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CHAPTER 1: The Writing of the First Part of the Democracy - James T. Schleifer, The Making of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America 
The Making of Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Foreword by George W. Pierson (2nd edition) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000).
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The Writing of the First Part of the Democracy
When Tocqueville first thought of writing a book about America has never been entirely clear. In 1831–32, the official mission of the young juge auditeur and his traveling companion, Gustave de Beaumont, was to examine and report upon the American prison systems, but even before leaving France the two friends had determined to study more than criminal codes and penitentiary schemes. “We are leaving with the intention of examining in detail and as scientifically as possible all the mechanisms of this vast American society about which everyone talks and no one knows. And if events allow us the time, we expect to bring back the elements of a bon ouvrage, or at least of a new work; for nothing exists on this subject.”1
Beaumont had also admitted to broader schemes. “We contemplate great projects; first we will accomplish as best we can the mission given us...;2 but, while doing the penitentiary system, we will see America;... Wouldn’t a book be good if it gave an exact idea of the American people, showed their history in broad strokes, painted their character in bold outline, analyzed their social state, and rectified so many of the opinions which are erroneous on this point?”3
During May and June their letters from the New World continued to mention plans of a joint study. Gustave even boasted to his brother, Jules, “We are laying the foundations of a great work which should make our reputation some day.”4
Perhaps by temperament Tocqueville was more cautious. “I hope that we will do something good here. However we must not flatter ourselves yet. The circle seems to expand as fast as we advance.... [During the next nine years, the expanding nature of his American effort would haunt him more than he imagined.] Besides we have not yet written a line; but we are accumulating a great deal of material.... It is true that the said mission forces us to devote to prisons an enormous amount of time which would be better spent elsewhere. However that may be, we do not lack either ardor or courage and if some obstacle does not happen to stop us, I hope that we will finish by bringing forth the work that we have had in mind for a year.”5 The travelers had evidently contemplated a mutual work on America since at least the summer of 1830.
Yet the predicted birth never took place. Between June and September 1831, their epistles ceased to mention the project, and when in October news of their plans finally reappeared, Gustave and Alexis had decided to write separate books. Perhaps a major reason for their decision was a growing awareness of the immensity of the original design, for the simplest way to make an overwhelming task manageable would have been to divide it. Whatever the causes, by late September 1831, the hoped-for ouvrage nouveau had become two.6
Tocqueville and Beaumont, laboring under no illusions about the time required for understanding the United States, had hoped to remain in America longer than nine months, but by November 1831, the French government was pressing for an end to their mission and a quick return to France. Forced to leave before they wished, their thoughts were brusquely turned toward the future.
In March 1832, the two investigators landed once again in France, where both official pressures for prompt submission and personal desires to begin their own books on America urged them to complete the prison report as quickly as possible.
With his usual enthusiasm, Beaumont plunged into the task at hand, but Tocqueville, despite his best efforts, fell into an unshakable inertia. All their hopes for the future depended on their American projects, and yet he could not make himself work, and from Paris confessed: “I begin to believe that I was decidedly stricken with imbecility during the last months that I spent in America; we believed that it was an attack; but every day the ailment takes more the character of a chronic malady; I am still where you left me.”7 A week later he admitted that his mind still refused to stir. “Do not wait to see my work during your absence. I have not done anything, or as little as possible. My mind is in lethargy and I absolutely do not know when it will awaken. So bring enough courage, ardor, enthusiasm, and so on for two.”8
In desperation, Beaumont accepted this advice and shouldered the great burden of writing their report. Meanwhile Tocqueville was dispatched to inspect les bagnes, the infamous French prison ships.9 Aware that six weeks had already been lost and that his colleague could easily waste several more, Beaumont pleaded: “It is absolutely necessary to come out of the state of moral sluggishness in which you have been for some time...; though for the moment you are a proud lazy-bones, I feel that I will never work well except when we work together. Think of our future and of the way in which we should be occupied.”10
Travel and his friend’s sarcasm finally drove Tocqueville into activity, and by 16 November 1832, Beaumont was able to announce to Francis Lieber: “Our report on the penitentiary system of America is finally finished, but it has taken us a good deal of time.... It is now in the hands of the printer. Ten pages are already pulled.”11Du système pénitentiaire aux Etats-Unis et de son application en France, which had consumed over eight months, finally appeared in January 1833.12
Two additional events soon intervened to delay any work on Tocqueville’s grand ouvrage, however. During the last months of 1832, Louis de Kergolay, a childhood friend, became involved in legitimist plots against the July Monarchy and found himself in prison awaiting trial on charges of disloyalty. Alexis, trained as a lawyer, decided to defer his book in order to speak in Louis’s defense, and, in March 1833, his skill and eloquence secured an acquittal.13
The second postponement—a brief visit to England—was more of Tocqueville’s own choice. No one knows exactly why he wanted to see Britain during August and September 1833, but perhaps Beaumont’s phrase “John Bull, father of Jonathan”14 gave a clue to his intentions. Apparently, he expected to find in England some American roots as well as an invaluable comparison with what he had seen in the United States. In any case, the episode prevented initial efforts on the Democracy for two more months.15
Full-time labor finally got under way in October when Tocqueville installed himself in a garret above the rue de Verneuil and threw himself into America “with a sort of fury.”16 But where to begin? He had already prepared methodically for his American work. Each night in the New World the traveler had entered full accounts of his conversations and ruminations into makeshift notebooks.17 He had frequently commanded his correspondents to preserve his letters carefully, for they were intended not only as friendly epistles, but also as substantial records of his observations and reflections. The Frenchman had even arranged some of his journey diaries topically and alphabetically.18 Now he unpacked his notebooks, gathered his letters, and sat down to reread.19
Reexamination of his American papers evidently convinced Tocqueville that an even more thorough organization was necessary, for one of his first activities was the compilation of an elaborate index to his own materials. The “sources manuscrites,” as he labeled the catalogue, consisted of a list of sixty-four topics, followed in each case by page references to conversations and comments in the travel diaries.20
Of some interest are the subjects and episodes that he chose to include at this early stage. The entries consisted largely of specific and easily grasped bits of the American experience, like Convention, Duel, Jury, Washington, Virgin lands, Canals, Roads, Banks, Tariff, Towns, Press, Town-meeting, and Pioneer, mixed with a few words or phrases that ultimately became organizing principles for the entire book: Centralization, Equality, Sovereignty of the people, Public opinion, Union: future, Federal organization, General character of the nation. In addition, the “sources manuscrites” underscored the particular significance of certain American spokesmen. The names of Joel Roberts Poinsett and John Hazlehurst Bonval Latrobe, for example, appeared frequently and under many different headings.
In further preparation, Tocqueville drew up lengthy bibliographies of printed sources which were available at the Bibliothèque de l’Institut. “Sources. Nature of books upon which I can draw. Books at the Bibliothèque de l’Institut” itemized titles on the following: Indians, Statistics and Generalities, Historical, Books on law, and Legislative documents. Numerous unclassified works were cited as well, and many of the individual entries included the writer’s brief but revealing critical remarks about the book’s reputation and worth.21
Having accomplished these preliminaries, Tocqueville had next to sketch some tentative grand design for his work.22 One possible plan soon appeared in his notes:
Point of departure (point de départ)
Influence of the point of departure on the future of the society.
Homogeneous ideas, moeurs, needs, passions of the founders of American society.
Influence of the extent of territory—of the nature of the country, of its geographic situation, its ports, its population, immigration from Europe and, in the West, from America itself.
The point of departure has engendered the society as it is organized today, fait primitif—after which come the consequences formulated as principles.
Political society (société politique)—Relations between the federal and state governments and [between] the citizen of the Union and of each state.
Civil society (société civile)—Relations of the citizens among themselves.
Religious society (société religieuse)—Relations between God and the members of society, and of the religious sects among themselves.23
Setting the stage by describing the fait primitif of the American republic seemed an excellent way to begin, but although Tocqueville would concern himself with the history of the United States in the second chapter of the 1835 Democracy, “Concerning Their Point of Departure and Its Importance for the Future of the Anglo-Americans,”24 nowhere would he devote a separate section to the American environment and all its facets and ramifications. The first chapter, “Physical Configuration of North America,” would suggest the size, fecundity, isolation, and relative emptiness of the continent, yet many physiographic features would not be mentioned until much later, and his often brilliant observations about the profound and far-reaching effects of the nature du pays would be scattered haphazardly throughout the book.25
Nevertheless, this early statement did announce what would become a permanent feature of Tocqueville’s thinking and writing process: the crucial importance of the concept of the point de départ.
The author would also deviate from this early outline by reducing the projected tripartite scheme to two: société politique and société civile.26 Although this distinction was never entirely satisfactory, it became the permanent dividing line between the first and second volumes of the 1835 Democracy. The première partie would examine the principles and governmental and administrative structures at the base of American political life. The deuxième partie would discuss how certain essentially civil institutions, such as the press, jury, legal corps, or religion, influenced that political life.
Under société politique, Tocqueville developed the following plan for his first volume: “Political society. The constituent principles of the American federation. Succinct picture of this constitution. Then observations: How it differs from all federations. Advantages of a federal system when it can continue to exist. Manner in which the federal government operates. President. Its obstacles. Future of the Union.”27
Further thought raised some questions: “Perhaps it would be better to begin by the great principles which dominate all of society in America. The sovereignty of the people among others before descending to the ...28 government. The scale should be turned around. Establish the general principles of all the laws. Then take the town, then the State. Get to the Union only at the end. One can understand the principles of the Union only by knowing the United States.... The Union is the résumé of a group of principles which find their development only in ordinary society.29
“On the sovereignty of the people (its history, its development; triumphant and irresistible march of Démocratie), generating principle of all political laws in the United States.30 Its strength; its counterweight, in the moeurs, in the judiciary. Sovereignty of the people applied to the governments. Electoral rights. Towns, states, associations, conventions. Sovereignty of the people applied to the direction of ideas. Liberty of the press. Sovereignty of the people applied to the sanction of laws, jury. [One might wonder if Tocqueville was not, at this point, contemplating a book entitled: De la souveraineté du peuple aux Etats-Unis.] Finish political institutions by a portrait of the Republic in America. What facilitates it, its future, not aristocratic, tyrannical.”31
This early blueprint of Tocqueville’s first volume disclosed—in addition to an already deeply rooted unease about America’s future—two intriguing aspects of his proposed organization during the last months of 1833. First, the very order of chapters in the first half of the 1835 Democracy was intended to illustrate a basic premise of his thinking about American political structures. An exposition of the underlying principle must come first, he had decided. One idée mère, sovereignty of the people, hid behind all of the political institutions of the United States. Then, perhaps remembering Jared Sparks’s thesis that town institutions predated both the states and the Union and provided the essential forum for the exercise of democratic liberties,32 he envisioned a progression from the smallest political unit, the town (la commune), through the states, and lastly to the federal government.
Second, at this stage Tocqueville evidently planned to include chapters on the press, associations, and jury with the first volume of the 1835 Democracy. These institutions reflected the central principle of American society as clearly and as directly as did the administrative and governmental framework of the republic. Later, however, these subjects would be shifted to the société civile and consequently to his second volume.33
Tocqueville’s outline of the first part concluded with the following paragraph: “Finish by reading documents, books, almanacs, or other things in order to find facts that I can spread throughout the work in support of these ideas.”34 Tocqueville here suggests that his method, as many readers have observed, was heavily deductive. From personal experiences, reflections, and earlier readings, he first arrived at general principles and then searched for additional facts to support his initial observations.
Among the first objectives of his research in these materials was the compilation of a factual basis for his discussion of the rise of equality and for his chapters on the history of the Union. Three draft pages presented an assembly of events, discoveries, inventions, and laws from French and European history that demonstrated the steady growth of equality. Here were the bones of Alexis’s eloquent “Introduction.”35 The same source contained brief but numerous notes on American colonial history drawn from various literary accounts and official documents of the first settlements. Here were at least some germs of his chapter on the point de départ.36
Tocqueville’s schedule during all of these preparations was extraordinarily disciplined.37 Almost simultaneously, Beaumont received a welcome progress report. “My ideas have expanded and become more general. Is it good or is it bad? I await you to know.” Tocqueville also announced that he planned to complete a draft of his first volume by January 1834—an astonishing pace. But he admitted that such dispatch had exacted a price; his “American monomania” had undermined his health “which suffers a bit from extreme intellectual application.”38
By November 1833, with a provisional table of contents in hand and certain points of fact established, he was finally ready to begin the actual composition of his grande affaire. With a line, Tocqueville methodically divided each sheet of paper in half lengthwise. At first he wrote only on the right-hand side of the page; the left half remained clean and available for later corrections. Also, on the left, he sketched brief outlines or summaries of the unfolding chapters, entered an occasional date, noted his own unguarded observations and questions about the work, and recorded some reactions of those who heard or read the manuscript at various stages of development. The text, overlaid with accumulated comments, effacements, interlinings, and symbols of many varieties, and all in a hand which Tocqueville himself labeled “rabbit tracks,” is at first glance almost totally indecipherable. Only after a considerable apprenticeship do most of the many hundred sheets become legible.39
As Tocqueville drafted his chapter on the état social of Americans,40 he encountered a problem which would plague him throughout the Democracy: what did the terms état social or démocratie mean? A tentative definition of the former opened the draft. “I will speak so frequently of the social state of the Anglo-Americans that it is above all necessary to say what I mean by the words état social. The social state, according to me, is the material and intellectual condition of a people in a given period.” But a comment on the manuscript indicated that one critic found this effort “vague, indefinite” and suggested “perhaps examples instead of definitions.” Apparently in response to this advice, Tocqueville deleted the two sentences.41
Turning to the second term, démocratie, “le point saillant” of American society, he began by distinguishing démocratie from the dogma of the sovereignty of the people and examining its relation to état social. “Democracy constitutes the social state. The dogma of the sovereignty of the people [constitutes] the political rule (le droit politique). These two things are not analogous. Democracy is a society’s fundamental condition (manière d’être). Sovereignty of the people [is] a form of government.” After a rereading, however, he reminded himself in the margin: “Note that in this chapter it is necessary never to confuse the social state with the political laws which proceed from it. Equality or inequality of conditions, which are facts, with Democracy or aristocracy, which are laws—reexamine from this point of view.”42
Was démocratie a social condition (égalité), or a form of government based upon that social condition? Tocqueville had implied both. His reexamination now led to the deletion of his original statement, but no substitute was offered, and the issue remained unresolved.
It was not unnoticed, however. Someone demanded in the margin: “Explain what is meant by démocratie,” and after the publication of Democracy, readers would continue to object to the confusing use of certain key terms, especially the word démocratie.43 An early attempt to provide meaningful definitions had failed and, in this case, Tocqueville’s reaction to frustration was unfortunate; he temporarily abandoned the search.
After perhaps three months of concentrated effort, and as he came face to face with the problem of describing and analyzing America’s political institutions, Tocqueville realized that he needed help on his project. Alone and busy writing the première partie, he could not hope to peruse and digest the stacks of printed matters which he had collected. He also required someone well acquainted with the United States who could suggest additional resources and discuss troublesome questions. So at the American legation, he asked for the names of some eligible aides and perhaps posted the following notice: “Someone would like to meet an American of the United States who, having received a liberal education, would be willing to do research in the political laws and in the historical collections of his country, and who, for two months, would be able to sacrifice to this work two or three hours of his time each day; the choice of hours will be left to him. Apply to M. A. [Alexis] de T. [Tocqueville] rue de V. [Verneuil] No 49, in the morning before ten o’clock or in the afternoon from two to four.”44
In reply to his inquiries, Theodore Sedgwick III and Francis J. Lippitt, two young Americans, agreed to assist him during the first months of 1834, and both ultimately rendered valuable though quite different services.45 The first gentleman collected books for the author and satisfied various specific points of information about the United States. After reading in the American Almanac of 1832 about the varying rates of growth among the states, for example, Tocqueville penned the following reminder: “Ask Sedgwick the reason why certain states increase so infinitely faster than certain others?”46 Far more important, however, were the lengthy conversations which Tocqueville and Sedgwick shared and which offered repeated opportunities to test and develop ideas on a variety of topics, including some as important as federalism and American moeurs. Apparently Sedgwick listened and responded with considerable energy and intelligence, for one unexpected result of their experiences during January and February was a new and enduring friendship.
Lippitt was not as fortunate. His task, composing summaries and brief explanations of shelves-full of books and pamphlets on American political institutions, remained essentially that of a clerk; he even concluded his employment still unaware that the aristocrat who came each day to examine his work and occasionally to question him was engaged in drafting a book on the United States. Nonetheless, the more mechanical chore which Lippitt performed was essential, and his condensations and interpretations would perhaps have a significant influence on Tocqueville’s book, particularly on certain ideas about the states.47
The help given by the two men speeded Tocqueville’s work, and in March he told Nassau Senior of his intention to publish his first volume on “American Institutions” separately, probably in June of that year.48
But by the summer, he had abandoned this plan and was in the midst of his second volume. An early outline cited the following major chapter headings: “Of the government of the Democracy in America. What are the real advantages that American society derives from the government of the Democracy? Of the omnipotence of the majority in America and its harmful effects. What tends to moderate the omnipotence of the majority in America and to render the democratic republic practicable.”49
The significant omission from this scheme was Tocqueville’s last chapter on the future of the three races in America.50 The gap supports the suspicion, later felt by many readers of the Democracy, that the last section of the 1835 text was primarily an addendum, certainly one of interest and value, but nevertheless more an appendix than an integral portion of the work.51
In July, efforts to master these topics drew complaints from the author. “This second part makes my head spin. Nearly everything remains to do or to do again. What I now have is only an incomplete rough sketch and sometimes not one page out of three of the original manuscript remains.”52
At that time, he also began negotiations with his future publisher. Fearing that Gosselin might take some advantage,53 Tocqueville dispatched detailed descriptions of each meeting to Gustave. On 14 July he wrote: “Gosselin asked me what the title of the work would be. I had as yet thought only lightly about it, so that I was quite embarrassed. I answered however that my idea was to title the book: De l’empire de la Démocratie aux Etats-Unis.54 I have since given it some thought and I find the title good. It expresses well the general thought of the book and presents it in relief. What does my judge say about it?” He went on to warn Beaumont: “More than ever I am resolved to arrive at your place toward the fifteenth of next month [August] with my manuscript under my arm and my gun across my back. So prepare yourself in advance for all the exercises of mind and body. ... While waiting, I work as hard as I can in order to have a great deal for you to read.”55 “My judge” was to play the critic, listening to Tocqueville’s draft, challenging his ideas, and suggesting revisions.56
Others too would hear the complete work during the late summer and fall of 1834, but oral reactions alone did not satisfy Tocqueville. He had his manuscript copied in a fair hand, then sent it to certain members of his family and friends, and requested each recipient to criticize it as thoroughly as possible in writing. He titled the collected comments “Observations critiques de mon père, mes frères et Beaumont, sur mon ouvrage” and used them to make his final revisions during the last months of 1834.57
The first two volumes of the Democracy in America were published in January 1835, less than three years after the return from America.58 Tocqueville had accomplished almost the entire task between October 1833 and the end of 1834. Much of his speed resulted from personal discipline, single-minded purpose, and an ability to sustain an existence toute de tête for weeks at a time. But circumstances had also favored the project. He had enjoyed almost a year and a half of relatively sound health and of freedom from both professional and family responsibilities.
In 1835 Tocqueville hoped that the final portion of his work would follow within two or three years, yet the last two volumes were not destined to appear until April 1840. In the next half decade circumstances turned sour, and one obstacle after another arose between the author and his goal.
[1. ]Toc. to Eugène Stoffels, Paris, 21 February 1831, from the volume entitled Correspondance et oeuvres posthumes of the Oeuvres complètes edited by Gustave de Beaumont, 5:411–12; hereafter cited as O.C. (Bt.).
[2. ]All omissions are mine unless otherwise noted.
[3. ]Bt. to his father, aboard the Havre, 25 April 1831, copy, Beaumont Letters Home: 1831–32, Yale Tocqueville Mss. Collection, BIb2; hereafter cited as Bt. letters, Yale, BIb2. These letters have recently been edited and published by André Jardin and George Wilson Pierson, Lettres d’Amérique, 1831–1832 (hereafter cited as Bt. Lettres). For this item, see Bt. Lettres, p. 28.
[4. ]Bt. to his brother Jules, New York, 26 May 1831, copy, Bt. letters, Yale, BIb2. See Bt. Lettres, p. 48.
[5. ]Toc. to Edouard (brother), New York, 20 June 1831, copy, Tocqueville’s Letters Home: 1831–32, Yale Toc. Mss., BIa; hereafter cited as Toc. letters, Yale, BIa.
[6. ]The date of the decision to write separate works remains a point of controversy. See André Jardin’s discussion of the problem in his “Introduction,” pp. 17–20, in Correspondance d’Alexis de Tocqueville et de Gustave de Beaumont, ed. Jardin, 3 vols., O.C. (Mayer), tome 8, vol. 1. This meticulous and invaluable work is hereafter cited as O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8. His verdict, based largely on numerous letters which the two friends wrote to family and friends at home, is that at some time between July and November 1831, the previously projected single book became two. Cf. a similar view in Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 31–33, 511–23, where Beaumont’s awakening, during October and November 1831, to the problems of race in America is presented as the single most important catalyst for the eventual appearance of two separate works. But also see Tocqueville and Beaumont on Social Reform, ed. and trans. Seymour Drescher, pp. 210–11 (hereafter cited as Drescher, Social Reform), for a different opinion. It may also have been between June and September when the two friends first decided that Beaumont would concentrate on American moeurs and Tocqueville on the republic’s laws and institutions. By late September, both men began to write of “my” work. See pertinent letters home.
[7. ]Toc. to Bt., Paris, 4 April 1832, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 111–14.
[8. ]Toc. to Bt., Saint-Germain, 10 April 1832, ibid., pp. 114–16.
[9. ]Tocqueville was in Toulon in May and in June visited the prisons of Lausanne and Geneva. It should also be noted that he did contribute statistics and appendices for the report.
[10. ]Bt. to Toc., Paris, 17 May , O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 116–18. Beaumont’s concern for the future was compounded by his abrupt dismissal from his post with the government. Tocqueville responded by submitting his own resignation, so the unhappy affair at least left both men free to concentrate all their energies on their official and personal American works.
[11. ]Bt. to Lieber, Paris, 16 November 1832, Photostats of Lieber Correspondence (from the Huntington Library), Yale Toc. Mss., BVa. Lieber was to be the American translator of the prison report.
[12. ]In 1833, the book won the Prix Monthyon of the Académie française.
[13. ]For more detail, consult Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 685–87.
[14. ]Bt. to Toc., Paris, 7 August 1833, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 119–23.
[15. ]For a full account of this voyage (and for the later journey in 1835), see Seymour Drescher’s excellent Tocqueville and England and Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 688–92. Also indispensable are Tocqueville’s own travel notebooks, edited by J.-P. Mayer and published in English as Journeys to England and Ireland; hereafter cited as Mayer, Journeys to England.
[16. ]Toc. to Bt., Paris, 1 November 1833, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 136–38.
[17. ]Concerning the methods for observing and recording that the two travelers followed, consult Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 46–47, 77–80.
[18. ]The bulk of his travel cahiers were simply in chronological order. See American Trip, Diaries and Notes: 1831–32, copies, Yale Toc. Mss., BIIa,b; hereafter cited as American Diaries, Yale, BIIa,b. These copies should always be checked against the definitive fifth tome of the Oeuvres complètes, Voyages en Sicile et aux Etats-Unis, edited by J.-P. Mayer; hereafter cited as O.C. (Mayer), 5. Also see the convenient English edition, Mayer, Journey. (Note that for this book I have relied primarily on the Mayer editions rather than on the Yale copies of the diaries.)
[19. ]I am not certain that these activities occupied Tocqueville during October 1833. It is quite possible that he had tackled some of these preliminary chores during brief periods of calm that presumably occurred at scattered intervals between November 1832 and October 1833.
[20. ]“Sources manuscrites,” copy, Yale Toc. Mss., CIIc; hereafter cited as “Sources manuscrites,” Yale, CIIc.
[21. ]Tocqueville’s Reading Lists, copy, Yale Toc. Mss., CIIa; hereafter cited as Reading Lists, Yale, CIIa. There is also, in Beaumont’s hand, an additional bibliography labeled “Ouvrages littéraires,” which lists 27 titles; see Toc. Reading List, copy, Yale Toc. Mss., CIIb. Also consult Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 728–30.
[22. ]We should recall that the Democracy in America would ultimately appear in two parts, 1835 and 1840, and that each part would be divided into two volumes.
[23. ]Manuscript Drafts for the Democracy, Yale Toc. Mss., CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 1, p. 23; hereafter cited as Drafts, Yale, CVh. Many early notes, outlines, fragments, and other papers for the Democracy (both 1835 and 1840) were once copied for the Yale Toc. Mss. Collection. Since that time, most of the originals have been lost, so that only the Yale versions, divided in various paquets and labeled a–m, now exist. (The sole exception is Paquet 9, CVg, for which there are two boxes of original papers in addition to the copies; Alexis called these materials his “Rubish.”) It should be noted that while translating all previously unpublished excerpts drawn from the drafts, or from the Original Working Manuscript of the Democracy, Yale Toc. Mss., CVIa, I have often supplied necessary punctuation. In addition, since Tocqueville’s handwriting is frequently difficult to read, I have indicated all doubtful readings. All emphases within quotations are Tocqueville’s, unless otherwise noted.
[24. ]Democracy (Mayer), pp. 31–49.
[25. ]This is the opening chapter of Tocqueville’s book, Democracy (Mayer), pp. 23–30. For further discussion of Tocqueville’s evolving attitudes toward the American environment, see chapter 3 below.
[26. ]What happened to société religieuse? Perhaps Tocqueville had surrendered this topic to Beaumont when they had decided to divide the burden of America. Both the text and the extensive notes of Beaumont’s Marie, ou l’esclavage aux Etats-Unis would contain lengthy discussions of religion and religious sects in America. Although Tocqueville did not award a totally separate partie of his 1835 book to religion, he did devote to the subject three sections of a chapter from the second volume of the 1835 Democracy entitled “The Main Causes Tending to Maintain a Democratic Republic in the United States.” See the subheadings: “Religion Considered as a Political Institution ...”; “Indirect Influence of Religious Beliefs upon Political Society in the United States”; “The Main Causes That Make Religion Powerful in America.” See Democracy (Mayer), pp. 287–301. For an excellent discussion of this matter, consult Goldstein, Trial of Faith. Also see Goldstein’s article, “The Religious Beliefs of Alexis de Tocqueville.”
[27. ]Compare the last chapter of the first half of the 1835 Democracy, “The Federal Constitution,” Democracy (Mayer), pp. 112–70.
[28. ]Copyist’s note: illegible word.
[29. ]Compare the final table of contents for the first part of the 1835 Democracy, especially chapters 4–8.
[30. ]See Tocqueville’s fourth chapter, “The Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in America,” Democracy (Mayer), pp. 58–60.
[31. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 1, pp. 20–22.
[32. ]Consult Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 407–13. Also see Herbert B. Adams, “Jared Sparks and Alexis de Tocqueville.”
[33. ]Compare Democracy (Mayer), “Freedom of the Press in the United States,” pp. 180–88; “Political Association in the United States,” pp. 189–95; and the section from “What Tempers the Tyranny of the Majority in the United States” entitled “The Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution,” pp. 270–76.
[34. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 1, p. 22.
[35. ]Ibid., pp. 18–20. For the “Introduction,” see Democracy (Mayer), pp. 9–20.
[36. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 1, pp. 27–28, 64–67. The full title of the chapter, Tocqueville’s second, was “Concerning Their Point of Departure and Its Importance for the Future of the Anglo-Americans,” Democracy (Mayer), pp. 31–49. Pierson has also noted and praised Tocqueville’s concern for history; consult Pierson, “Second voyage,” Tocqueville: centenaire, pp. 73–76.
[37. ]Tocqueville to Kergolay, Paris, 13(?) November 1833, vol. 1, p. 344, Correspondance d’Alexis de Tocqueville et de Louis de Kergolay, text established by André Jardin, introduced and annotated by Jean-Alain Lesourd, 2 vols., O.C. (Mayer), tome 13; hereafter cited as O.C. (Mayer), Jardin and Lesourd, 13.
[38. ]Toc. to Bt., Paris, 1 November 1833, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 136–38.
[39. ]This description applies both to two boxes of original fragments, Drafts, Yale, CVg, “Rubish,” and to four boxes of the Original Working Manuscript of the Democracy, Yale Toc. Mss., CVIa. The final reading in the latter document usually differs in only minor ways from the text as it would appear in 1835 and 1840. But as a record of the last stages of Tocqueville’s thinking and writing process, the working manuscript is invaluable.
[40. ]This was the third chapter of the first volume of the 1835 Democracy. See “Social State of the Anglo-Americans,” Democracy (Mayer), pp. 50–57.
[41. ]Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 1. The reader’s identity is unknown. Cf. the opening paragraphs of the chapter on état social; Democracy (Mayer), p. 50.
[42. ]Chapter on état social, Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 1.
[43. ]The reader’s comment is in pencil and does not seem to be in Alexis’s hand; the author remains unknown. For further discussion of some meanings of démocratie, see chapter 19 below.
[44. ]This advertisement, undated, is found among copies of Tocqueville’s drafts. Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 2, p. 85.
[45. ]For the following account of the aid given by Sedgwick and Lippitt, I have relied heavily upon Pierson’s more complete discussion; see Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 731–34 and notes. Also compare an article about Lippitt’s contributions by Daniel C. Gilman, “Alexis de Tocqueville and His Book on America—Sixty Years After.”
[46. ]Reading Lists, Yale, CIIa.
[47. ]For elaboration, see chapter 7 below.
[48. ]Toc. to Senior, 24 March 1834, from a work edited by M. C. M. Simpson, entitled Correspondence and Conversations of Alexis de Tocqueville with Nassau William Senior from 1834 to 1859, 2 vols., 1:1–2; hereafter cited as Simpson, Correspondence with Senior. Tocqueville had already announced this scheme to Beaumont in November 1833; see O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 136–38.
[49. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 5, pp. 12–13. Tocqueville ultimately divided the last title into two chapters. Compare this list with the contents of the second part of the 1835 Democracy.
[50. ]“Some Considerations Concerning the Present State and Probable Future of the Three Races That Inhabit the Territory of the United States,” Democracy (Mayer), pp. 316–407.
[51. ]See, for example, the observations made by Rev. Benedict Gaston Songy, O.S.B., “Alexis de Tocqueville and Slavery: Judgments and Predictions,” p. 88; hereafter cited as Songy, “Toc. and Slavery.”
[52. ]Toc. to Bt., Paris, 5 July 1834, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 139–40.
[53. ]According to André Jardin, Gosselin apparently had a not-quite-unblemished reputation as a businessman; consult O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, p. 139 note.
[54. ]The proposed title had changed by January 1835, but no one has been able to discover exactly why or when the transformation took place. Compare the following notice found among the drafts for the 1835 Democracy: “M. de Tocqueville ... is preparing to publish in the coming month of October a work in two volumes which has ... America for its subject. This book will be titled: De l’empire de la Démocratie en Amérique.” This brief announcement, perhaps drawn up after a July meeting with Gosselin, indicated yet a different title and also an intention to publish the 1835 Democracy in October 1834; Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, p. 101. For a summary of the changing name of Tocqueville’s American work, see chapter 2, note 69, below.
[55. ]Toc. to Bt., Paris, 14 July 1834, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin, 8:1, pp. 140–43.
[56. ]Perhaps the very papers carried to Beaumont in August are those preserved as the Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa.
[57. ]The original of the “Observations critiques ...” has evidently been lost, but a copy is preserved in the Yale Toc. Mss. Collection; see “Observations critiques,” Yale, CIIIb, cahiers 1–3. Unfortunately, the authorship of the various comments is now difficult if not impossible to establish, for the best clue, handwriting, disappeared with the original. Remarks by Kergolay concerning Tocqueville’s “Introduction” were also included in the document. The “Observations” were largely stylistic, but some suggestions did challenge the content of Alexis’s book. His ideas were occasionally criticized as unclear, contradictory, mistaken, or politically unwise, and alternative readings, sometimes extensive, were frequently provided for the author to consider and, perhaps, to include. I have treated the “Observations” as though they were compiled during the last half of 1834. It is also possible that Tocqueville’s manuscript of the first part of the 1835 Democracy had been copied and circulated as early as the spring of 1834.
[58. ]The 1835 Democracy (vols. 1 and 2) won the Prix Monthyon in June 1836 and in 1838 secured for Tocqueville a seat in the Académie des sciences morales et politiques.