Share The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over years ago. Since then, a central goal of U.
Checks and Balances Themes and Colors LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Democracy in America, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. During and after his voyage to the United States, Alexis de Tocqueville paid close attention to what he saw as a worldwide trend of democratization—a trend that he considered positive in some ways, distressing in others, but in either case inevitable.
Tocqueville thus studied the American example to help understand what France should seek to replicate and what to avoid in its own democratization process. Although Tocqueville identifies positive aspects of equality of condition, Democracy in America raises the possibility that equality might not strengthen liberty, but rather lead to a new type of tyranny of the majority over the minority.
Tocqueville does identify some positive aspects of striving for equality. He shows that sovereignty of the people—a characteristic of a society in which every person has equal share in power through the right to vote—can generate patriotism.
Furthermore, he argues that valuing equality keeps peace and prevents revolution, since the possibility of social mobility which necessarily accompanies the democratic ideal of equality encourages people to strive for gradual improvement of their individual lives instead of fighting to overthrow the government.
Tocqueville, a French aristocrat, sees this as positive, as he is eager to see an end to the revolutionary spirit of working class Frenchmen. With remarkable prescience writing thirty years before the American Civil WarTocqueville also notes that the one inequality that is most embedded in American society—that between white citizens and black slaves—is the most obvious potential source of violence.
The implication here is that American democracy would be more stable if it were more equal in all respects.
However, to Tocqueville, equality does not necessarily make democracy fairer or freer. When rigid class hierarchies are erased and there is no intellectual or social distinction between people, there is no obvious answer to the question of whom one should listen to or agree with, Tocqueville argues.
Instead, all opinions and ideas have equal weight, and as a result, the opinions that prevail are those held by the most people rather than those held by the wealthiest, most powerful, or most intelligent—and Tocqueville tends to equate these categories with each other.
Tocqueville fears that this will cause people to stop thinking for themselves, preventing true moral and intellectual greatness from arising.
Therefore, anyone in the minority may find his or her voice drowned out and will have nowhere to turn when they are wronged. Even worse, the opinions and laws of the majority will become so pervasive as to seem like common sense, preventing people from thinking for themselves.
How often theme appears:Analysis of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville’s visit to the United States in prompted his work Democracy in America. This was supposed to be a chance for him to take a look at the American prison system.
Since the establishment of America equality was always an issue, but always an issue of avoidance. In the article Deconstructing America, Buchanan states, “As for the Africans, they arrived in in slave ship, and were not freed for years. The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in the establishment of the United States over years ago.
Since then, a central goal of U.S. foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Democracy in America study guide contains a biography of Alexis de Tocqueville, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
Chapter 9: Education of Girls in the United States. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Democracy in America. In the United States, democracy opens up new beliefs on equality among the role of gender.
In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville argues on how Americans were able to see the roles of gender more equally important than the Europeans.
Ever since the United States was established, equality has always been the meaning of America; a symbol of hope, freedom, and the chance to have a fair life as well as many of the opportunities most Americans expect.