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Democracy in America notes- Tocqueville.pdf

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McGill University
Political Science
POLI 211
Fillippo Sabetti

Chapter 5 Democracy in America TocquevilleNecessity of examining the condition of the states before that of the union at largeComplexity of examination of the form of government in America complex constitution consisting of 2 distinct social structures 2 separate and independent governments One fullling ordinary duties and responding to the daily orders of the community and the other with certain limits only exercising exceptional authority over the general interests of the country24 sovereign states inside the union all presenting the same features in regards to their external institutions3 focuses of action the township the lowest in order the county the StateExamination of those 3 to understand the organization at largeThe American system of townships and municipal bodiesWhy the examination of townships Existence in all nations difculty of establishing and preserving municipal independence its importanceNatural association almost creates itself when people are collected townshipsvillages First association of mankindLiberties and independence of townships decrease with the enlightement of men A highly civilized community has a government that suppresses the local institutions unless these municipal bodies are supported by public opinion and are identied with the customs of the nation Until then they are easily destroyedA nation without the spirit of free local municipal institutions even if they have a system of free government cant have the spirit of libertyLimits of the townshipsSmall population so the interests of their inhabitants are not likely to conict and men are capable of conducting its affairsAuthorities of thetownship in New EnglandThe people are the Sovereign source of power no corporation power in the hands of selected men only state of gov where the citizens have that kind of immediate inuenceSelectmen organs of the popular mandateAdministrative power in the hands of They put in principles which have previously been recognized by the majorityObligations for instance draw up the list of electors in their townshipThe right to organize town meetingsSelectmen elected every year aprilmay
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