de Tocqueville Day I

de Tocqueville Day I - Western Political Thought II de...

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Western Political Thought II 3/13/08 de Tocqueville Day I Introduction Post-French Revolution o Post 1789 Transition time form the monarchical, Christian world to the modern world French aristocrat in the post-Napoleonic era Europe was in a giant period of war and revolution o French Revolution was extremely violent All the deep thinkers of the day thought that monarchies were over Can monarchy be defended or is democracy inevitable? Democracy was extremely radical and becoming socialistic o Monarchist parties are trying to hold back this change Great division amongst the elite de Tocqueville espouses both left and right beliefs o Left: communities o Right: advocate of the importance of religion o Worries about a paternalistic state developing in democracies o Transcends political categories Aristocrat who thinks that democracy is here to stay o Goal is to understand it o Takes trip to America During Jacksonian activism During Second Great Awakening Said America was in the front of where western civilization was going o Wanted to understand where the west was headed Trying to analyze democracy at its highest points He does see the slave south and suspects secession o Says that the south is not a democracy Bases his writings on the northeast and Midwest Much of what he’s writing is to the French o Says that they will go back on the road to democracy First attempt failed Democracy: does not mean political control of the government, but a social state about how we live inside society o Lack of legal privileges in society You cannot legally guarantee that you will get a job, or class differences Frightened about the common outlook between the poorest and richest American o As an individual, you MUST rely on your own efforts that you will survive Class does not matter There are NO GUARANTEES
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This lack of guarantees animates all the laws, institutions, culture and intellectual character System of equality Will identify the advantages and disadvantages of democracy, and acting as a friend of it o
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