Front Page Titles (by Subject) PART VI: What Tocqueville Meant by Démocratie - The Making of Tocqueville's Democracy in America
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PART VI: What Tocqueville Meant by Démocratie - 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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What Tocqueville Meant by Démocratie
Some Meanings of Démocratie
Perhaps the most disconcerting feature of Tocqueville’s thought has always been his failure to pinpoint the meaning of démocratie. Many readers have been annoyed by the varied and constantly changing ways in which he used the term, and some have even attempted to identify, count, and analyze the major definitions which appeared in his classic work.1
Interestingly, Tocqueville’s working papers indicate that he, too, was troubled by his lack of precision and that, throughout the eight-year period of reflection and composition, he tried repeatedly to arrive at some adequate basic definition. His manuscripts provide, moreover, an intriguing and constantly expanding catalogue of the various facets of démocratie which he discovered between 1832 and 1840 while mentally turning and returning the concept.
In June 1831, after only a few weeks in America, Tocqueville penned a long letter to Louis de Kergolay describing his early impressions and musings. This missive contained an early definition of démocratie which was in many ways the most fundamental sense in which he would ever use the idea. With the United States in mind, he wrote: “Démocratie2 is ... either broadly advancing in certain states or as fully extended as imaginable in others. It is in the moeurs, in the laws, in the opinion of the majority.” But America, he hastened to persuade Louis, was not a solitary example. “We are going ... toward a démocratie without limits.... we are going there pushed by an irresistible force. All the efforts that people will make to stop the movement will achieve only temporary halts;... riches will tend more and more to become equal; the upper class, to dissolve into the middle; and the latter, to become immense and to impose its equality on all.... 3 In a word, démocratie seems to me, from now on, a fact which a government can claim to regulate, but not to stop.”4
Démocratie was thus an inescapable development, a brute fact of the modern world, one to which all intelligent men would have to accommodate themselves. More specifically, it was a pervasive tendency toward equality which affected property, moeurs, laws, opinions, and ultimately all other areas of society as well.5
Later, in drafts of the 1835 sections of his book, Tocqueville composed an apocalyptic description of this “Inevitable march of Démocratie.” “Démocratie! Don’t you notice that these are the waters of the Deluge? Don’t you see them advance unceasingly by a slow and irresistible effort; already they cover the fields and the cities; they roll over the ruined battlements of castles and even wash against the steps of thrones.... Instead of wishing to raise impotent dikes, let us rather seek to build the holy guardian ark which must carry the human species on this boundless ocean.”6
This irreversible current had obvious revolutionary implications, and Tocqueville was soon writing about yet another though closely related sense of démocratie: “this immense social Revolution.”7 “The social revolution I’m speaking about seems to me the great event of the modern world, the only one which is entirely new.”8
Such uses of démocratie as fact, trend, or revolution were all intimately connected to a still broader and more basic definition which soon appeared in Tocqueville’s rough drafts. Démocratie was a special social condition (état social) characterized by advancing equality. When writing of America, for example, he declared: “Society ... [in the United States] is profoundly democratic in its religion, in its ideas, in its passions, in its habits as in its laws.”9 And again: “The American societies have always been democratic by their nature.”10 Even more to the point, among remarks gathered under the heading “Of the Social State of the Americans,” he noted that “the outstanding feature of the état social of the Americans is to be democratic.”11 Such an equation of démocratie with a peculiar état social (and égalité) would be one of the constant themes of his 1835 volumes.12
Unfortunately, however, no single general definition would be reached so easily, for Tocqueville soon stumbled into a dilemma that would be one of the abiding puzzles of his work. “Démocratie constitutes the état social. The dogma of the sovereignty of the people [constitutes] the political rule. These two things are not analogous. Démocratie is a society’s fundamental condition (manière d’être). Sovereignty of the people [is] a form of government.”13
These sentences seemed merely to reinforce the idea of démocratie as état social. But the careful distinction between social conditions and political forms endured only until Tocqueville added in contradiction to his initial comments: “Note that in this chapter it is necessary never to confuse the état social with the political laws which proceed from it. Equality or inequality of conditions, which are facts, with Démocratie or aristocracy, which are laws—reexamine from this point of view.”14
Though démocratie was undoubtedly related in some way to égalité, a stubborn riddle had now been posed: was démocratie “a society’s fundamental condition (manière d’être)” (a social state tending toward equality), or certain “political laws”?15 Tocqueville would never be able to arrive at a satisfactory resolution of this problem, and his drafts, working manuscript, and text would consequently continue to offer both meanings, sometimes emphasizing one, sometimes stressing the other.16
In a determined attempt to end his confusion on this matter, he undertook an investigation of the link between social and political equality. “It is incontestable that wherever social equality reaches a certain level, men will make a simultaneous effort toward equality of political rights. Wherever the people come to sense their strength and power, they will want to take part in governing the State.”17 This idea did not succeed in ending his multiple uses of démocratie, but at least he had now stipulated that the social connotation of the word was more fundamental than its political one. Such a judgment followed his general inclination to weigh moeurs more than lois in the destiny of mankind. Quite incidentally, he had also indicated here that démocratie had something to do with civic equality (and the drive toward it).
But this observation still found Tocqueville far from exhausting his analysis of the political dimensions of démocratie. Between 1833 and 1835, he devoted considerable mental effort to this task and succeeded in isolating several different and significant political meanings.18 At one point, as we might have guessed, he leaned toward a definition cast in terms of an underlying principle. “Démocratie properly so called,” he decided, meant the “dogma of the sovereignty of the people” and the “principle of the majority” (majority rule).19 Elsewhere, however, he carefully distinguished between principle and actuality, and concluded that “the Sovereignty of the people and Démocratie are two words perfectly correlative; the one represents the theoretical idea; the other its practical realization.”20
Finally, after considering démocratie in its political sense from yet another point of view, he announced that “every time that the government of a people is the sincere and permanent expression of the will of the greatest number, the government, whatever its form, is democratic.”21 In his working manuscript Tocqueville occasionally used the terms “Democratic Republics,” “Democratic states,” and “Democracies” interchangeably.22
So démocratie, as “political laws,” was a principle (sovereignty of the people or majority rule), the actual operation of that principle (widespread political participation and legal and civic equality), and any government based on the will of the people (a democracy). We should also remember that, particularly in this last sense, démocratie as Tocqueville understood it had no necessary connection with liberty; as we have seen, Tocqueville was very much aware that the will of the people might well support despotism. Democracy, for him, always inclined more easily toward tyranny than toward liberty.
These political meanings also had some crucial implications about who governed and eventually carried Tocqueville to yet another definition of his key word. “Democratic government, by giving an equal right to all citizens and by having all political questions decided by the majority, in reality gives the power to govern the society to the lower classes (classes inférieures) since these classes must always compose the majority. That is to say that under the rule of the Democracy (l’empire de la Démocratie) it is the less enlightened who lead those who are more [enlightened].”23
An additional draft developed the same theme: “I wish that the upper classes (hautes classes) and the middle classes (classes moyennes) of all of Europe were as persuaded as I am myself that henceforth it is no longer a matter of knowing if the people (le peuple) will attain power, but in what manner they will use their power. That is the great problem of the future. I wish that in their leisure they [the upper and middle classes] would apply themselves to inquiring into what society will become in the hands of a restless democracy (une démocratie inquiète) whose movements will not be regulated either by the situation of the country, laws, experience, or moeurs.... The great, the capital interest of the century is the organization and the education of the democracy (la démocratie).”24
Here, for the first time, Tocqueville equated la démocratie and le peuple. So démocratie was not only a leveling tendency, or a social condition, or political principles and forms, but also the people themselves. But what precisely did he mean by le peuple?
In the “Observations critiques,” one reader, perhaps Beaumont, who had seen America firsthand, wondered: “What is le peuple in a society where ranks, fortunes, and intelligence approach as much as possible the level of equality? Assuredly the word peuple in the New World has in no sense the same meaning as among us.”25
Almost as if in anticipation of this query, Tocqueville had earlier offered a brief explanation. “Le peuple: [I understand] this word in the sense not of a class but of all classes of citizens, the people.”26 Rarely, however, did Tocqueville respect this broad definition; instead he continued to write of la Démocratie as if it were synonymous with the lower classes (les classes inférieures).27 Writing of the situation in France, for example, he complained that “The most intelligent and moral portion28 of the nation has not sought to take hold of it [the democracy] and to direct it. So la Démocratie has been abandoned to its savage instincts; it has grown up like those children deprived of bodily care who grow up in the streets of our cities and who know only the vices and miseries of society.”29 Elsewhere he pleaded: “If it were true that there were a way to save future races from the frightful peril30 that menaces them, if there existed a way to raise the moral standards, to instruct, to mold the Démocratie and ... to save it from itself, would it not be necessary to seize it?”31
In the context of this particular definition, the phrase l’empire de la Démocratie (quoted above) takes on considerable new significance. It should be recalled that in the summer of 1834, in the midst of these reflections about the meanings of démocratie, Tocqueville had actually decided to title his first two volumes De l’empire de la Démocratie aux Etats-Unis.32 Perhaps this resolution indicated the full extent of his preoccupation at that time with démocratie as le peuple.
In France and the rest of Europe, democracy had long been associated with confusion and anarchy.33 Tocqueville denied the necessity of any such connection, but while writing his masterpiece, he did develop a theory somewhat related to this popular usage. He began to link démocratie with activity, change, and le mouvement. The idea of démocratie as mobility (especially social and economic) initially appeared in drafts for the first part of his work (1835). When reflecting, for example, about the constantly shifting ownership of wealth and the fluidity of class lines in America, Tocqueville observed: “What is most important to Démocratie, is not that there are no great fortunes, but that great fortunes do not remain in the same hands. In this way, there are rich people, but they do not form a class.”34 The 1835 text, in the section entitled “Activity Prevailing in All Parts of the Political Body in the United States; The Influence Thereby Exerted on Society,”35 would particularly stress the movement, the energy, and the bustle which seemed so integral a part of America. After describing in detail “a sort of tumult; a confused clamor” that he had discovered in the United States, he would remark that “The great political movement ... is only an episode and a sort of extension of the universal movement, which begins in the lowest ranks of the people and thence spreads successively through all classes of citizens.”36
Expanding this idea, he would add: “That constantly renewed agitation introduced by democratic government into political life passes, then, into civil society.... Democracy ... spreads throughout the body social a restless activity, superabundant force, and energy never found elsewhere, which, however little favored by circumstances, can do wonders (enfanter des merveilles).”37 So according to Tocqueville, an intimate connection did exist between such activity and energy and démocratie. But when his first volumes appeared, his focus still remained primarily on the United States. Only after 1835 would the concept of démocratie as le mouvement (or mobility) free itself of its American context and become a major part of his understanding of democracy.
The problem of defining démocratie did not end with the publication of the first portion of Tocqueville’s book; between 1835 and 1840, his drafts repeated most of the meanings we have already noted. But his working papers for that period also introduced at least one almost new use of the word, offered a few final attempts at an inclusive definition of démocratie, and, more important, demonstrated some significant changes of emphasis in his thinking.
His almost new use of démocratie was somewhat related to the earlier debate over who le peuple was. As early as 1831, in the letter to Kergolay quoted above, Tocqueville had hinted that démocratie had something to do with la classe moyenne.38 By 1835, however, this idea became much more specific; we have observed Tocqueville in England musing about the connection between industry and democracy and describing a particular “class apart ... where instincts are all democratic.... As a people expands its commerce and its industry, this democratic class becomes more numerous and more influential; little by little its opinions pass into the moeurs and its ideas into the laws, until finally having become preponderant and, so to speak, unique, it takes hold of power, directs everything as it likes, and establishes democracy.”39 In the rough drafts and working manuscript of the 1840 volumes, he at least once called the English middle class “une immense Démocratie.”40 In the margin of a description of the rising power and prominence of la classe industrielle, or bourgeoisie, he scribbled the following phrase: “la classe Démocratique par excellence.”41 So, démocratie, on some occasions, could also mean la classe moyenne, as well as les classes inférieures or le peuple.42
Just after his debut in 1835 as famous author, Tocqueville patiently tried to explain some of his major ideas to a disturbed Kergolay, and in the process, he offered a significant restatement of a familiar definition: “I am as convinced as one can be of something in this world that we are carried irresistibly by our laws and by our moeurs toward an almost complete equality of conditions. Conditions once equal, I admit that I no longer see any intermediary between a democratic government (and by this word I understand not a republic, but a condition in the society where everyone more or less takes part in public affairs) and the government of an individual (d’un seul) operating without control.”43
Tocqueville’s explanation clearly distinguished once again between démocratie as a profound social movement and démocratie as particular political structures. Beyond this, however, Tocqueville here indicated his belief that political democracy did not demand republican forms, that it was not incompatible with monarchy. Politically the essential feature of a democracy was, he declared, some degree of effective participation in public affairs by the citizenry. Here was yet another specific definition of démocratie (in its political sense). But the focus in this letter to his friend was on égalité des conditions and the trend toward it. In fact, so frequently did the drafts of Tocqueville’s last volumes repeat and reinforce that emphasis, that between 1836 and 1840 égalité or égalité des conditions became, more than ever, the single most important definition of démocratie.44 A list of chapters under the general heading “On the Taste for Material Pleasures in Democracies” included, for example, a section labeled: “How Equality of Conditions (or Democracy) Carries Americans toward Industrial Professions.”45
A similarly revealing choice occurred when he selected a name for the last major section of his work. The “Rubish” harbored the “great chapter entitled: How the Ideas and the Sentiments That Equality Suggests Influence the Political Constitution.” But the 1840 text would call this part: “On the Influence of Democratic Ideas and Feelings on Political Society.”46
Even the working manuscript offered numerous instances of Tocqueville’s pronounced tendency between 1835 and 1840 to use démocratie and égalité (or égalité des conditions) interchangeably.47 Perhaps it was his growing preoccupation with this particular sense of démocratie that led him once again to consider a different title for his grande affaire. In the fall of 1839, he had temporarily decided to call his last two volumes [De] l’influence de l’égalité sur les idées et les sentiments des hommes rather than simply De la Démocratie en Amérique, volumes three and four.48
Despite his frequent use of démocratie as égalité, Tocqueville was also fully aware that his discussions in this vein were purely theoretical. “In order to make myself well understood I am constantly obliged to portray extreme states, an aristocracy without a mixture of démocratie, a démocratie without a mixture of aristocracy, a perfect equality, which is an imaginary state. It happens then that I attribute to one or the other of the two principles more complete effects than those that in general they produce, because in general they are not alone.”49 His use of exaggerated portraits was an increasingly important intellectual device for Tocqueville and helped him to push his thoughts forward. Especially after 1835 he found such an analytical tool useful as he struggled to distinguish not only aristocratic and democratic features, but also American and democratic, transitional and democratic, and revolutionary and democratic. (In this technique, he was of course anticipating the common use of “models” or “types” by modern social scientists.)
Tocqueville’s recognition of the dangers of dealing with “imaginary states” eventually drove him in the summer of 1838 to attempt a final, more subtle definition of démocratie: he returned to the concept of démocratie as mobility.
Explain somewhere what I understand by centuries of equality democracy.50 It is not this chimerical time when all men are perfectly alike and equal, but (1) when a very great number of them will be ... 51 and when an even greater number will fall sometimes below sometimes above, but not far from the common measure; (2) when there will not be permanent classification, caste, class, unbreachable barrier, or even one very difficult to breach; so that if all men are not equal, they can all aspire to the same point;... so that a common standard makes itself [felt]52 against which all men measure themselves in advance. This spreads the feeling of equality (le sentiment de l’égalité) even in the midst of unequal conditions—22 June 1838.53
Démocratie thus implied an open society, one without extreme or fixed distinctions,54 and especially one that fostered the hope or belief that opportunities existed and that full equality was possible (le sentiment de l’égalité). In a democratic nation, people would be persuaded that, in certain respects, they were all equal and that society offered real possibilities for the achievement of individual aspirations. On the basis of such convictions, they would organize their efforts and conduct their lives. In the New World republic Tocqueville had noticed that these beliefs had become a central part of the national myth.55 Tocqueville’s recognition that democratic times would be marked by a pervasive sense or feeling of equality—despite any actual inequalities—led him to yet another significant facet of démocratie: its psychological dimension, the unshakable conviction of equality.
In other drafts, Tocqueville continued to pursue the idea of démocratie as mobility. “A democratic people, society, time do not mean a people, a society, a time when all men are equal, but a people, a society, a time when there are no more castes, fixed classes, privileges, special and exclusive rights, permanent riches, properties fixed in the hands of certain families, when all men can continuously climb and descend and mix together in all ways. When I mean this in the political sense, I say Démocratie. When I want to speak of the effects of equality, I say égalité.”56
Here he neglected the important psychological element of democratic times, le sentiment de l’égalité, but presented a final attempt to separate the political and social senses of his central concept. He began by assuming a society characterized by social and economic mobility and relative legal and civic equality. When considering the political aspects of such a fluid society, he would use the word démocratie. When thinking of the more general (social? or economic? or cultural? or intellectual?) consequences of such a society, he would write: égalité. This effort, still far from satisfactory, was the closest Tocqueville ever came to solving the riddle that had troubled him since at least 1833.
If any single solution did exist, however, it probably rested with Tocqueville’s recurring concept of the two levels of démocratie: social and political. On the one hand, democracy was an underlying social condition (characterized by advancing equality and mobility). On the other hand, democracy meant certain political laws and forms (such as widespread suffrage, freedom of association and other civil liberties, and structures for expressing the will of the citizenry). The first was especially the providential, inevitable fact with which all people would have to reckon. The second was perhaps equally inescapable (since social democracy tended to carry political democracy in its wake), but at least to some extent the impeding or furthering of political democracy depended on the efforts of men.
Most significantly, Tocqueville believed that the key to liberty in democratic times was the proper matching or balancing of these two fundamental senses of démocratie. One of the characteristics most attractive to Tocqueville about America was the “universal” nature of democracy in the New World republic; democracy had influenced every aspect of American life; there society and politics were in harmony. He repeatedly stressed that, in Europe, the only reasonable cure for the potential flaws of social democracy was the introduction of greater political democracy. “For there is only Democracy (by this word I understand self-government) which can lessen and make bearable the inevitable evils of a democratic social state. 5 September 1838.”57 And again: “Many people consider democratic civil laws as an evil and democratic political laws as another and greater evil; as for me, I say that the one is the only remedy that one can apply to the other. The whole idea of my politics is here.”58
This persistent duality reflected not only the nearly insurmountable difficulty of precisely defining the “fact” of démocratie, but also echoed Tocqueville’s earlier distinction between moeurs and laws (lois) and the power which humanity had over them. Social democracy (like moeurs) was more fundamental and, at the same time, less amenable to human effort. Political democracy (like lois) was less fundamental (though still extremely important), but could be shaped by the power of men. So human energy, Tocqueville advised, should be directed not toward any useless attempt to retard or to deflect democracy as a developing social condition. Intelligent individuals should labor to introduce political democracy and so to “educate” and “mold” the people. “Use Democracy to moderate Democracy. It is the only path to salvation that is open to us.... Beyond that all is foolish and imprudent.”59 Here again was the immense burden of human responsibility to which Tocqueville was always so sensitive.
Tocqueville never abandoned his plural meanings of démocratie. Throughout the four volumes of his work, the concept continued to conjure up a multitude of trends and conditions, laws and attitudes, political forms and social groups. Furthermore, within this cluster of definitions, he frequently shifted primary attention from one to another, from état-social to lois politiques and back again, or from le peuple to l’égalité, and then to le sentiment de l’égalité and le mouvement. But these shifts in emphasis implied neither that other uses had been forgotten nor that one particular meaning was ultimately the single most important; these changes merely reflected his desire to establish as broad and as thorough a definition as possible and his recurring tendency, while drafting his grande affaire, to focus on one idea to the temporary exclusion of competing ones.
Tocqueville’s very failure precisely to define démocratie accounts, in part, for the brilliance of his observations. If he had at one time fixed definitively upon a single meaning, all of the others would have been more or less lost from sight. His vision would have been at once restricted, his message narrowed, and his audience diminished. His extraordinary ability to imagine and to consider so many different uses, to revolve the idea so continuously in his mind, led to the richness and profundity of his insights.
Tocqueville’s Return to America
Our reconstruction of Alexis de Tocqueville’s long process of observation, reading, thinking, and writing the Democracy has offered the possibility of some new insights about Tocqueville’s famous book. First of all, we have reexamined many of Tocqueville’s sources and unearthed some new or almost new roots. As we have watched Tocqueville drawing in turn on his French, American, English, and then again on his French experiences, we have had a chance to reevaluate the contributions of many of his American, English, and French friends. Numerous additional specific echoes in Tocqueville’s volumes of statements by such key American acquaintances as Timothy Walker, Joel Poinsett, John Latrobe, Francis Gray, and Jared Sparks have been identified. The significance of comments by such Englishmen as Dr. Bowring and John Stuart Mill and the important impact of Beaumont, Tocqueville’s father, Louis de Kergolay, and other countrymen have been noted. Louis, in particular, helped immensely to shape the form and the content of the Democracy; especially after 1835, his influence rivaled even that of Beaumont.
Although specific connections between the Democracy and some of Tocqueville’s more far-ranging and profound readings during the 1830s are still obscure, new traces of his printed American sources, especially the books by William Darby, Isaac Goodwin, William Rawle, Joseph Story, and others have become apparent. The thoroughness and quality of Tocqueville’s research, especially in the fields of history, law, the American Constitution, and in the particular issues of the Jacksonian period, have been successfully tested once again.
Tocqueville’s papers have also disclosed a surprisingly extensive use of certain essays from the Federalist. He listened carefully to the opinions and arguments of Alexander Hamilton and especially James Madison, whose contributions to the Democracy were greater than most readers have realized. Our examination of the growth of the Democracy has shown Tocqueville often informed and stimulated, usually persuaded, and occasionally misled by “Publius.”
In addition Tocqueville echoed Montesquieu’s ideas on certain matters (like the relative nature of political institutions and the disadvantages of size) and questioned and revised his predecessor’s opinions on other issues (like the role of virtue in republics). On such themes as the danger of concentrated power, the value of local liberties, the need for associations and a free press, the rise of the middle classes, and the advance of “civilization,” Tocqueville also closely paralleled the writings of nineteenth-century French figures like Benjamin Constant, Pierre-Paul Royer-Collard, and François Guizot.
But the sources for Tocqueville and his book went beyond his voyages to America and England, his friends, and his readings. The Democracy in America also reflected the concerns of contemporary France. Many topics that appeared in Tocqueville’s pages were issues debated constantly in France throughout the early nineteenth century and were therefore familiar to his countrymen. Was France overly centralized? Should the communes be more free to regulate their own affairs? Were associations too subversive to be allowed? Should the institution of the jury be introduced more broadly? How much independence and prerogative were appropriate for judges? Should the press be more, or less free? Was the right of suffrage too narrowly extended? Such chronic questions shaped one of the purposes of the Democracy: Tocqueville desired to teach France and to present a specific political program that would appeal to a segment of French opinion broad enough to lead to reform.
Other contemporary problems also captured Tocqueville’s interest. After the revolution of 1830 and the disappointments of the July regime, many individuals like Kergolay or Eugène Stoffels had retreated into an internal exile, withdrawing from all public affairs. Others, like Tocqueville’s own Norman constituents, seemed increasingly absorbed in self-promotion and material interests, and more and more unable to approach public issues from the viewpoint of the common good. Such developments helped to stimulate Tocqueville’s thoughts about democratic materialism, égoïsme, and, eventually, individualisme. The growth of government involvement in French industry helped to alert Tocqueville to the connection between industrialization and centralization. So certain parts of the Democracy grew even more out of France than out of America. Sometimes, the immediacy of some of these concerns even made him almost forget about America.
French politics of the 1830s also had an effect on Tocqueville’s work. His desire for a reputation which would lead to a significant political role was another of the reasons for the writing of the Democracy; and by the late 1830s political campaigns and legislative duties helped to delay its completion. More broadly, Tocqueville’s ambivalent attitudes about the politics and politicians of his day entered into the tone of his book. His mixed feelings encouraged him to disassociate himself and his book from all particular parties or points of view and to assume a stance of lofty detachment. “I did not intend to serve or to combat any party; I have tried to see not differently but further than any party; while they are busy with tomorrow, I have wished to consider the whole future.”1
Still another influence on Tocqueville’s thinking was French history. We have noticed how knowledge of the Convention, for example, encouraged Tocqueville in 1835 to stress the dangers of legislative despotism, and how memories of Napoleon made him always suspicious about military leaders. Indeed, some events in the French past had too deep an impact on Tocqueville; they sometimes prevented him from perceiving new dangers.
Our step-by-step re-creation of the development of the Democracy has, in addition, disclosed many of the methods by which Tocqueville studied, wrote, and thought, including his early efforts to organize his materials and plan the task of composition and how and where he actually first set pen to page. Periodically he felt a need for the stimulation of “good instruments of conversation,” usually Beaumont and Kergolay, both of whom served as invaluable critics and intellectual companions. And sometimes Tocqueville shaped and pruned the Democracy with an eye on the scope of the works of others like Beaumont or Michel Chevalier.
He repeatedly sought, for one particular subject or another, to grasp some basic organizing principle, the idée-mère, or to expose some irreducible precondition, the point de départ. In order to resolve certain paradoxes inherent in the French situation during the early nineteenth century, he emphasized the concepts of époque de transition and esprit révolutionnaire. The latter idea grew quickly from a convenient mental tool which helped him to get over some theoretical difficulties into an important theme of the final portion of his work. He also occasionally resorted to “models” or “types” to clarify his thinking; démocratie and aristocratie are the most famous examples of his use of this technique, but the drafts of Tocqueville’s book have disclosed other instances of this method as well.
Tocqueville’s interest in presenting fresh viewpoints sometimes led him to stress the originality of his insights by calling for new names. With Madison, he dubbed the unique American federal system “an incomplete national government”; he urged a “new science of politics,” labeled a particular cluster of democratic traits individualisme (in 1840 a relatively new term which he thereafter helped to popularize), and warned against a new despotism.
Still another methodological trait vividly demonstrated by the successive drafts of the Democracy is Tocqueville’s sensitivity to style. For him, form could emphatically not be detached from content. He labored toward a high ideal of literary craftsmanship (and quite probably took Montesquieu as his standard); the qualities which he sought were clarity, directness, a sparseness or economy of language, and a certain detachment, in short, a style marked by elegant and precise restraint. To achieve this goal he solicited oral and written critiques from friends and family and relentlessly reworked his words, sentences, paragraphs, and chapters looking for the best possible use of words and order of ideas. It was this effort which produced his many memorable phrases as well.
With the attainment of a certain style in mind, he also took pains to excise passionate or exaggerated passages from his drafts and working manuscript. Much of the cool detachment of the Democracy arose rather naturally from the author’s own personality, but some also resulted from his determined efforts, on more than one occasion, to suppress the dogmatism and emotionalism which sometimes broke forth when he was immersed in the excitement of composition. His working papers reveal, for example, a softening of his strong pronouncements about Jefferson’s political legacy and the “certain” future of the Union, a calming of his excited alarms about the abilities of le peuple and the survival of European civilization, and a lightening of his dark pessimism about the future of liberty.
But Tocqueville’s compulsion to revision arose from more than stylistic considerations. He was extremely self-conscious about his book. The drafts and manuscripts of the Democracy are everywhere sprinkled with Tocqueville’s comments to himself. The margins abound with his own curious criticisms, questions, warnings, and especially with reminders to himself about major themes and larger purposes. As his book developed, there was a striking running attempt to keep fundamental motifs in view, and a constant measuring of what he wrote against the basic tasks he hoped to accomplish. A major difficulty was the multiplicity of his objectives. Was he attempting to describe the American republic to his countrymen? To trace the advance of démocratie and its effects? To save France by suggesting possible ways to reconcile liberty and equality? To publish a work which would assure a prominent future for Alexis de Tocqueville? The fact that he usually had several purposes simultaneously in view only complicated his efforts to pare away what might be irrelevant or harmful to his goals.
Even more fundamental than his striving for literary excellence is the characteristic style of logic or pattern of thought which emerges from our story of Tocqueville’s second voyage. Tocqueville repeatedly clarified and deepened his thought by means of comparisons and distinctions. He set, for example, Ohio against Kentucky, Quebec against New Orleans, and—most important—France against both America and England. He separated sudden from gradual death of the Union; governmental from administrative centralization; one variety of despotism from another; the specific (political and legal) from the general (moral and intellectual) tyranny of the majority; the cultural vulnerability of semicivilized peoples from the deeply rooted civilization of modern Europeans; the égoïsme of old from the individualisme of today; and démocratie defined politically from démocratie defined socially.
Such frequent use of comparisons and distinctions is related to a more general trait: Tocqueville’s tendency to think in terms of contraries or pairs in tension. In his analyses of the results of démocratie and of the relationship between the individual and society, for example, he was grappling with near paradoxes, with almost opposites. And occasionally he moved too boldly and fell into true contradiction. Sometimes he extricated himself; at other times he apparently failed even to recognize his predicament. So the making of the Democracy seems to reveal a mind marked by superb analytical powers and, beyond that, by a rarer facility for original insights and bold theoretical leaps. If this sometimes led Tocqueville into errors or caused him to overshoot the factual basis for some of his ideas, readers must consider whether his brilliant contributions to our understanding of society do not more than balance these flaws.
Yet another major feature of Tocqueville’s pattern of thought should be considered. The author of the Democracy never ceased turning and returning his ideas; his work is built out of a long accumulation of information, opinions, insights, and second thoughts. This unending process of reconsideration was not only in the mind but also on the page. Time itself became an important ingredient in the making of the Democracy. This gradual but relentless building up of ideas produced a book far longer and far wider in scope than Tocqueville had originally conceived.
Tocqueville’s commitment to ongoing reconsideration occasionally suggested a method of postponement when he was wrestling with particularly stubborn issues. He assumed that he would come back to such puzzles later; time would presumably produce the needed fresh insights. Sometimes this strategy had its rewards. But a few problems, like the definitions of circonstances or démocratie, proved insoluble even after long periods of rumination. In these instances, postponement lengthened into a kind of abandonment.
Tocqueville’s constant revolving of ideas (and the sheer passage of time) also help to explain many of his ambiguities and confusions. While concentrating on a newly perceived facet of some complex concept (like démocratie), Tocqueville could hardly fail, at times, to forget what he had previously discovered. It was almost impossible to keep so many notions in mind simultaneously.
So his determination to analyze each notion from as many viewpoints as possible, to discover all possible dimensions, was a vital part of his second journey. If this constant reconsideration must bear some blame for his recognized inability adequately to define some of his key concepts, it must also be credited with producing some of Tocqueville’s most perceptive ideas. Above all, his instinct for thoroughness should make us sufficiently wary of attempting to impose too much consistency on his thought. Such a straining after unity would also obscure the chronological dimensions of his ideas, and neither the slow maturation, nor the false starts, rapid reversals, and forgotten paths should be overlooked. So we must abandon any searches for the coherent system of a philosopher and concentrate instead on capturing the pluralism and diversity of Tocqueville’s mind. These are some of the essential qualities which continuously attract thoughtful people to his work.
The diverse and sometimes strange ways in which Tocqueville’s concepts developed have also been illuminated by our study of the Democracy. One or two of his ideas were never quite born (the impact of démocratie on education). Some withered early (the role of physical environment, the importance of internal improvements), and others matured late. Among the late bloomers, some had appeared (at least in germ) in the 1835 Democracy, but by 1840 had assumed far greater importance: the New Despotism, égoïsme/individualisme, the democratic threat to freedom of thought, the crowd or mass, and démocratie defined as le mouvement. Others had belatedly made first appearances in the working papers of the 1840 volumes, but had grown rapidly from then on: for example, the mutual reinforcement of démocratie and industry; and Tocqueville’s mental encounter with that powerful trio of forces, démocratie, industrialization, and revolution.
Some concepts slowly faded after an early blossoming in 1835 (legislative despotism, the image of a reborn tyranny of the Caesars, démocratie as le peuple), and others flourished increasingly throughout all stages of the making of the Democracy (the role of moeurs, the value of associations and other means to link the ideas and unite the actions of isolated citizens; and démocratie as equality of conditions). A few ideas were so fundamental that for nearly a decade they were almost unchanging: the inevitable advance of démocratie itself, the tendency toward centralization, the tension between the individual and the society as a whole, and Tocqueville’s concern for the freedom and dignity of each person.
Some notions were lost, among others: the personal repudiation of racial theories which Tocqueville developed during the 1830s, his condemnation of Jefferson’s administration, his stated preference for democratic monarchy, and especially his belief that industrialization ranked with démocratie as the two great features of modern Western history. Still others, first appearing before 1835 and then not reemerging until 1840, were lost temporarily: the rise of a new industrial aristocracy and the troublesome problem of the influence of démocratie on civilization, for instance.
Although some preconceptions were uprooted (the influence of géographie and the identity of the American pioneer), certain beliefs were too deeply imbedded to be shaken by any contradictory experience or testimony (the benefits of the jury, the advantages of independent localities, and the distrust of size).
Confusions and unresolved dilemmas also sometimes mark the Democracy. Was the republic an indivisible Union or a compact of states? Were the states more villains or benefactors for the American future? What about the ambiguities left by Tocqueville’s attempts to distinguish two centralizations and to identify various despotisms? How were his readers to reconcile his disclaimer that the majority actually abused its power in America and his declaration that intellectual liberty did not exist there? If démocratie encouraged a love of independence and a distrust of authority, how did it also lead so easily to the concentration of power? What finally did he mean by circonstances, or majorité, or individualisme, or démocratie?
Nor should we overlook the many paradoxes of his thought, some that Tocqueville recognized and presented for his readers to ponder, others that he never saw. He visited America, but thought of France. He disliked politics, but offered an agenda of reform and became an important political figure. He proposed to escape the evils of democracy by introducing more democracy and hoped to strengthen indépendance individuelle by combating individualisme.
His concept of démocratie caught him in yet another paradox which perhaps he never resolved. He spoke about the providential fact of democracy’s advance and seemed to understand the increasing equality of conditions as a divine and therefore inescapable necessity. Yet he also repeatedly denounced the fatalists, the prophets of necessity, the people like Gobineau who bound humanity to iron laws.2 He always insisted with some vehemence that human beings were free and therefore had the responsibility for moral choices. For him, humankind could never be merely a pawn to the fates, to the forces of environment, race, climate or whatever, or even to God. Perhaps the closest he ever came to reconciling this dilemma of inevitable equality and human choice was the final passage of the 1840 Democracy. “Providence did not make mankind entirely free or completely enslaved. Providence has, in truth, drawn a predestined circle around each man beyond which he cannot pass; but within those vast limits man is strong and free, and so are peoples.”3 Whether this resolved or simply sidestepped the issue each reader must judge for himself.
There is a common impression that Tocqueville was basically uninterested in and unacquainted with economic and technological matters. He is often criticized for missing perhaps the major developments of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Clearly his primary intellectual interests were elsewhere; his mind, like Montesquieu’s, inclined toward political theory as it related to broader social, cultural, intellectual, and moral questions. He conceived of the Democracy as primarily “un ouvrage philosophico-politique.” This did not mean, however, that he ignored or remained misinformed about economic developments. In the New World he was very much aware of many of the important economic and technological changes occurring around him. He grasped the scope and the significance of the physical transformation that Jacksonian America was undergoing. He put his finger on two crucial features of the American economy then just taking shape: the rise of the corporation and the development of a complex, pluralistic approach to economic activities that blended public (federal, state, and local) and private (individual and corporate) efforts in an amazing variety of ways. He also noticed the rage of Americans for the latest improvement and their peculiar philosophy of planned obsolescence. And if, in 1831 and 1832, he failed to appreciate the future importance of manufacturing in the United States, he did not by the late 1830s continue to make quite the same mistake (at least for Europe). By 1838 he was persuaded that industrialization and increasing equality were the two great forces of the times. He worried, as early as 1833 or 1834, about the rise of an industrial aristocracy, wrestled with the connection between decentralization and economic prosperity, and by the late 1830s, recognized and explored the ways in which industry, centralization, and démocratie strengthened one another and moved relentlessly ahead together.
The drafts, working manuscript, and “Rubish,” as well as the published text of the Democracy, thus demonstrate in many places that Tocqueville was aware of the various ways in which economic attitudes, institutions, and changes influenced society. So the Democracy’s relative lack of attention to economics and technology should not be exaggerated. Nor should it be primarily attributed to either gaps in knowledge or failures of insight. Tocqueville’s choices of emphasis arose from his determination to keep his book focused on his major subject, from his personal interests, from his beliefs about where he could make the most original contributions, and most important, from his moral assumptions about which areas of human activity were most truly fundamental.4
For some readers, Tocqueville’s warnings against an omnipresent central government and his unforgettable prophecies about the regime of the New Despotism unfortunately obscure his profound attachment to what he admired most about démocratie: its “liberal instincts.” The perennial lack of submissiveness, the anti-authoritarian bias, and the unquenchable discontent which democracy bred were delights for Tocqueville. He knew that a free society would not necessarily be one of order and tranquillity and observed in the 1840 Democracy that “I cannot forget that all nations have been enslaved by being kept in good order.... A nation that asks nothing of its government but the maintenance of order is already a slave at heart.”5 Liberty almost always had its loose ends, its confusions, its storms and upheavals.
To nurture these “liberal instincts” and thus to preserve freedom in democratic times, he championed greater freedom of assembly, association, speech, and press (as well as wider suffrage). In the context of his age he was something of a civil libertarian staunchly protecting the individual in the face of the pressures of the wider society. “Everything that in our times raises up the idea of the individual is healthy.... The doctrine of the realists, introduced to the political world ... is what facilitates despotism, centralization, contempt for individual rights, the doctrine of necessity, all the institutions and the doctrines which permit the social body to trample men underfoot and which make the nation everything and the citizens nothing.”6 If Tocqueville can be taken for some neoconservative carping about an active government, he can also be read as a civil libertarian rushing in wherever the individual seems in danger. But either view distorts a position that was at once original and highly complex.
One of the most intriguing characteristics of the Democracy, despite the extended period of its growth, is the essential harmony of the whole. Despite some errors which Tocqueville hoped to correct and some opinions which he wanted to revise, almost all significant changes in ideas between 1835 and 1840 resulted from the gradual maturation of Tocqueville’s thinking. During the 1830s he did not so much reverse judgments as flesh out earlier ideas. The number of times that a chapter or whole group of chapters from the last half of the Democracy may be traced directly back to germs in a sentence or paragraph of the first two volumes is remarkable.7 We should not exaggerate the concept of two Democracies, suggestive though it is in certain respects.8
This is not to deny that some of the differences between the first and second parts of Tocqueville’s book are significant. A process of broadening out, of always expanding dimensions, was crucial to the making of the Democracy. After 1835, Tocqueville’s readings were drawn from a much wider range of time and place. America faded more and more into the background. In 1835 Tocqueville’s journey was still fresh; his reflections were more or less grounded in specific conversations, experiences, impressions, and information. He was right when he described his first effort as somehow more tangible, more solid. But, by 1840, the whole American experience had become something of a recollection; by then it was intimately intermingled with new lessons of all sorts, and much of the immediacy was gone. Deeper knowledge of England as well as greater direct involvement in contemporary French public affairs also led him to ever more frequent consideration of those two nations. His comparisons became more often three-cornered. His attention was increasingly captured by developments other than the advance of démocratie. So his work not only became less American and more democratic, but it also outgrew the limits of one or even two nations and moved beyond démocratie to consider other major social forces as well. The second half of the Democracy, as Tocqueville himself suspected, turned out to be far more abstract, theoretical, and demanding.
Tocqueville’s tendency to wander over an ever-wider mental range, to move always farther from the specific, helped to produce both the strengths and weaknesses of the 1840 volumes. If the last part of the Democracy sometimes presented long and occasionally dubious series of deductions, if many readers felt terribly far from the reality of America, if generalizations sometimes overreached prudence, still the second portion of Tocqueville’s book displayed a thorough, profound, and marvelously stimulating analysis of his subject matter. His ambitious movement into ever wider spheres took him in some ways far from his 1835 work, but the rewards were worth the risks.
Our retelling of Tocqueville’s second voyage also makes clear his fascination with what he usually labeled “spirit” and what we might call the psychology, or the fundamental attitude or approach of people. Again and again, when he sought to penetrate to the core of an idea or issue, he thought and wrote about the “spirit” of locality, or liberty, or religion, or trade, or revolution; the sentiment de l’égalité, one fundamental meaning of démocratie, was another closely related example. This readily observable tendency is part of a more basic inclination. Whenever Tocqueville searched for the most profound causes, meanings, or influences, he went not to physical, economic, legal, or even to intellectual features, but to the elements of what he called moeurs: customs, attitudes, values, ways of life.9 It was almost always to the intangible motivations of human belief and behavior that he ultimately resorted. One of the lasting contributions of his book was the importance bestowed on moeurs; the Democracy was one of the earliest extended statements of their crucial role in society.
This sensitivity to “spirit” and more broadly to moeurs reflects the way in which Tocqueville’s personal moral beliefs also helped to shape the Democracy. Whether weighing the significance of race or choosing between moeurs or lois, whether calculating the chances for a future of liberty or deciding which sense of démocratie (social or political) was more basic, he fell back again and again to moral convictions. It was in the majority’s moral authority that he placed the ultimate power of the many; and it was also in moral limits that he found the best barrier to abuse of that power. When he considered the influence of some idea or institution, it was the potential moral benefit or harm which he usually weighed most heavily. Thus local liberties were praised especially for their moral advantages, and despotism condemned most harshly for the way it undermined self-esteem and brought men to despise themselves.
A strong case may therefore be made that Tocqueville’s most essential concern was the moral condition of mankind. He valued, above all, the freedom and dignity of the individual. What démocratie did to enhance these he applauded; what it did to endanger them he feared. As he wrote the Democracy, he remained always aware that to spur men to significant achievement it was necessary to allow them a circle of meaningful action, to think highly of their capacities, and to expect a great deal.
But was Tocqueville primarily concerned with moral issues or did he instead look most essentially to what would work? In democratic times, did he favor whatever would be useful for warding off the worst dangers? Was he a type of utilitarian rather than a type of moralist? Closely related to this question is the ambiguity of Tocqueville’s attitude toward démocratie. Did he secretly admire démocratie, sympathize with its advance, and even hope to hasten it by his own political program? Or did he go along with démocratie only out of necessity, resigned to making the best of a bad—or at least a dangerous—situation? Again, was he mostly thinking practically rather than morally?
We can offer a possible answer to this old puzzle. Tocqueville believed that, for more and more of his contemporaries, appeals to morality were no longer effective, no longer powerful enough to persuade or to change actions. Those still sensitive to moral considerations would hear and heed them, but, for all the others, appeals would now have to be cast in terms of utility or self-interest. Tocqueville would at times have to argue from points of view which were increasingly amoral if he hoped at all to engage most of his contemporaries.10
So what Tocqueville resurrected in new form in the Democracy was the famous wager of Pascal, with whom (at least for some periods during the mid-1830s) he had lived a bit every day. Some of Tocqueville’s most powerful arguments to open the eyes of his readers to the possible benefits and pitfalls of democracy and to move them toward securing the first and avoiding the second were, like the wager, part of a final effort to persuade especially the sophisticated, the knowledgeable, the intelligent, the “best”; to appeal effectively to their own self-interest; to argue convincingly on their own terms. Tocqueville hoped to bring these people, above all, to accept démocratie, not because it was good, but because all the alternatives were worse. Reasonable, dispassionate people, Tocqueville argued, should take a chance on making the best of démocratie. To work for that at least brought hope; to refuse would lead only to certain disaster. Tocqueville, like Pascal, had deeply moral sensibilities, yet understood his contemporaries well enough to cast a net beautifully appropriate to his age—and ours.
[1. ]Consult, in particular, the efforts of Pierson, Toc. and Bt., pp. 6–7 note, 158–59 and note, 165–66, 757–58; and Jack Lively, The Social and Political Thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, pp. 49–50. Both men identify over a half-dozen major senses in which Tocqueville used the term démocratie, and even then, their lists do not entirely overlap. Also see the briefer but valuable discussions of this question by Phillips Bradley, Democracy (Bradley), 2:407–8 note; Marvin Zetterbaum, Tocqueville and the Problem of Democracy, pp. 53–54, 55–56, 69; and Seymour Drescher, Dilemmas of Democracy: Tocqueville and Modernization, pp. 14 note, 30–31, and especially 30–31 note.
[2. ]Almost always, from very early correspondence, through early and later drafts, and even to the original working manuscript of the last volumes of his work, Tocqueville capitalized the term démocratie. Only in the final published text did this idiosyncrasy disappear.
[3. ]Here Tocqueville echoed Guizot’s theme of the rise of the middle classes.
[4. ]Toc. to Louis de Kergolay, Yonkers, 29 June 1831, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin and Lesourd, 13:1, pp. 232–34.
[5. ]Cf. the famous “Introduction” to the 1835 volumes, especially Democracy (Mayer), pp. 9, 12–13.
[6. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, pp. 27–28. Compare the emotion of this excerpt to that found in passages on the threat of barbarism (quoted in chapter 16).
[7. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, p. 28.
[8. ]Ibid., CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 4, p. 1.
[9. ]Ibid., CVb, Paquet 13, p. 14.
[10. ]Ibid., CVe, Paquet 17, p. 61. Here Tocqueville presumably had particularly in mind the historical preconditions of the United States, i.e., a rough social and economic equality.
[11. ]Ibid., CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 5, pp. 8–9.
[12. ]See especially Democracy (Mayer), “Author’s Introduction,” pp. 7–20.
[13. ]Chapter on état social, Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 1. These sentences are also quoted above in chapter 1; see that chapter for elaboration.
[14. ]Chapter on état social, Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 1. See above, chapter 1, for elaboration.
[15. ]The question might also be put another way: Why was démocratie not synonymous with égalité (or égalité des conditions)?
[16. ]Note that Tocqueville’s indecision about whether to stress démocratie as a particular état social or as a political form somehow related to la souveraineté du peuple would also be reflected in the 1835 text. Consult his two chapters entitled “Social State of the Anglo-Americans” and “The Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in America”; Democracy (Mayer), pp. 50–57 and 58–60.
[17. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, p. 32.
[18. ]The letter to Kergolay cited above (Yonkers, 29 June 1831) had also briefly hinted at possible political definitions of démocratie. Several times in the epistle, Tocqueville had referred to a “democratic government,” and once he had actually identified such a government as “the government of the multitude.”
[19. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 5, pp. 7–8.
[20. ]Ibid., CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 1, p. 22. Cf. Tocqueville’s previous attempts (quoted above) to distinguish between démocratie and souveraineté du peuple.
[21. ]Ibid., CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, pp. 38–39. Compare with this remark the following pages from the 1835 text: Democracy (Mayer), pp. 231–35.
[22. ]For examples, see Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 1, section entitled “How the Federal Constitution Is Superior to the State Constitutions,” and ibid., tome 2, section entitled “Activity Which Reigns in All Parts of the Political Body of the United States.”
[23. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 4, pp. 84–85. In the copy, the final sentence is incomplete. Emphasis added.
[24. ]Ibid., CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, pp. 30–33; emphasis added. Also consult ibid., cahier 3, p. 107; and cahier 4, pp. 42–43, 54–57.
[25. ]“Observations critiques,” Yale, CIIIb, cahier 2, p. 90.
[26. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 1, p. 82.
[27. ]For example, in the Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 2, see the section entitled: “On the Legal Mind (esprit) in the United States and How It Serves as a Counterweight to the Democracy.”
[28. ]Alternative to “portion”: “class.”
[29. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 3, p. 107.
[30. ]Alternative to “peril”: “fate.”
[31. ]Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 4, p. 57.
[32. ]See above, chapters 1 and 2.
[33. ]Tocqueville referred to this tradition in a letter to Eugène Stoffels, Paris, 21 February 1835, O.C. (Bt.), 5:425–27.
[34. ]Drafts, Yale, CVe, Paquet 17, pp. 60–61.
[35. ]Democracy (Mayer), pp. 241–45.
[36. ]Ibid., p. 243.
[37. ]Ibid., pp. 243–44.
[38. ]Also in 1831, he had discussed the American and French middle classes in his American travel diaries; see, for example, comments dated 30 November 1831, Notebook E, Mayer, Journey, pp. 257–58.
[39. ]Drafts, Yale, CVj, Paquet 2, cahier 2, pp. 16–17. Already quoted in chapter 12 above.
[40. ]Drafts, Yale, CVg, Paquet 9, cahier 1, p. 171. Also quoted in Drescher, Tocqueville and England, p. 126 note.
[41. ]Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 4, from the section entitled: “That among European Nations of Today the Sovereign Power Increases Even Though Sovereigns Are Less Stable.”
[42. ]Cf. an ambiguous but related classification which had appeared in the 1835 text, Democracy (Mayer), p. 34.
[43. ]Toc. to Kergolay, undated letter, O.C. (Mayer), Jardin and Lesourd, 13:1, p. 373.
[44. ]As should be clear from remarks above, this is not meant to imply that démocratie as égalité had been unimportant in 1835. I am only pointing out a shift in emphasis among several basic definitions.
[45. ]Drafts, Yale, “Rubish,” tome 3. (For Bonnel’s copy, see ibid., CVg, Paquet 9, cahier 1, pp. 186–87.) Compare this title to the one which would appear in the 1840 text: “What Gives Almost All Americans a Preference for Industrial Callings.” Democracy (Mayer), pp. 551–54.
[46. ]Drafts, Yale, CVg, “Rubish,” tome 4; and Democracy (Mayer), pp. 665–705.
[47. ]For examples, see Original Working Ms., Yale, CVIa, tome 3, the section entitled: “On Some Sources of Poetry within Democratic Nations”; and ibid., tome 4, the title page of “Ch. [Chapter] 47.”
[48. ]See above, chapter 2.
[49. ]Drafts, Yale, CVk, Paquet 7, cahier 1, p. 51. Cf. Jack Lively’s comment about Tocqueville’s use of “models”; Lively, Social and Political Thought, pp. 49–50.
[50. ]Note the significantly unresolved choice.
[51. ]Copyist’s comment: two illegible words.
[52. ]Copyist’s comment: one illegible word; “felt” is an educated guess on my part.
[53. ]Drafts, Yale, CVk, Paquet 7, cahier 1, pp. 45–46.
[54. ]Drescher has already drawn attention to this aspect of Tocqueville’s thought; see Drescher, Dilemmas of Democracy, pp. 30–31 and notes, and his full discussion of Tocqueville’s use of the contrast between aristocratic and democratic societies, pp. 25–31.
[55. ]See the conversation with Mr. Duponceau, 27 October 1831, Non-Alph. Notebooks 2 and 3, Mayer, Journey, pp. 69–70, in which the Philadelphian mentioned that “there is no one but believes in his power to succeed in [growing rich and rising in the world].”
[56. ]Drafts, Yale, CVk, Paquet 7, cahier 1, pp. 50–51. Another version of this passage is quoted in Drescher, Dilemmas of Democracy, pp. 30–31 note. For echoes of this idea in the 1840 text, see especially Democracy (Mayer), pp. 429–30, 440, 452–54, 465–66, 485–86, 537–38, 548.
[57. ]Drafts, Yale, CVk, Paquet 7, cahier 2, pp. 53–54; quoted above, chapter 13.
[59. ]Ibid., p. 52.
[1. ]Democracy (Mayer), “Author’s Introduction,” p. 20.
[2. ]See, for example, Tocqueville’s chapter entitled “Some Characteristics Peculiar to Historians in Democratic Centuries,” ibid., pp. 493–99.
[3. ]Ibid., p. 705.
[4. ]On this matter, also see Robert Nisbet, “Many Tocquevilles.”
[5. ]Democracy (Bradley), 2:150.
[6. ]Tocqueville to Henry Reeve, Paris, 3 February 1840, Correspondance anglaise, O.C. (Mayer), 6:1, pp. 52–53; already quoted above, chapter 18.
[7. ]We have already noted significant examples of this phenomenon in our discussions of Tocqueville’s portraits of administrative despotism and his rising concern for the intellectual effects of majoritarian tyranny. Other important instances become evident after a comparison of the chapter from the 1840 portion entitled “Why Democratic Nations Show a More Ardent and Enduring Love for Equality Than for Liberty,” with passages from the 1835 work, Democracy (Mayer), p. 57; also the 1840 chapters on the love of well-being and its effects, with several pages from 1835, ibid., pp. 283–87.
[8. ]Compare Seymour Drescher, “Tocqueville’s Two Démocraties.”
[9. ]See chapter 4 above for other definitions.
[10. ]Compare the following, already quoted above: “If morality were strong enough by itself, I would not consider it so important to rely on utility. If the idea of what was just were more powerful, I would not talk so much about the idea of utility”; Drafts, Yale, CVh, Paquet 3, cahier 4, p. 30.