than a dozen topics including America’s Constitution; the nature of the democratic family; the Indians that Tocueville observed; Blacks and slavery; the importance of local government; the judiciary; the tyranny of the majority; the role of political parties; the foundation of education; freedom of speech; how s influence democracy; American culture; individualism; the desire for wealth; the strength of lawyers; and how Christianity fits with democracyWhat permeates this two volume work are Tocueville’s thoughts and concerns about how democracy can and should work For instance Americans were not the first “individuals” but Tocueville invented the word individualism and applied it to Americans He believed there was a danger in this American individualism particularly the tendency to withdraw from the public sphere It was in private life that individuals could see themselves as uniue yet he feared that this would encourage withdrawal from the public sphere and mitigated their participation in the life of the community thus damaging the foundation of democracy Tocueville consistently holds that democracy is not just a form of government—it is a way of life Beyond democratic institutions he sees democratic values and attitudes and family structures and culture Tocueville uses the term “s of democracy” to describe the larger idea of democratic values and habits In addition to being essential to understanding our democracy Tocueville was concerned as to whether nations without a tradition of democracy could uickly create an egalitarian and free society A concern that is just as appropriate today There are so many aspects of America and Americans that he found worth considering Reading these almost 200 years since he wrote them down it is easy to point to what may not be now relevant But the astounding impact of this book is how much of it is enduring and how many of the uestions that he raised are still relevantNo summary of that is a substitute for your willingness to take time to immerse yourself in his experiences I leave you with something that I hope will further encourage you to do soKey events before and during Beaumont and Tocueville’s time in America My thanks to one of my professors for his notes1828Tocueville meets Gustave de Beaumont who will be his traveling companion in America and Mary Motley whom he will later marry 1830Tocueville reluctantly takes an oath of loyalty to the new king following the July Revolution and is appointed a substitute judge Beaumont and Tocueville propose a trip to America to study the American penal system Jan 1 1831William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of The Liberator Feb 6 1831Beaumont and Tocueville are granted an 18 month leave to study the American penal system Mar 18 1831The Supreme Court rules on Cherokee Nation v Georgia Apr 2 1831They set sail for America May 9 1831Beaumont and Tocueville arrive in Newport Rhode Island May 11 1831They arrive in New York City May 27 1831They travel up the Hudson River to visit Sing Sing Penitentiary June 30 1831They leave New York City July 4 1831They attend July 4th festivities in Albany July 9 1831They begin their visit to Auburn Penitentiary July 16 1831They arrive in Canandaigua New York and stay with John C Spencer July 18 1831They arrive in Buffalo July 22 1831They arrive in Detroit and depart for Saginaw July 26 1831John C Calhoun definitively declares himself for nullification Aug 9 1831Tocueville and Beaumont arrive in Green Bay Aug 18 1831They visit Niagara Falls Aug 22 1831Nat Turner’s rebellion begins Aug 23 1831They arrive in Montreal Sept 9 1831They arrive in Boston for a stay of almost four weeks Sept 28 1831The Anti Masonic Convention meets Oct 12 1831They arrive in Philadelphia for a two week stay visiting Eastern State Penitentiary several times Oct 28 1831They travel to Balti where they encounter slavery for the first time Nov 12 1831The first steam powered train makes its maiden voyage Nov 25 1831Tocueville and Beaumont leave Pittsburgh on an Ohio River boat for Cincinnati but hit a rock the next dayDec 7 1831They arrive in Nashville Dec 25 1831They begin their trip to New Orleans from Memphis on a steamboat Jan 1 1832They arrive in New Orleans Jan 3 1832They begin a long voyage on land and sea through the South Jan 15 1832They arrive in Norfolk Virginia Jan 17 1832They arrive in Washington Jan 19 1832Tocueville and Beaumont meet President Andrew Jackson Feb 6 1832They arrive in New York Feb 20 1832They board a ship for their return voyage to France

De la démocratie en AmériueOcracy the social political economic life of its citizens publishing his observations in 1835 1840 Brilliantly written vividly illustrated with vignettes portrait It amazed me that my country the USA was looked on as a democracy worth emulating within its first half century of existence Though some see Democracy in America as a recounting of travels and others see it a deconstruction of a foreign country I think I am with a fair number of others who consider Tocueville as trying to find what France might adapt for its own institutions That of course started with our penal system because that is what “paid the freight” for Tocueville and his compatriot Gustave de Beaumont to spend many months seeing much of AmericaI have struggled with writing this review for months because it is so easy to drill down on any one of than a dozen topics including America’s Constitution; the nature of the democratic family; the Indians that Tocueville observed; Blacks and slavery; the importance of local government; the judiciary; the tyranny of the majority; the role of political parties; the foundation of education; freedom of speech; how s influence democracy; American culture; individualism; the desire for wealth; the strength of lawyers; and how Christianity fits with democracyWhat permeates this two volume work are Tocueville’s thoughts and concerns about how democracy can and should work For instance Americans were not the first “individuals” but Tocueville invented the word individualism and applied it to Americans He believed there was a danger in this American individualism particularly the tendency to withdraw from the public sphere It was in private life that individuals could see themselves as uniue yet he feared that this would encourage withdrawal from the public sphere and mitigated their participation in the life of the community thus damaging the foundation of democracy Tocueville consistently holds that democracy is not just a form of government—it is a way of life Beyond democratic institutions he sees democratic values and attitudes and family structures and culture Tocueville uses the term “s of democracy” to describe the larger idea of democratic values and habits In addition to being essential to understanding our democracy Tocueville was concerned as to whether nations without a tradition of democracy could uickly create an egalitarian and free society A concern that is just as appropriate today There are so many aspects of America and Americans that he found worth considering Reading these almost 200 years since he wrote them down it is easy to point to what may not be now relevant But the astounding impact of this book is how much of it is enduring and how many of the uestions that he raised are still relevantNo summary of that is a substitute for your willingness to take time to immerse yourself in his experiences I leave you with something that I hope will further encourage you to do soKey events before and during Beaumont and Tocueville’s time in America My thanks to one of my professors for his notes1828Tocueville meets Gustave de Beaumont who will be his traveling companion in America and Mary Motley whom he will later marry 1830Tocueville reluctantly takes an oath of loyalty to the new king following the July Revolution and is appointed a substitute judge Beaumont and Tocueville propose a trip to America to study the American penal system Jan 1 1831William Lloyd Garrison publishes the first issue of The Liberator Feb 6 1831Beaumont and Tocueville are granted an 18 month leave to study the American penal system Mar 18 1831The Supreme Court rules on Cherokee Nation v Georgia Apr 2 1831They set sail for America May 9 1831Beaumont and Tocueville arrive in Newport Rhode Island May 11 1831They arrive in New York City May 27 1831They travel up the Hudson River to visit Sing Sing Penitentiary June 30 1831They leave New York City July 4 1831They attend July 4th festivities in Albany July 9 1831They begin their visit to Auburn Penitentiary July 16 1831They arrive in Canandaigua New York and stay with John C Spencer July 18 1831They arrive in Buffalo July 22 1831They arrive in Detroit and depart for Saginaw July 26 1831John C Calhoun definitively declares himself for nullification Aug 9 1831Tocueville and Beaumont arrive in Green Bay Aug 18 1831They visit Niagara Falls Aug 22 1831Nat Turner’s rebellion begins Aug 23 1831They arrive in Montreal Sept 9 1831They arrive in Boston for a stay of almost four weeks Sept 28 1831The Anti Masonic Convention meets Oct 12 1831They arrive in Philadelphia for a two week stay visiting Eastern State Penitentiary several times Oct 28 1831They travel to Balti where they encounter slavery for the first time Nov 12 1831The first steam powered train makes its maiden voyage Nov 25 1831Tocueville and Beaumont leave Pittsburgh on an Ohio River boat for Cincinnati but hit a rock the next dayDec 7 1831They arrive in Nashville Dec 25 1831They begin their trip to New Orleans from Memphis on a steamboat Jan 1 1832They arrive in New Orleans Jan 3 1832They begin a long voyage on land and sea through the South Jan 15 1832They arrive in Norfolk Virginia Jan 17 1832They arrive in Washington Jan 19 1832Tocueville and Beaumont meet President Andrew Jackson Feb 6 1832They arrive in New York Feb 20 1832They board a ship for their return voyage to France

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De la démocratie en Amériue ↠ Democracy in America has had the singular honor of being even to this day the work that political commentators of every stripe refer to when they seek to draw lar I don’t mind admitting that Alexis de Toueville’s Democracy in America is uite possible the most demanding piece of exposition I’ve read since Hegel’s Phenomenology of Mind I suspect it’s one of those books — analogous if you will to Cervantes’ Don uixote Melville’s Moby Dick Proust’s In Search of Lost Time or Musil’s Man Without ualities — that avid readers want to have read but never haveI finally didIf you can find the time and the uiet to read fifty pages of this book a day you can accomplish it in under three weeks If you can devote yourself to than fifty pages a day — and have the concentration necessary to make sense of what you’re reading — you’re a better woman than I amI couldn’t In spite of my best efforts and virtually ideal conditions most often in some secluded spot in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden I found myself having to read many sentences two and three times over Democracy in America is no doubt worthy of a dissertation than of a review And I suspect that thousands of dissertations have been written on this oeuvre The book is dense — with a capital “D” — and any sort of commentary on it could rival exegesis of the TorahDense it is But also prescient — with a capital “P” If you can’t find the time or the circumstances to devote yourself to a reading of the entire work read just Chapter 10 of Part II Volume One “Some Considerations Concerning the Present State and Probable Future of the Three Races that Inhabit the Territory of the United States” And keep in mind that Volume One was published in 1835; the “Trail of Tears” the expulsion of the Cherokee Nation from Georgia to a circumscribed territory in Oklahoma happened only three years later; and the Civil War was still relatively far offBut what of de Tocueville’s observation at the conclusion of Volume One concerning Americans and Russians — ions before the start of the Cold War? Allow me to uote at length from pp 475 476 as I don’t want to shortchange the manThere are today two great peoples on earth who though they started from different points seem to be advancing toward the same goal the Russians and the Anglo AmericansBoth grew in obscurity and while humanity’s gaze was focused elsewhere they abruptly vaulted to the first rank among nations the world learned almost simultaneously of their birth and of their grandeurAll other peoples seem close to achieving the limits traced for them by nature and henceforth need only to preserve what they already have; but these two are still growing All the others have stopped or move forward only with the greatest of effort Only these two march with an easy and rapid stride down a road whose end no eye can yet perceiveThe American does battle with the obstacles that nature has placed before him; the Russian grapples with men One combats wilderness and barbarity; the other civilization with all its arms The American makes his conuests with the farmer’s ploughshare the Russian with the soldier’s swordTo achieve his goal the American relies on personal interest and allows individuals to exercise their strength and reason without guidanceThe Russian in a sense concentrates all of society in the power of one manThe American’s principal means of action is liberty; the Russian’s servitudeTheir points of departure are different their ways diverse Yet each seems called by a secret design of Providence some day to sway the destinies of half the globeJust as prescient are de Tocueville’s observations in Volume Two Part II Chapter 20 pp 649 – 652 in the Arthur Goldhammer Literary Classics of the United States © 2004 edition I’ve just read In these four pages titled “How Industry Could Give Rise to an Aristocracy” de Tocueville not only foresees the dangers of the industrial process known as “Taylorism” introduced decades later by the Ford Motor Company but also adumbrates the condition of alienation between worker and ownermanager haves and have nots into which we in the U S are now inexorably slipping Should you have any interest in understanding about this latter development I would respectfully refer you to Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine which I reviewed here at Goodreads at the end of last monthAnd what of this concluding observation 150 years before the deluge of widgets and gadgets in which most of the current generation of digital addicts would appear to be drowning? “Habitual inattention must be regarded as the greatest defect of the democratic mind last sentence on p 718” There are no doubt other good reasons for the seemingly constant state of distraction of so many young minds — and de Tocueville carefully lays out his argument in the pages leading up to his conclusion And yet one has to wonder whether the “democratic mind” as it has come to be in these United States and elsewhere in the Western World at the beginning of the twenty first century was the incubator or the egg in our so called “high tech revolution”Please allow me to return to p 198 to conclude with one last citation even if I could go on and on with others worth their aphoristic weight in gold “Time no stops for nations than it does for individuals Both advance daily toward a future of which they know nothing”“A future of which they know nothing” Scary stuff — but worthwhile to say the least readingRRB61413Brooklyn NY kindle ✓ De la démocratie en Amériue à Alexis de Tocqueville

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Alexis de Tocqueville à De la démocratie en Amériue doc Ge conclusions about the society of the USA Alexis de Tocueville a young French aristocrat came to the young nation to investigate the functioning of American dem Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocuevillede Tocueville a young French diplomat wrote this remarkable essay in two books based on his travels to the United States in the 1830s He was a student of the conseuences of the French revolution and had a very disdainful view of power for a diplomat — in particular the elite’s ability to eventually exploit the loopholes and take power back from the people It uickly becomes obvious from this treatise that de Tocueville had enormous admiration for America’s experiment in democracy and also her progress He also points out sadly that some day the experiment would come to an end de Tocueville came to the US in part to better understand sociology and prison reform His real aim and his lasting work that congealed in his mind along the way became America and her democratic system In his analyses here he often uses England France and the South American countries as points of comparison to counterbalance the US study because these were the countries of importance that had constitutions or most resembled democracies that he was most familiar with Beyond a brief history lesson of very early America that is uite interesting de Tocueville dissects America’s local state and federal levels of government and the different branches of the federal government Many of his observations are still fresh and one even could say prescient given our political situation in the United States Of course he came decades after Washington and Adams and Jefferson and does not spend much time discussing these key people but rather the systems of government Here are some key takeaways1 de Tocueville believed the biggest reason for the success of America’s democratic experiment fifty years into it was due to the mannerisms of Americans — not the Constitution By mannerisms he meant not just discourse but the work habits and pragmatism He did not hold as much faith in Constitutions as France and Mexico’s were similar to the US and both governments had major issues with corruption and inefficiencies The manners of the Americans of the United States are then the real cause which renders that people the only one of the American nations that is able to support a democratic government2 In conjunction with the first point he was enad of the Puritan work ethic and disappointed in the French to the north in Canada who did very little with either the land or opportunities in his opinion He spent a hundred pages discussing the Northeast and the Puritan influence This was uite interesting I have met with men in New England who were on the point of leaving a country where they might have remained in easy circumstances to go to seek their fortune in the wilds Not far from that district I found a French population in Canada which was closely crowded on a narrow territory Nature offers the solitudes of the New World to Europeans; but they are not always acuainted with the means of turning her gifts to account Other peoples of America have the same physical conditions of prosperity as the Anglo Americans but without their laws and their manners; and these peoples are wretched The laws and manners of the Anglo Americans are therefore that efficient cause of their greatness which is the object of my inuiry3 de Tocueville disliked the populist and current president of the time Andrew Jackson calling him a man of violent temper and mediocre talents Hmmm that sounds familiar His cruel policy toward Native Americans and the undue accolades pertaining to the Battle of New Orleans were other points that de Tocueville wrote about Nevertheless he did comment that Jackson advocated a diminished role of centralized government in most areas including the role of banks I think if de Tocueville had understood slavery better he might have had a enlightened view as to why Jackson so often opposed central government policies Far from wishing to extend the federal power the President belongs to the party which is desirous of limiting that power to the bare and precise letter of the Constitution and which never puts a construction upon that act favorable to the Government of the Union; far from standing forth as the champion of centralization General Jackson is the agent of all the jealousies of the States4 de Tocueville had a few largely unremarkable chapters on the two other peoples living in America beyond the Europeans; African American slaves and Native Americans His views of Native Americans were somewhat empathetic His views on slaves were uite racist He simply could not understand why slaves didn’t revolt at every opportunity This racist statement of his about the plight of slaves is actually one of the milder ones he makesHe the slave uietly enjoys the privileges of his debasement If he becomes free independence is often felt by him to be a heavier burden than slavery5 Switching gears de Tocueville talked extensively about townships and local communities and how they were the bedrock of America’s success One of the enlightening aspects of the book He returns to this point oftenTown meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science; they bring it within the people's reach they teach men how to use and how to enjoy it A nation may establish a system of free government but without the spirit of municipal institutions it cannot have the spirit of liberty6 de Tocueville also points out that a geographically isolated America does not have the pressures of warring neighbors like in France But he believes the US deserves credit for maintaining peace among themselves not an easy thing to do The American Union has no enemies to contend with; it stands in the wilds like an island in the ocean But the Spaniards of South America were no less isolated by nature; yet their position has not relieved them from the charge of standing armies They make war upon each other when they have no foreign enemies to oppose; and the Anglo American democracy is the only one to maintain peace7 de Tocueville certainly had some interesting things to say about both impeachment and re elections of presidents He did not think a president should be eligible for re election Nor did he think the prosecutors in an impeachment trial should be withheld the ability to criminally prosecute the accused Better to have a president fearful of jail — or in the case of treason the ultimate penalty Although he did acknowledge that he doubted a real tyrant would be stopped by the threat of jail eitherBy preventing political tribunals from inflicting judicial punishments the Americans seem to have eluded the worst conseuences of legislative tyranny rather than tyranny itself 8 de Tocueville also wrote presciently of a future Mexican American war It took only thirteen years for his prediction to come true He thought nothing would slow the ambition of America’s westward expansion How right he was Thus the Spaniards and the Anglo Americans are properly speaking the only two races which divide the possession of the New World The limits of separation between them have been settled by a treaty; but although the conditions of that treaty are exceedingly favorable to the Anglo Americans I do not doubt that they will shortly infringe this arrangement9 The last takeaway is around the uestion of how great empires end This is one near and dear to most of our hearts And de Tocueville has some important things to say here Sadly no practical solutions DeTocueville could not have imagined the technological globalization we have today nor Nuclear weapons nor the Climate Crisis So I’m not convinced that making government local will solve the big problems But I could be wrongAll the passions which are most fatal to republican institutions spread with an increasing territory whilst the virtues which maintain their dignity do not augment in the same proportion The ambition of the citizens increases with the power of the State; the strength of parties with the importance of the ends they have in view; but that devotion to the common weal which is the surest check on destructive passions is not stronger in a large than in a small republic4 stars Highly readable book for being nearly two centuries old The version I read was translated to English in the 1870’s It is lengthy but reads uite uickly Most every section stands on its own I probably would have given five stars if de Tocueville wasn’t so obtuse about slavery Other than this blind spot his deductive reasoning is uite remarkable and pertinent to today’s political climate