It has been said that a French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in the 1830’s, “understood us” in a way that few observers (foreign and domestic) have.
Furthermore, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is often cited by present-day critics because so many of the observations in it seem extraordinarily suitable even more than one hundred and fifty years later.
Alexis de Tocqueville was born 1805 into a minor noble family, in which his grandfather had been guillotined during the French Revolution. He had come to the United States in 1831 to study the prison system, which he did not do, instead, he wrote Democracy in America.
He had stayed in the United States through February 1832 for about nine months, so intrigued by democracy, majority rule, and the absence of social hierarchy.
Democracy in America was first published in 1825, full of observations and interpretations, was written as a sort of warning for European readers; “Is this what you want?” he asks. This book was famous for two accurate predictions, one, the U.S. would someday be a world power as would Russia, second, the race would prove to be the most intractable problem for the U.S.
One of Tocqueville’s observations about the United States is that he thought there is no country in the civilized world that is less attention-paid philosophy than the United States. This is applicable to American life in 1997 because the whole world is practically joined to the United States. Just about every country in the world trades with, tours in, and watches for the United States.
What I mean by watches is that they practically always know what’s going on (except for the top-secret things) in the United States, whether it be by television, computers, or satellites they know what the U.S. is doing. The U.S. is basically a “free-for-all” county; the laws and schools are less strict than other countries such as, Japan in which the students there have to go to school six days a week with much more homework than U.S. schools.
Another observation of Alexis is that religion is associated with all the customs of the nation and all the feelings of patriotism. Another way of saying this that there is a religion for everyone. This is still true in 1997 because everyone has their own belief and goes to the church or believes in the religion that they desire.
The religious person believes in what he or she wants to believe in and in most cases respects what another person’s religion might be. The reason for “most” to be in there was because some people are heavily religious and want other people to join their religion and try things such as persuasion.
Another observation by Alexis is that the majority in the United States supply a mass amount of ready-made options for the use of individuals, who are relieved from having to form their own. What this means is that since there are many people in the U.S., if someone is unable to supply their own option then there will be one for you.
Let’s say here for a broad example that someone is unclear of which religion he should join, he will choose the one that persuades or suits him the best. Another way of putting this is that people get ideas off of other people. Let’s say that someone had part of an idea and you had the other, if one of you expressed this idea to the other then you have the full idea.
An overall view would be that Alexis de Tocqueville may have been right about America in the past and for a fact, some of the observations, the ones stated above, for example, are still true to this day and might be true in the future. 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.
Tocqueville’s Democracy in America was often cited by present-day critics because of his observations and most people think this will continue to be true in the future.
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