When Tocqueville came to the United States, he noticed how the family structure
and the role of women were dramatically different from that of aristocratic nations.
According to Tocqueville, in America, the family, defined by aristocratic standards and
principles, is virtually non-existent.
The only indication of this is during the first years
after the birth of the child.
However, Tocqueville believed that democracy, by ensuring
freedom, loosened social bonds among citizens, while at the same time tightening the
natural bonds between child and parent.
In aristocratic nations, the father holds a “domestic dictatorship” over his children,
some long after they have reached adulthood.
However, living in a free democratic
society, the nation’s sons become “masters” of their thoughts and demeanor.
looses the power that he had once exercised while his sons were young and dependent
The boy, once leaving childhood, immediately enters into manhood; there is
no room for adolescence.
Nonetheless, Tocqueville saw that as society became more
democratic, the relationship between father and son becomes more tender and
As time has gone by and society and its values and mores change, so, too,
does the relationship between parent and child also continue to change.
As the overall
population continued to become vastly middle-class, children found themselves
confronted with less responsibilities; in other words, they entered into a stage of
According to some, this permits the youth to become less mature and more
undisciplined and ungrateful.
Tocqueville appropriately suggests that women have an important role in society,
Furthermore, he ascribes “the singular prosperity and growing force”
of the American people is due to the “superiority” of the American woman.
He states, “It