Front Page Titles (by Subject) chapter 18 a: Why, among the Americans, All Honest Professions Are Considered Honorable b - Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition, vol. 3
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chapter 18 a: Why, among the Americans, All Honest Professions Are Considered Honorable 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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Why, among the Americans, All Honest Professions Are Considered Honorableb
Among democratic peoples, where there is no hereditary wealth, each man works in order to live, or has worked, or is born from people who have worked. So the idea of work, as the necessary, natural and honest condition of humanity, presents itself on all sides to the human mind.
Not only is work not held in dishonor among these peoples, it is honored; prejudice is not against work, it is for it. In the United States, a rich man believes that he owes to public opinion the consecration of his leisure to some industrial or commercial operation or to some public duties. He would consider himself of bad reputation if he used his life only for living. It is to avoid this obligation to work that so many rich Americans come to Europe; there, they find the remnants of aristocratic societies among which idleness is still honored.
Equality not only rehabilitates the idea of work, it boosts the idea of work that gains a profit.
In aristocracies, it is not precisely work that is scorned, it is work for profit. Work is glorious when ambition or virtue alone brings it about. Under aristocracy, however, it constantly happens that the man who works for honor is not insensitive to the allure of gain. But those two desires meet only in the depths of his soul. He takes great care to hide from all eyes the place where they come together. He willingly hides it from himself. In aristocratic countries, there are hardly any public officials who do not pretend to serve the State without interest. Their salary is a detail that they sometimes think little about and that they always pretend not to think about at all.
Thus, the idea of gain remains distinct from that of work. In vain are they joined in point of fact; the past separates them.
In democratic societies, these two ideas are, on the contrary, always visibly united. Since the desire for well-being is universal, since fortunes are mediocre and temporary, since each man needs to increase his resources or to prepare new ones for his children, everyone sees very clearly that gain is, if not wholly, at least partially what leads them to work. Even those who act principally with glory in view get inevitably accustomed to the idea that they are not acting solely for this reason, and they discover, whatever they may say, that the desire to live combines in them with the desire to make their life illustrious.
From the moment when, on the one hand, work seems to all citizens an honorable necessity of the human condition, and when, on the other hand, work is always visibly done, in whole or in part, out of consideration for a salary, the immense space that separated the different professions in aristocratic societies disappears. If the professions are not always similar, they at least have a similar feature.
There is no profession in which work is not done for money. The salary, which is common to all, gives all a family resemblance.
This serves to explain the opinions that the Americans entertain concerning the various professions.
American servants do not believe themselves degraded because they work; for around them, everyone works. They do not feel debased by the idea that they receive a salary; for the President of the United States also works for a salary. He is paid to command, just as they are paid to serve.
In the United States, professions are more or less difficult, more or less lucrative, but they are never noble or base. Every honest profession is honorable.
[a. ] In America everyone works or has worked. That rehabilitates the idea of work. In America, since fortunes are all mediocre and temporary, the idea of salary is strongly joined with the idea of work.
From the moment when work is honorable and when all work is paid, all professions take on a family resemblance. The salary is a common feature that is found in the physiognomy of all professions (YTC, CVf, p. 34).
[b. ] This chapter and the following, until the end of the second part, do not exist in the manuscript, but appear in notebook CVf. There is rubish with the title: “(a. b. c.) Rubish./ why democracy pushes men toward commerce and all types of industry and in general toward the taste for material well-being. instincts that follow. ” There is also rubish for the chapter on the industrial aristocracy.