• 7 Lessons


    Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America in order to examine the effects of the “democratic revolution” that had swept “the entire Christian universe,” the end of aristocratic hierarchy and the birth of democratic equality. Tocqueville regarded this revolution as a fait accompli. But he observed that this new age could take better or worse forms, and he argued that human agency could make some difference in how democracy manifested itself in a given society. Democracy in America examines the most thoroughly democratic society of Tocqueville’s time, the United States of the 1830s, as an example of the distinct benefits offered and challenges posed by the new democratic era. We approach Tocqueville’s magnum opus in order better to understand ourselves, for good and for ill, as democrats and as Americans, and to see what we might learn from him about how to cultivate freedom and pursue excellence in an age of equality.