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Foreword b * - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition, vol. 3 
Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition of De la démocratie en Amérique, ed. Eduardo Nolla, translated from the French by James T. Schleifer. A Bilingual French-English editions, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010). Vol. 3.
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This bilingual edition of Tocqueville’s work contains a new English translation of the French critical edition published in 1990. The copyright to the French version is held by J. Vrin and it is not available online. The copyright to the English translation, the translator’s note, and index is held by Liberty Fund.
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The Americans have a democratic social state that has naturally suggested to them certain laws and certain political mores.c
This same social state has, moreover, given birth among them to a multitude of sentiments and opinions that were unknown in the old aristocratic societies of Europe. It has destroyed or modified relationships that formerly existed and established new ones. The appearance of civil society has been no less changed than the physiognomy of the political world.
I dealt with the first subject in the work that I published five years ago on American democracy. The second is the subject of the present book. These two parts complement one another and form only a single work.d
I must immediately warn the reader against an error that would be very prejudicial to me.
Seeing me attribute so many diverse effects to equality, he could conclude that I consider equality as the unique cause of all that happens today.e This would assume a very narrow view on my part.
There is, in our time, a host of opinions, sentiments, instincts that owe their birth to facts foreign or even contrary to equality. Thus, if I took the United States as an example, I would easily prove that the nature of the country, the origin of the inhabitants, the religion of the first founders, their acquired enlightenment, their previous habits, exercised and still exercise, independently of democracy, an immense influence on their way of thinking and feeling. Different causes, also distinct from the fact of equality, would be found in Europe and would explain a great part of what is happening there.
I recognize the existence of all these different causes and their power, but talking about them is not my subject. I have not undertaken to show the reason for all our inclinations and all our ideas; I have only wanted to show to what extent equality had modified both.f
You will perhaps be surprised that, since I am firmly of the opinion that the democratic revolution we are witnessing is an irresistible fact against which it would be neither desirable nor wise to struggle, I have often ended up addressing such harsh words in this book to the democratic societies created by this revolution.
I will simply reply that it is because I was not an adversary of democracy that I have wanted to be candid about it.g
Men do not receive the truth from their enemies, and their friends hardly ever offer the truth to them; that is why I have spoken it.
I have thought that many would take it upon themselves to announce the new good things that equality promises to men, but that few would dare to point out from a distance the perils with which it threatens them. So it is principally toward these perils that I have directed my attention, and, believing that I have clearly discerned them, I have not had the cowardice to say nothing about them.h
I hope that you will find again in this second work the impartialityj that seemed to be noted in the first. Placed in the middle of the contradictory opinions that divide us, I have tried to eradicate temporarily in my heart the favorable sympathies or contrary instincts that each one of them inspires in me. [I have wanted to live alone in order to keep my mind free.] If those who read my book find a single sentence that aims to flatter one of the great parties that have agitated our country, or one of the small factions that bother and enervate it today, may those readers raise their voices and accuse me.
The subject that I have wanted to embrace is immense; for it includes most of the sentiments and ideas that the new state of the world brings forth. Such a subject assuredly exceeds my powers;k while treating it, I have not succeeded in satisfying myself.
But, if I have not been able to achieve the goal that I set, readers will at least do me the justice of granting that I have conceived and followed my enterprise in the spirit that could make me worthy to succeed in it.m
[b. ] Several notes and fragments indicate that Tocqueville had considered writing along preface that contained a good number of ideas present in the fourth and last part of the book (it constituted a single chapter in the first drafts). Did the sheer size of the last chapter lead him to sacrifice the preface? This preface was reduced to a foreword, and certain ideas of the introduction (including the admission of his error concerning the weakening of the federal bond) did not finally find their place in the first pages of this volume.
Some notes of rough drafts that present a version of the foreword very similar to the final version bear the date 5 February 1838. In the following months, however, Tocqueville did not stop coming back to the idea of writing a long introduction to the second volume and hesitated about whether to place certain fragments at the beginning or at the end of the book.
“One of the principal ideas of the preface must be, it seems to me, to show in brief all the dissimilarities that exist between the American democracy and ours. Democracy pushing men further in certain directions in America than it does among us (sciences, arts), in certain others pushing them not as far (religion, good morals)” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 48).
Note relative to the preface of my great work.
It must be shown how recent events justify most of the things that I said.
The necessity of having troops in the cities.
Admit my error. The weakening of the federal bond (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 39).
[* ] In civil society as in political society, these two points of departure explain nearly everything. And I must come back to that in a general way, either at the beginning or at the end of the third volume (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 39–41).
[c. ] First paragraphs of the book in a rough draft:
The work which appears at this moment (illegible word) the public is not an entirely new work. It is the second and last part of a book that I published five years ago on democracy in the United States.
When there are no more castes, distinct features, particular and exclusive rights, permanent riches, entailed estates, citizens differ little from each other by their conditions, and they constantly change conditions; they naturally adopt certain laws, and contract certain habits of government that are appropriate to them.
This same equality and these same causes influence not only their political ideas and habits, but also all their habits and all their ideas. The men who live in this democratic social state conceive new opinions; they adopt new mores; they establish relationships among themselves that did not exist or modify those that already existed.
The appearance of civil society is not less changed than the physiognomy of the political world.
[To the side, with a bracket that includes the two previous paragraphs: Louis would say that only about the Americans.]
≠The object of the book that I published five years ago was to show the first effects of equality; this one wants to depict the second. The two parts united form a single whole. ≠
It is this second portion of the subject that I wanted to treat in the present book.
I am assuredly very far from claiming to have seen everything on so vast a ground. I am even certain that I have discovered only a small part of what it includes.
The Revolution that reduced to dust the aristocratic society in which our fathers lived is the great event of the time. It has changed everything, modified everything, altered everything. [v: hit everything].
[In the margin, with a bracket that includes the two previous paragraphs] Todelete, I think (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 35–36).
[d. ] “The first book more American than democratic. This one more democratic than American” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 53).
[e. ] In Preface, I believe.
Explain somewhere what I understand by centuries of equality [v: democratic centuries]. It is not that chimerical time when all men will be perfectly similar and equal, but those:
In another place, he explains:
Two close but distinct propositions:
“Idea of the preface or of the last chapter./
“That democracy is not the cause of everything, but that it mixes with everything, and has a part in all the causes” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 42).
[f. ] Principal object. Somewhere.
I want to make everyone understand that a democratic social state is an invincible necessity in our time.
Dividing then my readers into enemies and friends of democracy, I want to make the first understand that for a democratic social state to be tolerable, for it to be able to produce order, progress, in a word, to avoid all the evils that they anticipate, at least the greatest ones, they must at all costs hasten to give enlightenment and liberty to the people who already have such a social state.
To the second, I want to make them understand that democracy cannot give the happy fruits that they expect from it except by combining it with morality, spiritualism, beliefs . . .
I thus try to unite all honest and generous minds within a small number of common ideas.
As for the question of knowing if such a social state is or is not the best that humanity can have, may God himself say so. Only God can say (YTC, CVk, 2, pp. 55–56).
[g. ] “I am profoundly persuaded that you can succeed in making democratic peoples into prosperous, free, powerful, moral and happy nations. So I do not despair of the future, but I think that peoples, like men, in order to make the most of their destiny, need to know themselves, and that to master events, it is above all necessary to master yourself ” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 33).
“Idea of bringing democracy to moderate itself.
Idea of the book” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 39).
[h. ] In a first version of this paragraph, Tocqueville added: “<Far from wanting to stop the development of the new society, I am trying to produce it>” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 44).
[j. ] “This in the preface. “I am often obliged to repeat myself because I want to divide what is indivisible, the soul. The same soul constantly produces an idea and a sentiment. Place there the already completed piece in which I compare the soul to a milieu whose ideas and sentiments are like beams . . .” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 30).
[k. ] “Not only do I not claim to have seen everything in my subject, but I am certain I have seen only a very small part. The democratic revolution is the great event of our days, it spreads to everything, it modifies or changes everything. There is nothing that cannot or perhaps should not be dealt with while speaking about it. I have said all that I have seen clearly, leaving to those more skillful or to men enlightened by a longer experience to portray the rest” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 47).
[m. ] Ideas of the preface or of the last chapter:
In order to make myself well understood I have constantly been obliged to depict extreme states, an aristocracy without a mixture of democracy, a democracy without a mixture of aristocracy, a perfect equality which is an imaginary state. Then I come to attribute to one or the other of the two principles more complete effects than those that they generally produce because, in general, they are not alone. In my words, the reader must distinguish what my true opinion is, from what is said in order to make it well understood (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 51).
To say in the preface, if not in the book.
Idea of races.
I do not believe that there are races destined for liberty and others for servitude, some for happiness and enlightenment, others for misfortunes and ignorance. These are cowardly doctrines.
Doctrines, however. Why? That is due to the natural vice of the human mind in democratic times [and of the heart that makes these peoples tend toward materialism. This idea of the invisible influence of race is an essentially materialistic idea], apart from the weakening of beliefs.
That the generative idea of this book is directly the opposite, since I begin invincibly at this point that whatever the tendencies of the social state, men can always modify them and ward off the bad tendencies while appropriating the good (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 37).