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Insights On De Tocqueville

’s Democracy In America Essay, Research Paper

Insights on De Tocqueville’s Democracy In America

It has been said that a French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, who

visited the United States in the 1830’s, “understood us” in a way that few

observers (foreign and domestic) have. Furthermore, Tocqueville’s Democracy in

America is often cited by present-day critics because so many of the

observations in it seem extraordinarily suitable even more than one hundred and

fifty years later. Alexis de Tocqueville was born 1805 into a minor noble family,

in which his grandfather had been guillotined during the French Revolution. He

had come to the United States in 1831 to study the prison system, in which he

did not do, instead he wrote Democracy in America. He had stayed in the United

States through February 1832 for about nine months, so intrigued by democracy,

majority rule, and the absence of social hierarchy. Democracy in America was

first published in 1825, full of observations and interpretations, was written

as a sort of warning for European readers; “Is this what you want?” he asks.

This book was famous for two accurate predictions, one, the U.S. would someday

be a world power as would Russia, second, race would prove to be the most

intractable problem for the U.S.

One of Tocqueville’s observations about the United States is that he

thought there is no country in the civilized world that is less attention paid

philosophy than the United States. This is applicable to American life in 1997

because the whole world is practically joined to the United States. Just about

every country in the world trades with, tours in, and watches for the United

States. What I mean by watches is that they practically always know what’s going

on (except for the top-secret things) in the United States, whether it be by

television, computers, or satellites they know what the U.S. is doing. The U.S.

is basically a “free-for-all” county; the laws and schools are less strict than

other countries such as, Japan in which the students there have to go to school

six days a week with much more homework then U.S. schools.

Another observation of Alexis is that religion is associated with all

the customs of the nation and all the feelings of patriotism. Another way of

saying this that there is a religion for everyone. This is still true in 1997

because everyone has there own belief and goes to the church or believes in the

religion that they desire. The religious person believes in what he or she wants

to believe in and in most case respects what another persons religion might be.

The reason for “most” to be in there was because some people are heavily

religious and want other people to join there religion and try things such as,


Another observation by Alexis is that the majority in the United States

supply a mass amount of ready-made options for the use of individuals, who are

relieved from having to form their own. What this means is that since there are

many people in the U.S., if someone is unable to supply there own option then

there will be one for you. Let’s say here for a broad example that someone is

unclear of which religion he should join, he will choose the one that persuades

or suits him the best. Another way of putting this is that people get ideas off

of other people. Lets say that someone had part of idea and you had the other,

if one of you expressed this idea to the other then you have the full idea.

An overall view would be that Alexis de Tocqueville many have been right

about America in the past and for a fact some of the observations, the ones

stated above for example, are still true to this day and might be true in the

future. Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, some people would say, is often

cited that many of the observations in it seem extraordinarily suitable even

from one hundred and fifty to the present-day. Tocqueville’s Democracy in

America was often cited by present day critics because of his observations and

most people think this will continue to be true in the future.