deTocquivilleessay - 1 American Political System Dr Kolodny...

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1 American Political System Dr. Kolodny France and deTocqueville Although Ms. Lagarde might use Alexis deTocqueville to substantiate her mandate to France to “Think less and work harder”, the author of Democracy In America would not agree with her reasoning. Ms. Lagarde, The Finance Minister of France, has disregarded France’s cultural heritage of community reliance and loose work ethics. She has looked over the fact that the driving force of America’s work ethic is its strong sense of individualism and self-reliance. She also does not understand the implications of promoting individualism in an already strongly established French society, in which the rich are highly taxed and the poor are under-worked. Ultimately, for reasons generally out of the administration’s control, France is unable to become more American. In Lagarde’s haste to promote the work ethic among French citizens, she has neglected to apply deTocqueville’s principles correctly. The working class is the backbone of society, responsible for the growth of the economy. DeTocqueville had a very high opinion of the working class, those engaged in commerce. “In democracies, nothing is more great or more brilliant than commerce: it attracts the attention of the public, and fills the imagination of the multitude; all energetic passions are directed towards it. Neither their own prejudices nor those of anybody else can prevent the rich from devoting themselves to it… All the large fortunes which are founding a democratic community are of commercial growth” (Pg 214). According to deTocqueville, American
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2 wealth roots from heavy economic activity and hard work. In France, the 35-hour workweek lends itself to mass laziness, a society not dependent on commerce for wealth building, and ultimately, a society without a great sense of economic ambition.
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