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chapter 8 a: General View of the Subject b - Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition, vol. 4 
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. 4.
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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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General View of the Subjectb
Before leaving forever the course that I have just covered, I would like to be able to encompass with a last look all the various features that mark the face of the new world, and finally to judge the general influence that equality must exercise on the fate of men; but the difficulty of such an enterprise stops me; in the presence of such a great matter, I feel my sight fail and my reason falter.c
This new society, which I have sought to portray and which I want to judge, has only just been born. Time has not yet set its form; the great revolution that created it is still going on, and in what is happening today, it is nearly impossible to discern what must pass away with the revolution itself, and what must remain after it.
The world that is rising is still half caught in the ruins of the world that is falling, and amid the immense confusion presented by human affairs, no one can say which old institutions and ancient mores will remain standing and which will finally disappear.
Although the revolution that is taking place in the social state, the laws, the ideas, the sentiments of men, is still very far from being finished, already you cannot compare its works with anything that has been seen previously in the world. I go back century by century to the most distant antiquity; I notice nothing that resembles what is before our eyes. Since the past no longer clarifies the future, the mind moves in shadows.
But amid this picture so vast, so new, so confused, I already glimpse a few principal features which are becoming apparent and I point them out.
I see that the good and the bad are distributed equally enough in the world. Great wealth disappears; the number of small fortunes increases; desires and enjoyments multiply; there is no more extraordinary prosperity or irreversible poverty. Ambition is a universal sentiment; there are few vast ambitions. Each individual is isolated and weak; society is agile, far-sighted and strong; individuals do small things and the State immense ones.
Souls are not energetic; but mores are mild and legislation humane. If little great devotion, few very high, very brilliant, and very pure virtues are found, habits are steady, violence is rare and cruelty almost unknown. The lives of men become longer and their property more secure. Life is not very ornate, but very comfortable and very peaceful. There are few very delicate and very coarse pleasures, little courtesy in manners and little brutality in tastes. You scarcely find very learned men or very ignorant populations. Genius becomes rarer and enlightenment more common. The human mind is developed by the small combined efforts of all men, and not by the powerful impulse of a few of them. There is less perfection, but more fecundity in works. All the bonds of race, class, country are loosening; the great bond of humanity is tightening.d
If among all these various features, I seek the one that seems to me the most general and the most striking, I come to see that what is noticeable in fortunes reappears again in a thousand other forms. Nearly all the extremes become softer and are blunted; nearly all the salient points are worn away to make way for something middling, which is at the very same time less high and less low, less brilliant and less obscure than what was seen in the world.e
I run my eyes over this innumerable crowd composed of similar beings, in which nothing either rises or falls. The spectacle of this universal uniformity [and of this mediocrity] saddens me and chills me, and I am tempted to regret the society that is no more.
When the world was filled with very great and very small, very rich and very poor, very learned and very ignorant, [very fortunate and very miserable] men, I turned my eyes away from the second to fix them only on the first, and the latter delighted my sight. But I understand that this pleasure arose from my weakness; it is because I cannot see all that surrounds me at the same time that I am allowed to choose in this way and to separate, among so many objects, those that it pleases me to consider. It is not the same for the all-powerful and eternal Being, whose eyes necessarily take in the whole of things, and who sees all of humanity and each man distinctly, though at the same time.
It is natural to believe that what most satisfies the sight of this creator and preserver of men, is not the singular prosperity of a few, but the greatest well-being of all; so what seems to me decline, is in his eyes progress; what hurts me, agrees with him. Equality is perhaps less elevated; but it is more just, and its justice makes its grandeur and its beauty.
I try hard to enter into this point of view of God, and from there I seek to consider and to judge human things.f
No one, on the earth, can yet assert in an absolute and general way that the new state of societies is superior to the old state; but it is already easy to see that it is different.
There are certain vices and certain virtues that were attached to the constitution of aristocratic nations and that are so contrary to the genius of the new peoples that you cannot introduce those vices and virtues among them. There are good tendencies and bad instincts that were foreign to the first that are natural to the second; ideas that occur by themselves to the imagination of the first and that the mind of the second rejects. They are like two distinct humanities, each of which has its particular advantages and disadvantages, its good and its evil which are its own.g
So you must be very careful about judging the societies that are being born by the ideas that you have drawn from those that are no longer. That would be unjust, for these societies, differing prodigiously from each other, are not comparable.
It would be scarcely more reasonable to ask of the men [v. democratic peoples] of today the particular virtues that resulted from the social state of their ancestors, since this social state itself has fallen, and since in its fall it swept away in a confused way all the good and all the bad that it carried with it.
But these things are still poorly understood today. I notice a great number of my contemporaries who undertake to make a choice among the institutions, the opinions, the ideas that arose from the aristocratic constitution of the former society; they would willingly abandon some, but they would still like to retain others and carry them with them into the new world.
I think that those men use up their time and their strength in an honest and sterile work.
It is no longer a matter of retaining the particular advantages that inequality of conditions gains for men, but of assuring the new advantages that equality can offer them.h We must not aim to make ourselves similar to our fathers, but to work hard to attain the type of grandeur and happiness that is appropriate to us.
As for me, having reached the final end of my journey, I discern from afar, but all at once, all the various matters that I had contemplated separately while going along, and I feel full of fears and full of hopes.j I see great dangers that it is possible to avert, great evils that can be avoided or limited; and I become more and more confirmed in this belief that, to be honest and prosperous, it is still enough for democratic nations to want to be so.
I am not unaware that several of my contemporaries have thought that here below peoples are never masters of themselves, and that they obey necessarily I do not know what insurmountable and unintelligent force that arises from previous events, from race, from soil, or from climate.k
Those are false and cowardly doctrines that can produce only weak men and pusillanimous nations. Providence has created humanity neither entirely independent nor completely slave. It traces around each man, it is true, a fatal circle out of which he cannot go; but within its vast limits, man is powerful and free; so are peoples.m
The nations of today cannot make conditions among them not be equal; but it depends on them whether equality leads them to servitude or liberty, to enlightenment or barbarism, to prosperity or misery.n
There are, however, aristocracies that have engaged in commerce with ardor and cultivated industry with success. The history of the world provides several striking examples. But in general it must be said that aristocracy is not favorable to the development of industry and of commerce. Only aristocracies of money are an exception to this rule.
Among the latter there is hardly any desire that does not need wealth to be satisfied. The love of wealth becomes, so to speak, the great highway for human passions. All the other passions lead to it or cross it.
The taste for money and the thirst for consideration and power then blend so well in the same souls that it becomes difficult to discern if it is out of ambition that men are greedy, or if it is out of greediness that they are ambitious. This is what happens in England, where you want to be rich in order to attain honors, and where you desire honors as the manifestation of wealth. The human spirit is then gripped on all sides and swept toward commerce and industry, which are the shortest roads that lead to opulence.
Moreover, this seems to me an exceptional and transitory fact. When wealth has become the only sign of aristocracy, it is very difficult for the rich to maintain themselves in power alone and to exclude all the others.
. . . From time to time we came across new clearings. All these establishments were similar. I am going to describe the one where we stopped this evening; it will leave me with a picture of all the others.
The small bell that the pioneers carefully hang around the necks of the animals in order to find them in the woods announced to us from afar the approach to a clearing; soon we heard the sound of the ax that fells the trees of the forest. As we approach, signs of destruction announce to us the presence of civilized man. Cut branches cover the road; trunks half-charred by fire or mutilated by the ax still stand upright along our passage. We continue our march and we come to a woods in which all the trees seem to have been stricken by sudden death; in the middle of the summer, they present nothing more than the image of winter; examining them more closely we notice that in their bark a deep circle has been traced that, stopping the circulation of the sap, did not take long to make them die; we learn that this, in fact, is how the pioneer usually begins. Not able, during the first year, to cut all the trees that cover his new property, he sows corn under their branches and, by killing them, he prevents them from shading his crop. After this field, an incomplete beginning, a first step of civilization in the wilderness, we suddenly notice the cabin of the landowner; it is placed in the center of a ground more carefully cultivated than the rest, but where man still sustains an unequal struggle against the forest. There the trees are cut, but not uprooted; their trunks still cover and clutter the ground that they formerly shaded. Around these dried-up remains, wheat, oak shoots, plants of all types, grasses of all kinds grow jumbled together and increase together on an intractable and half-wild ground. At the center of this vigorous and varied vegetation arises the house of the pioneer, or as it is called in this country, the log house. Like the field that surrounds it, this rustic dwelling announces a new and hurried work; its length does not seem to us to exceed thirty feet; its height, fifteen; its walls as well as the roof are formed from tree trunks not squared off, between which moss and earth have been placed to prevent the cold and the rain from penetrating the interior.
Since night was approaching, we determined to go to ask the owner of the log house for shelter.
At the sound of our steps, the children who were rolling around amid the debris of the forest get up precipitously and flee toward the house as if frightened at the sight of a man, while two large half-wild dogs, ears upright and muzzles elongated, emerge from their cabin and come growling to cover the retreat of their young masters. The pioneer himself appears at the door of his dwelling; he casts a rapid and searching glance at us, signals to his dogs to come back into the house; he serves as their example himself without showing that our sight excites his curiosity or his concern.
We enter the log house. The interior does not recall the cabins of the peasants of Europe; you find more of the superfluous and less of the necessary.
There is only a single window at which hangs a muslin curtain; on a hearth of beaten earth crackles a great fire that lights up the whole interior of the building; above this hearth you notice a beautiful rifle with a grooved barrel, a deer skin, eagle feathers; to the right of the chimney a map of the United States is spread which the wind flaps and agitates by coming through the chinks in the wall; near it, on a shelf made from a rough-hewn plank, are placed a few volumes. I notice the Bible, the first six cantos of Milton and two plays of Shakespeare. Along the walls are placed trunks instead of armoires; in the center is found a crudely worked table, whose feet, made from wood still green and with the bark still on, seem to have grown by themselves out of the earth on the spot occupied by the table; I see on this table a teapot of English porcelain, some silver spoons, a few chipped cups and some newspapers.
The master of this dwelling has the angular features and slender limbs that distinguish the inhabitant of New England; it is clear that this man was not born in the wilderness where we meet him; his physical constitution is enough to announce that his first years were spent within an intellectual society, and that he belongs to this restless, reasoning and adventurous race that does coldly what only the ardor of the passions explains and which subjects itself for a time to uncivilized life the better to conquer and to civilize the wilderness.
When the pioneer sees that we are crossing the threshold of his dwelling, he comes to meet us and extends his hand, as is the custom; but his physiognomy remains rigid; he speaks first to interrogate us about what is happening in the world, and when he has satisfied his curiosity, he becomes silent; you would think him fatigued by troublesome individuals and by chatter. We interrogate him in turn, and he gives us all the information we need; then he occupies himself without eagerness but diligently with providing for our needs. Seeing him devote himself in this way to these kind attentions, why, despite ourselves, do we feel our gratitude cool? It is because he, while exercising hospitality, seems to be submitting to a painful necessity of his fate; he sees a duty that his position imposes on him, not a pleasure.
At the other end of the room is seated a woman who is rocking a young child on her knees. She nods to us without interrupting herself. Like the pioneer, this woman is in the prime of life; her appearance seems superior to her condition; her dress still announces even now a barely extinguished taste for finery; but her delicate limbs seem weakened; her features are tired; her eyes gentle and serious. You see spread over her whole physiognomy a religious resignation, a profound peace of the passions, and I do not know what natural and tranquil steadfastness that meets all the evils of life without fearing them or defying them.
Her children crowd around her; they are full of health, excitement, and energy; they are true sons of the wilderness. Their mother from time to time gives them looks full of melancholy and joy. To see their strength and her weakness, you would say that she has exhausted herself by giving them life, and that she does not regret what they have cost her.
The house inhabited by the emigrants has no interior wall or attic. Into the single room that it contains, the entire family comes to find shelter at night. This dwelling by itself alone forms like a small world; it is the ark of civilization lost amid an ocean of leaves. One hundred steps further the eternal forest spreads its shadow and the wilderness begins again.
It is not equality of conditions that makes men immoral and irreligious. But when men are immoral and irreligious at the same time as being equal, the effects of immorality and irreligion occur in the open easily because men have little influence on each other and because no class exists that can take charge of keeping order in society. Equality of conditions never creates corruption of morals, but sometimes it allows it to happen.
If you put aside all those who do not think and those who dare not say what they think, you will still find that the immense majority of Americans seem satisfied with the political institutions that govern them; and in fact, I believe that they are. I regard this cast of public opinion as an indication, but not as a proof of the absolute goodness of American laws. National pride, the satisfaction given by the laws to certain dominant passions, fortuitous events, unnoticed vices, and more than all of that the interest of a majority that silences those who oppose it, can for a long time delude an entire people as well as one man.
See England in the whole course of the XVIIIth century. Never did a nation lavish more praise on itself; no people was ever more perfectly content with itself; everything then was good in its constitution, everything there was irreproachable, even its most visible faults. Today a multitude of Englishmen seems to be busy only with proving that this constitution was defective in a thousand places. Who was right, the English people of the last century, or the English people of today?
The same thing happened in France. It is certain that under Louis XIV the great mass of the nation was passionate about the form of government that then ruled society. They are very much mistaken who believe that the French character of that time was debased. In that century in France, there could be servitude in certain respects, but the spirit of servitude was certainly not found. The writers of the time felt a sort of real enthusiasm in raising the royal power above all others, and there was no one, even including the obscure peasant in his cottage, who did not take pride in the glory of the sovereign and who did not die with joy while crying: “Long live the King!” These same forms have become odious to us. Who was wrong, the French of Louis XIV, or the French of today?
So it is not only on the predispositions of a people that you must rely in order to judge its laws, since from one century to another they change, but on more elevated grounds and a more general experience.
The love that a people shows for its laws proves only one thing: that you must not hasten to change them.
In the chapter to which this note relates I have just shown one danger; I want to point out another rarer one, but one that, if it ever appeared, would be very much more to fear.
If the love of material enjoyments and the taste for well-being that equality naturally suggests to men, while taking hold of the spirit of a democratic people, came to fill them entirely, national mores would become so anti-pathetic to the military spirit that armies themselves would perhaps end up loving peace despite the particular interest that leads them to desire war. Placed in the middle of this universal softness, soldiers would come to think that it was indeed better to rise gradually, but comfortably and without efforts, in peace, than to buy a rapid advancement at the cost of the strains and the miseries of camp life. In this spirit, the army would take up arms without zeal and would use them without energy; it would allow itself to be led to the enemy rather than marching there by itself.
You must not believe that this pacific inclination of the army would distance it from revolutions, for revolutions, and above all military revolutions, which are usually very quick, often carry great risks, but do not require extended efforts; they satisfy ambition at less cost than war; in revolutions you only risk your life, to which the men of democracies are less attached than to their comforts.
There is nothing more dangerous for the liberty and the tranquillity of a people than an army that is afraid of war, because, no longer seeking its grandeur and its influence on the fields of battle, it wants to find them elsewhere. So it could happen that the men who compose a democratic army would lose the interests of the citizen without gaining the virtues of the soldier, and that the army would cease to be warlike without ceasing to be turbulent.
I will repeat here what I already said above. The remedy for such dangers is not in the army, but in the country. A democratic people that maintains manly mores will always as needed find warrior mores in its soldiers.
Men put the grandeur of the idea of unity in the means; God, in the end; the result is that this idea of grandeur leads us to a thousand petty things. To force all men to march with the same step, toward the same purpose, that is a human idea. To introduce an infinite variety in actions, but to combine them so that all these actions lead by a thousand paths toward the accomplishment of a great design, that is a divine idea.
A democratic people is not only led by its tastes to centralize power; the passions of all those who lead it push it there constantly.
You can easily predict that almost all of the ambitious and capable citizens contained within a democratic country will work without let-up to expand the attributions of the social power, because all hope to direct it one day. It is a waste of time to want to prove to those men that extreme centralization can harm the State, since they are centralizing for themselves.
Among the public men of democracies, there are hardly any men except those who are very disinterested or very mediocre who want to decentralize power. The first are rare and the others powerless.
I have often asked myself what would happen if, amid the softness of democratic mores and as a result of the restless spirit of the army, a military government was ever established among some of the nations of today.
I think that the government itself would not be far from the portrait that I drew in the chapter to which this note relates, and that it would not reproduce the savage features of the military oligarchy.
I am persuaded that in this case there would be a kind of fusion between the habits of the clerk and those of the soldier. The administration would take on something of the military spirit, and the military some of the practices of the civil administration. The result of this would be a regular, clear, plain, absolute command; the people made into the image of the army, and society kept like a barracks.
You cannot say in an absolute and general way that the greatest danger of today is license or tyranny, anarchy or despotism. Both are equally to be feared and can emerge as easily from the same single cause, which is general apathy, fruit of individualism; this apathy means that the day when the executive power gathers some strength, it is able to oppress, and that the day after, when a party can put thirty men in the field, the latter is equally able to oppress. Since neither the one nor the other is able to establish anything lasting, what makes them succeed easily prevents them from succeeding for long. They arise because nothing resists them, and they fall because nothing sustains them.
What is important to combat is therefore much less anarchy or despotism than apathy, which can create almost indifferently the one or the other.
[a. ] In the first box of the Rubish (Rubish, 1), with the chapter on material enjoyments, in a jacket bearing the title how equality of ranks suggests to men the taste for liberty and for equality, you find this note: “Perhaps finish by a chapter entitled general view of the subject, in which I recall the fatal march of equality. Perhaps here I will show that it is only by democracy that you can attenuate the evils of democracy, the impossibility and the danger of the government of the middle classes, the necessity to aim firmly for the government of all by all.” (Rubish, 1). In the second box of the Rubish, the rough drafts and notes of this chapter are accompanied by various papers contained in a jacket that has as a title of the manner in which the american governments act vis-à-vis associations. Tocqueville noted to the side: “I propose to delete this chapter.” The ideas of these pages are found in different places in the last chapters.
[b. ] [On a jacket: Last chapter. General view of the subject./
General appraisal of the effects of equality./
I can [only (ed.)] approach this summary frankly and grandly, otherwise it would seem out of place and incomplete. I must show myself wanting to reduce the entire picture that I have just painted to a narrow frame, setting aside details, or closing my eyes to them, no longer occupying myself with America, which opened the path to me; and after thus preparing the reader for something very general and with very few details, to keep the piece: I look at my country . . .
To begin by recalling the march of the four volumes.]
Capital and principal idea./
Influence of democracy on human morality.
Medium morality, perhaps in the view of God.
Interest which gains, men not virtuous, but steady.
Final chapter. I think. All of man is there./
Chapter too vast, too thorny. To refrain probably.
[On the following page] A final chapter.
Less individual independence, more national strength.
Less independence, more security.
Less independence of the sovereign, more independence of the subjects.
[On the following page] I do not believe in the definitive organization of the government of the middle classes, and if I believed it possible, I would oppose myself to it.
Idea to put in the place where I show again the fatal march of equality.
[Here we omit several paragraphs (ed.).]
[On the following page] Finish the book by a great chapter that tries to summarize all the democratic subject and to draw from it oratorically the consequences for the world and in particular for Europe and us. Maxims of conciliation, of resignation, of union with the march of Providence, complete impartiality.
A simple and solemn movement, like the subject./
That it is necessary to draw yourself out of particular points of view in order to place yourself, if possible, in general points of view that do not depend on either times or places. Penetrate as deeply as possible into the thought of God and judge from there.
[On the following page] Use democracy to moderate democracy. That is the sole path of salvation that is open to us. Discern the sentiments, the ideas, the laws that, without being hostile to the principles of democracy, without being naturally incompatible with democracy, can however correct its unfortunate tendencies and, while modifying it, become incorporated with it.
Beyond that everything is foolish and imprudent (YTC, CVk, 2, pp. 50-52).
In Tocqueville’s papers you find these other plans:
Presumed order of the last chapter.
1. Summary of the four volumes.
2. Why democracy, certain sides of which a (illegible word), can be the best state in the eyes of God.
3. From now on democracy has nothing to fear except itself.
4.Bad and good democracy and if it must be assured.
It is from its ranks that its masters and its destroyers will come. It has nothing to fear from its enemies, but from its children (YTC, CVc, pp. 59-60).
I said when beginning that the march of equality was irresistible. I believe it more and more. Movement of the rest of Europe as democratic by kings, as ours by the people. There is only one aristocracy that knows how to defend itself, that of England. All the others form command staffs without armies.
General fact flowing from the development of equality . . .
More honesty, fewer virtues.
Each man smaller, more ignorant, weaker, humanity greater, stronger, more knowledgeable.
Smaller individual efforts, a greater general result.
Less tranquillity, more power (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 4).
[c. ] In the margin: “<I cast my eyes over my country and I see there a universal transformation. I widen my view, I carry it by degrees to the extreme limits of the vast space occupied on the globe by the European race; everywhere I am struck by an analogous spectacle. Among all peoples, ancient institutions and ancient mores have disappeared or are disappearing in order to give place to something different. Everything that exists today [interrupted text (ed.)].>”
[d. ] In the margin: “<This picture seems good enough to me, but it is incomplete. It perhaps contains some useless things, and there are some necessary ones to .-.-. To complete it, it is necessary to have gone through the whole book.>”
[e. ] It is necessary to find in some part of the work, in the foreword or the last chapter, the idea of the middle that has been so dishonored in our times. Show that there is a firm, clear, voluntary way to see and to grasp the truth between two extremes. To conceive and to say that the truth is not in an absolute system.
[In the margin: I do not like the middle to be taken between grandeur and baseness, between courage and fear, between vice and virtue. But I like the middle between two opposite excesses.]
Dare to say somewhere the idea of L[ouis (ed.)]. that a difference must be made between absolute affirmation [v: certitude] and Pyrrhonism, that the system of probabilities is the only true one, the only human one, provided that probability causes you to act as energetically as certitude.
All that is poorly said, but the germ is there (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 41-42).
[f. ] “Who knows if, in the eyes of God, the beautiful is not the useful?” (YTC, CVa, p. 41).
[g. ] “You must not aim to make democratic peoples as similar as possible to aristocratic nations, but to gain for them as much as possible the type of grandeur and prosperity that is appropriate to them” (Rubish, 2).
[h. ] Equality of conditions, the absence of classes . . . are evils you say. It belittles human nature, establishes the mediocre in everything. Perhaps you are right.
Do you know a means to cure the evil by the opposites, that is to say by the reestablishment or even the maintaining of inequality, the permanent classification of men? No. At the very bottom of your heart you do not believe in the possibility of all these things.
But admitting that equality of conditions is an invincible fact, you contest its consequences in the political world; and you attack liberty and call despotism to your aid, and seek to assure present security at the expense of future races.
And it is here that you are clearly wrong. For there is only democracy (by this word I mean self-government) that can diminish and make bearable the inevitable evils of a democratic social state.
5 September 1837 (YTC, CVk, 2, p. 53).
[j. ] I see two distinct roads that open at the same time before the men of today. They touch at first, but as they get farther from the common point of departure, they move away from each other and an immense space between them is found at the end. The one leads to liberty and the other leads to servitude. And as you march along one or along the other, liberty becomes greater and servitude heavier. Each day that the space separating them expands, it is more difficult to cross it to find the good road again. Peoples have not yet reached the place where they must choose between these two paths. But all are getting closer to it. An irresistible force is pushing them there. I already see the first advancing. The others follow the first at unequal distances.
Although I may be the last one in this holy league, if it is forming, I am content.
Some push them toward chaos, the others drag them, little by little and without noticing, perhaps, toward the most stupefying of all servitudes. The nations hesitate, become disturbed and falter . . .
Oh! Who will open the way, who will carry the new banner, who will give his name to this glorious dawning. One man, whoever he may be, cannot do it, but an association of men could do so. Association of disinterested, honest or enterprising men (illegible word) sentiments . . . I will be distressed by them, but let me be allowed to say that I am not afraid of them.
As for my opinions on all the others, I do not defend myself; the public is the judge.
[On another page] I said at the beginning of this long work that peoples (vol. 1, p. 90) could draw two great political consequences from the democratic social state, that these consequences differed prodigiously from each other, but that they both emerged from the same fact. Here I am at the end of my course, and I feel myself more firm in this belief (YTC, CVd, pp. 20-22). Tocqueville is referring to the last paragraphs of chapter III of the first part of the first volume (p. 90).
[k. ] Idea of necessity, of fatality. Explain how my system differs essentially from that of Chiquet [Mignet (ed.)] and company. Do a satirical portrait of the latter without naming individuals. Show that without claiming to be [a (ed.)] genius who embraces the necessities of the political order, there is a great weakness of mind and a great distaste for work. Explain how my system is perfectly compatible with human liberty.
Apply these general ideas to democracy.
That is a very beautiful piece to place at the head or the tail of the work.
[In the margin: You have not reproached me as I anticipated for seeming to fall into the mania of the century. But I reproach myself for it because I do not want to fall into it. You absolve me, and I accuse myself. I wake up every morning obeying a general and eternal law that I did not know the night before.
Unfortunately, there are some of those laws] (YTC, CVa, pp. 58-59).
And in the same line:
To be very careful in the preliminary or final chapter to make it clearly understood that I am not exclusive in my point of view. Many particular causes like climate, race, religion influence the ideas and the sentiments of men, independently of the social state.
[To the side: The progress of enlightenment (illegible word), principal idea that I have constantly found on my road and at which I have not wanted to stop.]
The particular purpose of this book is not to deny these influences, but to put into relief the particular influence of the social state.
January 1838 (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 47-48).
[m. ] “I am profoundly convinced that democracy can be regulated and organized; it is not something easy, but it is something that can be done, and I add that it is the only thing left to do” (YTC, CVd, p. 19).
[n. ] “A man is never master of his destiny because death can come to seize him in the execution of his wisest plans, but a people, which does not perish, remains always master of itself ” (Rubish, 2).