Alexis De Tocqueville

Alexis De Tocqueville - A lexis De Tocquevilles Democracy...

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Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America delves deep into how the American States and the federal government would grow politically and socially under the umbrella of democracy. He sees the United States as a unique entity because of how and why it started as well as its geographical location. De Tocqueville explains that the foundations of the democratic process in America are completely different from anywhere else on the globe. The land was virginal and the colonies had almost complete sovereignty from England from the very beginning because they were separated by an ocean and financial troubles. The people who came to America were the oppressed and unhappy in England and all were trying to find a place where they could start anew and create a political structure that would facilitate an individual freedom unlike anything that they had previously experienced in Europe. De Tocqueville believed that the nature of democracy in the New World rested within the fact that all of the emigrants were from the same social strata, resulting in the first new country where there was no preliminary basis for an aristocracy. "Land is the basis of an aristocracy…and… [in America] when the ground was prepared, its produce was found to be insufficient to enrich a proprietor and a farmer at the same time (41)." He saw that even the soil of America was opposed to the structure of an aristocracy. There were also outside influences lending unvoiced support for the creation of this new democracy. Being an ocean apart from its mother country, who at this time did not have the financial reserves to oversee its colonies, let the Americans govern themselves? If they had not had this sovereignty at the beginning America might have become something completely different than it is today, but that was not the case, so these emigrants now had a fertile place to plant their ideas of a country founded upon the many ideas of the Enlightenment. Another large influence was the lack of neighbors. America had no worries of guarding and protecting its borders because there was not anyone there who could pose a threat. They could put all of their energies toward the creation of their democracy. This democratic nation was to have no aristocracy and only one major division between its people: the North and the South. De Tocqueville saw two very different attitudes in these regions. The North and the South had conflicting views as to how they were going to advance themselves in the economic and political arenas. However, the introduction of slavery into labor was the major conflict between the two. "Slavery…dishonors
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labor; it introduces idleness into a society, and with idleness, ignorance and pride, luxury and distress…The influence of slavery, united to the English character, explains the manners and the social condition of the Southern States (42)." With the advent of slavery, the South was creating a class system amongst them that would not exist in the other regions of the States.
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Alexis De Tocqueville - A lexis De Tocquevilles Democracy...

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