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This is a free textbook that is offered by Amazon for reading on a Kindle. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the free Kindle app for smartphones and tablets. Download the app for your device and start reading for free.‘This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a...
This is a free textbook that is offered by Amazon for reading on a Kindle. Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the free Kindle app for smartphones and tablets. Download the app for your device and start reading for free.
‘This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers.’
'The project Tocqueville undertook in writing Democracy in America was a highly ambitious one. Having seen the failed attempts at democratic government in his native France, he wanted to study a stable and prosperous democracy to gain insights into how it worked. His studies had led him to conclude that the movement toward democracy and equality of conditionswhile it had progressed the farthest in Americawas a universal phenomenon and a permanent historical tendency that could not be stopped. Since this democratic trend was inevitable, Tocqueville wanted to analyze it in order to determine its strengths and dangers so that governments could be formed to reinforce democracy's strengths while counteracting its weaknesses. Therefore, while Democracy in America may at times seem to be a rather disorganized collection of observations and thoughts on American democracy, it is possible to gain a coherent sense of the work as a whole by looking at all of Tocqueville's various and sundry remarks through the lens of one paramount theme: the preservation of liberty in the midst of a growing equality of conditions. Volume One, the more optimistic half of the book, focuses mostly on the structure of government and the institutions that help to maintain freedom in American society. Volume Two focuses much more on individuals and the effects of the democratic mentality on the thoughts and mores prevalent in society. Taking the work as a whole, one finds that main problems of a democracy are the following: a disproportionately high portion of power in the legislative branch, an abuse of or lack of love for freedom, an excessive drive for equality, individualism, and materialism. The elements that Tocqueville believes can most successfully combat these dangerous democratic tendencies are: an independent and influential judiciary, a strong executive branch, local self-government, administrative de-centralization, religion, well-educated women, freedom of association, and freedom of the press.'