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SOAN 2112 Reading Zeitlan: de Tocqueville

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University of Guelph
Sociology and Anthropology
SOAN 2112
Linda Hunter

Alexis de Tocqueville 18051859 y Convinced of the inevitable advance of democracy but thought it would lead to the destruction of aristocratic values and instutionsThe American revolution was the sign that democracy could work without despotic tendencyArrived in New York in 1831when the antithesis aristocracydemocracy was a public issuerule by the rich property owners aristocrats vs rule by the peopleWhat he desired in France he saw in US Order government based on separation and balance of powers true freedom America had her democratic revolution but avoided Frances fate anarchy despotism Wanted to use American guidelines for FranceThought of America as a classless society with greater equality becoming the ruleAmerica was unique Never had an old regime no large metropolitan areas Extremes in wealth were rare Democracy brings certain losses to a minority but large gains for the majorityPraised America for local autonomy and decentralized governmentcriticized Frances highly centralized state bureaucracy Made a big difference for political life when the community was rent into mutually hostile classes in FranceDemocratic movementrevolution was gaining momentum in Europe but said they need knowledgable guidance pg 89with democracy ignorance is less common more guidance decreased hostility between classes English brought to America the townshipfree farmers with their private plot demanded selfinterste and efforts of the owners themselvesPeople accomplish their tasks by and for themselves the autonomous local and provincial institutions allow for unfettered individual initaitve and privat enterprise These institutions are essential for the preservation of liberty and prevention of despotism Humanistic outlook Rejection of racism Races appeared dsistinct not because of how they looked but because of their culture and educationthe aboriginals and black people had been forced into inferior positions suffered turanny dehumanization Deprived privileges of humanity without acquiring any claim to European privilegesIf a revolution ever happens in America it will be brought about by the presence of the slavesThe institution of slavery had retarded econ
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