French political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville’s views concerning American democracy were examined in order to discern key aspects of democratic thought and practice in America. Tocqueville found certain fundamental premises such as individual freedom and “equality of conditions” at the base of democracy in America. From these basic premises come several paradoxical results, namely the masterless society, economic materialism and “tyranny of the majority.” These paradoxes are controlled by safeguards of associations, the press and the judiciary within the system. It was found that Tocqueville’s detachment and foresight give his thought greater meaning than that of many contemporary social and political thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Revel and others. This high degree of foresight and detachment make it possible for students to discover and rediscover basic facets of American society today.
American Politics | American Studies | Arts and Humanities | History | Political History | Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences | United States History
Tyrie, James Jr., "The Masterless Society: Observations on American Democracy by Alexis de Tocqueville" (1977). Government theses. Paper 1.