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Critical Paper-Tocqueville

Critical Paper-Tocqueville - Muckley 1 Critical Response...

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Muckley 1 Critical Response Paper Tocqueville, Alexis de. 2000. Democracy in America. The University of Chicago Press Griffin Muckley February 2, 2011 It truly takes an outsider’s perspective to see a culture for what it really is. Alexis de Tocqueville spent years travelling America in the early 1800s attempting to study the experiment of American Democracy and writing down his experiences, which he recorded in his work Democracy in America. Not only does Tocqueville break down American democracy into its essential parts, but also he ultimately concludes that this form of government is effective in America, despite many necessary evils, due to the Union’s specific conditions, laws, and ultimately the American people’s distinct characteristics. Tocqueville begins by explaining the setting that made democracy possible, then moves into a description of the essential parts of American democracy before finally outlining how this democracy affects the lives of the American people. Tocqueville first asserts that democracy was initially feasible in America because “Men show themselves to be more equal in their fortunes and their intelligence…than in any country in the world” (52). This equality is primarily a result of the absence of an aristocracy in American society. However, equality was also perpetuated by estate laws that erased the practice of primogeniture. Finally, equal education throughout the United States created a more equal society. In addition to equality, the spread of sovereignty to the point of what he considers “universal suffrage” was also essential in shaping American democracy (55).
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Muckley 2 Part Two of the first volume focuses primarily on the essential pieces that make up democracy, including the parties, free press, freedom of association, the specific government employed by Americans, religion, and the body of the majority. Political association and the formation of parties are essential to the political workings in America. Also, this freedom to associate “has become a necessary guarantee against the tyranny of the majority” (183). Tocqueville also writes on the necessity of a free press that is not censored by the government; free press is necessary for the people to make informed decisions, as well has to help form and sustain political associations. The relatively
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