Democracy in America is a publication that documents an account of the experiences, reflection and reading of Alexis de Tocqueville in the nine-month period that he visited the region. As a young aristocratic lawyer, Alexis came to America in 1831 purposely to learn the penitentiary systems of the United States. In the book, he has documented his own political observations and analysis from the encounters he had while on tour of the region.
The first part of the book that takes almost half of it describes in length the structures of government and the institutions that assisted in the maintenance of freedom in the United States. The second part emphasizes more on the individuals and the impacts of the mentality of democracy on their thoughts.
According to Alexis, he alleges that some of the problems that democracy in America experienced include self-centeredness, high portions of power in legislative institutions, abuse of freedom, materialism and excessive push for equality. Alexis points out that in order to counter all these democratic rots, there should be an independent and influential judiciary, a powerful executive, local self-governance, decentralization of administrative powers, religion, educated women, press freedom and freedom of association.
In this masterpiece, Tocqueville gives a vivid illustration of the unprecedented social equality that he came with face to face in America. He goes ahead to even explore the implication of this state of affairs on the European Society in the emerging modern world.
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In this book, Tocqueville sees that America is faced with a series of problems regarding democracy. A number of these problems are as a result of societal attitudes while a few stem from institutions. He points out that the legislature in America is not put under close check by the people and that has made it to become so tyrannical instead of representing the will of the people.
Another problem that Alexis points out in the constitutional organization of the United States is that representatives are elected directly and stay in office for a very short time. This he argues, leads to a mediocre bunch of representatives who are constantly worried about the public opinion and not acting as required by law.
From this book, you will be able to find a comprehensive insight into the political consequences of widespread ownership of property, the potential dangers of inherent liberty in the rule of the majority, the merits of civil institutions in a culture that is dominated by the desire for material self-interest and the crucial role of religion in the American society.
The book, Democracy in America also gives an insight into the differences that lie between the enslaved and free states. This book will offer you a closer look and deep understanding of the achievements of Alexis Tocqueville not only as a political thinker but also a literary teacher that you can learn so much from. This masterpiece remains the most quoted book about the United States of America.
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