Individualism Essay, Research Paper
Individualism :is a novel expression, to which a novel idea has given birth. In individualism a person is able to separate himself from everyone else. He becomes selfish and thinks of himself.
In aristocracy, people lead their lives “imposing duties on himself towards the former and latter.” Tocqueville is basically saying in his piece on Individualism from Democracy in America, that mankind in aristocracy would feel a duty towards his ancestors and towards his family and friends around him. He would lead his life giving up things for himself and for the people that came before him and come after him. Man is giving himself up to please his ancestors. An example is if your father was a blacksmith and your grandfather was a blacksmith, the son feels as though he has an obligation to become a blacksmith because his father wishes it and because his family history consists of blacksmiths. He would also try to make his own son in the future become a blacksmith so that the family line of blacksmiths would go on.
In democracy and in individualism, Tocqueville says that man cares about himself. Mankind becomes more selfish. To move up in line, mankind chooses himself over his friends and family. Mankind in individualism “forgets those who came before, and of those who come after, no one has any idea.” Man interests are only with those close to him. In a democracy, class identities are more mixed; they aren’t as prevelant as they were in aristocracy, where there was a “class chain from the peasant to the king.” Man achieves what he wishes to achieve, not what his parents or forefathers achieved. Because mankind can move up or down in society, there is a more mixed class chain. A child from a middle class family is not bound to be a middle class person after he has achieved the education he wants. If he chooses not to achieve an education, he is not required to. If he wishes to go up in class, he can. He is not bound to one area because of the individualistic nature of democracy. In a democracy, public and private interests must meet for them to work; if they don’t meet, then it won’t work because of the individualistic nature of man. The government’s interests must benefit both him and the good of all to be successful.