de Tocqueville Day II

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

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Western Political Thought II 3/25/08 de Tocqueville Day II Page 395 – 396 Advantages to his styles of writing: o He wants to be understood and influence the educated public Writes conversationally and links to observations Disadvantages: o His writing is loaded with political philosophy Associated with the French Revolution, so he doesn’t go into these philosophic concepts From time to time, he clearly directs this book to legislators of the future o He thinks democracy is the wave of the future (cough) the wave of the future o Democracy will turn into despotism or some kind of freedom Writing in a way that is amenable to lots of people o This can lull you into laziness and miss the philosophical thought Intellectual Character of Democracies Democracy is an equality in the social state (society) o Free movement in society o Does NOT mean political liberty o Says that this equality could undermine political liberty Because people are thrown on their own, and you can’t rely on legal or class privilege, democratic people are Cartesian on day-to-day issues o Skeptical, focus on the tangible etc. Descartes There are political, moral and philosophical quarrels in society and the public tends to accept very general ideas o They are so focused on the every day that they don’t have the time to come up with more complex ideas o Since the mass feels a certain way, it must be right, because the mass is made up of everyone that is just like us o Leads to a division between narrow, tangible, energetic thought about your everyday life and the bigger picture Smith and Rousseau Page 512 Hobbes: upon attaining an object of enjoyment, the tangible character of that object wears itself out, and one moves on to another object de Tocqueville says that the democratic individual is the Hobbesian individual o Pursuit of objects o Pursues them in a Cartesian way American Exceptions to Other Nations More religious Greater commercial opportunities
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People on the frontier European background and context that they are operating in Lack of major international tensions o Don’t face great powers on their borders
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2008 for the course PS 46 taught by Professor Devigne during the Spring '08 term at Tufts.

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

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