Democracy in America

Topics: Democracy in America, Government, Alexis de Tocqueville Pages: 3 (840 words) Published: September 18, 2014

Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in the early part of the 19th century. His visit prompted his writing the book Democracy in America. In his book he expressed the ability to make democracy work. He traveled around the country and noted the biggest issues that America faced were: “a disproportionately high portion of power in the legislative branch, an abuse of or lack of love for freedom, an excessive drive for equality, individualism, and materialism”. He also recognized that the best way to offset those areas that were a threat to American Democracy are: “an independent and influential judiciary, a strong executive branch, local self-government, administration de-centralization, religion, well educated women, freedom of association, and freedom of the press. Tocqueville that in the area of the legislator there is an overwhelming power that could lead to an oppressive governmental system, and without proper checks and balances this is an area where abuse of governmental power can be easily had. From the president, to the Senate and the Representatives he listed different aspects of their positions that could lead to the demise of American democracy. Another area that Tocqueville also believed was pivotal, but is a more abstract hazard that faced democracies is the love of equality. He also believed that personal gain and private interest were the actions that motivated most Americans, which was the force behind individualism. Tocqueville believed that this individualism would soon “sap the virtue of public life” (395) and would create despotism of selfishness. The growth of despotism would then create citizens that are too individualistic, and would decide against fulfilling ones civic duties or exercising their to freedom. Tocqueville was concerned that the political order of the United States would become geared at the personal satisfaction of the citizens’ personal needs, instead of the greater good for all of society. Tocqueville...
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