De Tocqueville's Views on America Reaction Paper

Pages: 3 (848 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Government

De Tocqueville's Views On America

In the early nineteenth century, when the United States was still a very young democracy and growing into its own ideals, a French citizen named Alexis de Tocqueville took an extended tour of the country and noted the differences and similarities between American and European society. His book Democracy in America remains a very interesting read and a highly important political and historical document, as it records the yearnings and idealism of the United States' citizens at the time in what is at once an objective yet an incredibly human manner. To read this book in the modern day is to have a glimpse back into the development of this country not simply in terms of land expansions, building projects, and other traditional modes of understanding historical progression, but also to see the progress of ideas and concepts such as individualism and self-direction.

One of the topics that de Tocqueville is especially struck by in his travels throughout America is the spirit of volunteerism that he witnesses. Without any real incentive other than the building of communities and bonds of national brotherhood, de Tocqueville notes an incredible willingness on the part of American individuals to lend a hand to their neighbors in all manner of efforts when extra hands are needed. His commentary is definitely meant to persuade Europe towards developing more democratic societies, and it is difficult to fully believe de Tocqueville's vision of a utopian America where all jobs are accomplished through cheerful common effort. Still, despite the author's over-selling of this point, there is a great deal to respect about early American togetherness.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Reaction Paper on De Tocqueville's Views on America in the Assignment

As pleased as he is with American volunteerism, de Tocqueville is less impressed by the situation of political parties that he observes in the United States. While claiming that the country has indeed seen "great parties" -- those that maintain their values and principles rigidly in support of ideals rather than individual men -- de Tocqueville believes that these parties disappeared before his arrival on the continent. In one of his sharper criticisms, he claims that though this might have led to a greater superficial happiness for the country and its citizens, it also left American morally bankrupt. It appears as though de Tocqueville is using the issue of political party division in the country at the time of his visit to highlight the need for a unification of vision and purpose in a democratic nation; while there is some objective truth to this, it is also possible (and indeed, highly probable) that… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "De Tocqueville's Views on America" Reaction Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

De Tocqueville's Views on America.  (2010, September 29).  Retrieved March 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"De Tocqueville's Views on America."  29 September 2010.  Web.  1 March 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"De Tocqueville's Views on America."  September 29, 2010.  Accessed March 1, 2021.