Summary of Chapter I: In the north, great rivers intertwine, and there are great lakes. In the southern half, there are two parallel mountain chains, the Allegheny and the Rockies. In between them is the great Mississippi River valley, with its plains and fertile land.
He was born shortly after the French Revolution had turned France into the empire; in his lifetime occurred those further changes that transformed France, at least nominally, into a republic.
His object in writing Democracy in America was twofold: Instead of proceeding from ideas of right and responsibility, Tocqueville preferred to begin by analyzing social institutions as they functioned in reality. Instead of working, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau had worked, from an arbitrary picture of the beginnings of humanity in a natural condition, Tocqueville preferred to work from what was statistically observable.
Thus, Democracy in America begins with a picture of the geography of the new continent, its weather, its indigenous tribes, its economy, and its natural resources. In this respect, Democracy in America is the forerunner of the scientific spirit in the investigation of social structures.
Much of Democracy in America is concerned with institutions, and the first institution described by Tocqueville is that of the partition of property.
He points out that it is customary in the nations of Europe to divide property by the laws of primogeniture. The result is that property remains fixed in extent and in possession; the family, no matter how changed in each generation, is linked to the wealth and political power of landed property.
The family represents the estate, the estate the family, and naturally a strong inequality is carried from one generation to another. The foundations of American culture are to be found, Tocqueville points out, in the equal partition of land and fortune.
Land is continually broken up into parcels, sold, developed, and transformed. The accompanying wealth and power are much more fluid than in societies in which descent really dominates fortune. The subsidiary effect of equal partition is that people have access to careers from which they might be blocked in another system.
Tocqueville was fascinated by the practice of equality, a phenomenon rarely encountered in France during his lifetime. Several chapters concern political equality; he is one of the first great commentators on the democracy of U.
He emphasizes that it is fundamental to understand the nature of the township, particularly in its New England tradition. The key to the nature of the United States, he asserts, is the wide and responsible nature of freedom at the level of municipal government.
This gives the citizen a direct voice in the government and trains the citizen for the representative democracy of the federal government. Tocqueville points out that, under this form of government, power is concentrated in the hands of the voter; the legislative and executive branches have no power of their own, but merely represent those who appoint them.
To us, this fact is commonplace, but it was a new idea for the citizens of Europe in the nineteenth century. Although much of this work is in praise of democracy in the United States, Tocqueville makes some important qualifications.
His first principle is that abuse in government occurs when one special interest is served to the exclusion of all others. The entire section is 1, words.Democracy in America: Theme Analysis.
20; 40; 60; 80; ; Montesquieu, Rousseau), but for them, it was still theory. For Tocqueville, democracy was a modern revolution here to stay. America Is the Most Important Example of Democratic Government and Social Equality in the World tranceformingnlp.com is the premier free source for literary.
Democracy in America study guide contains a biography of Alexis de Tocqueville, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. 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.
His work deals with the passing away of the old system of monarchy and the rise of democracy in Europe. Caught in the seesaw swings of French politics from monarchy to violent socialist rebellions, he fought for the middle ground, the gradual and orderly introduction of democracy as he had found it .
Democracy in America study guide contains a biography of Alexis de Tocqueville, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
About Democracy in America. In this article I argue that Tocqueville's view of democracy in Democracy in America (/) is in large measure given content and structure by the metaphor theme "DEMOCRACY IS A (PASSIONATE.