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Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition, vol. 4 [1840]

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Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America: Historical-Critical Edition of De la démocratie en Amérique, ed. Eduardo Nolla, translated from the French by James T. Schleifer. A Bilingual French-English editions, (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2010). Vol. 4.

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About this Title:

A new 4 volume edition of Tocqueville’s classic text De la Démocratie en Amérique. The original was published in two large volumes, the first in 1835, the second in 1840. The first volume focused primarily on political society; the second, on civil society. The online version of Liberty Fund’s edition contains only the English translation of the French critical edition. Vol. 4 contains Parts III and IV and numerous appendices.

Copyright information:

This bilingual edition of Tocqueville’s work contains a new English translation of the French critical edition published in 1990. The copyright to the French version is held by J. Vrin and it is not available online. The copyright to the English translation, the translator’s note, and index is held by Liberty Fund.

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This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
democracy in america
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]
Edition: current; Page: [iv] Edition: current; Page: [v]
Alexis de Tocqueville DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA Historical-Critical Edition of De la démocratie en Amérique
Edited by Eduardo Nolla
Translated from the French by James T. Schleifer
a bilingual french-english edition volume 4
liberty fund
Edition: current; Page: [vi]

This book is published by Liberty Fund, Inc., a foundation established to encourage study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.


The cuneiform inscription that serves as our logo and as the design motif for our endpapers is the earliest-known written appearance of the word “freedom” (amagi), or “liberty.” It is taken from a clay document written about 2300 bc in the Sumerian city-state of Lagash.

English translation, translator’s note, index, © 2010 by Liberty Fund, Inc.

The French text on which this translation is based is De la démocratie en Amérique, première édition historico-critique revue et augmentée. Edited by Eduardo Nolla. Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin; 6, Place de la Sorbonne; Paris, 1990. French edition reprinted by permission.

All rights reserved

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978-0-86597-719-8 978-0-86597-724-2

978-0-86597-720-4 978-0-86597-725-9

978-0-86597-721-1 978-0-86597-726-6

978-0-86597-722-8 978-0-86597-727-3

978-0-86597-723-5 978-0-86597-728-0

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Tocqueville, Alexis de, 1805-1859.

[De la démocratie en Amérique. English & French]

Democracy in America: historical-critical edition of De la démocratie en Amérique/Alexis de Tocqueville; edited by Eduardo Nolla; translated from the French by James T. Schleifer.

p. cm.

“A bilingual French-English edition.”

Includes bibliographical references and index.

isbn 978-0-86597-719-8 (hc: alk. paper) isbn 978-0-86597-720-4 (hc: alk. paper)

isbn 978-0-86597-721-1 (hc: alk. paper) isbn 978-0-86597-722-8 (hc: alk. paper)

isbn 978-0-86597-723-5 (hc: alk. paper) isbn 978-0-86597-724-2 (pbk.: alk. paper)

isbn 978-0-86597-725-9 (pbk.: alk. paper) isbn 978-0-86597-726-6 (pbk.: alk. paper)

isbn 978-0-86597-727-3 (pbk.: alk. paper) isbn 978-0-86597-728-0 (pbk.: alk. paper)

1. United States—Politics and government. 2. United States—Social conditions.

3. Democracy—United States. I. Nolla, Eduardo. II. Schleifer, James T., 1942-III. Title.

jk216.t713 2009



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Edition: current; Page: [vii]

democracy in america

Edition: current; Page: [viii]


  • Translator’s Note xxi
  • Key Terms xxvi
  • Foreword xxviii
  • List of Illustrations xlv
  • Editor’s Introduction xlvii
  • volume i
  • Introduction 3
  • Part I
    • chapter 1: Exterior Configuration of North America 33
    • chapter 2: Of the Point of Departure and Its Importance for the Future of the Anglo-Americans 45
      • Reasons for Some Singularities That the Laws and Customs of the Anglo-Americans Present 71
    • chapter 3: Social State of the Anglo-Americans 74
      • That the Salient Point of the Social State of the Anglo-Americans Is to Be Essentially Democratic 75 Edition: current; Page: [ix]
      • Political Consequences of the Social State of the Anglo-Americans 89
    • chapter 4: Of the Principle of the Sovereignty of the People in America 91
    • chapter 5: Necessity of Studying What Happens in the Individual States before Speaking about the Government of the Union 98
      • Of the Town System in America 99
      • Town District 103
      • Town Powers in New England 104
      • Of Town Life 108
      • Of Town Spirit in New England 110
      • Of the County in New England 114
      • Of Administration in New England 115
      • General Ideas on Administration in the United States 129
      • Of the State 135
      • Legislative Power of the State 136
      • Of the Executive Power of the State 139
      • Of the Political Effects of Administrative Decentralization in the United States 142
    • chapter 6: Of the Judicial Power in the United States and Its Action on Political Society 167
      • Other Powers Granted to American Judges 176
    • chapter 7: Of Political Jurisdiction in the United States 179
    • chapter 8: Of the Federal Constitution 186
      • Historical Background of the Federal Constitution 186
      • Summary Picture of the Federal Constitution 191
      • Attributions of the Federal Government 193
      • Federal Powers 195
      • Legislative Powers 196
      • [Difference between the Constitution of the Senate and That of the House of Representatives] Edition: current; Page: [x]
      • Another Difference between the Senate and the House of Representatives 200
      • Of Executive Power 201
      • How the Position of the President of the United States Differs from That of a Constitutional King in France 204
      • Accidental Causes That Can Increase the Influence of the Executive Power 209
      • Why the President of the United States, to Lead Public Affairs, Does Not Need to Have a Majority in the Chambers 210
      • Of the Election of the President 211
      • Mode of Election 218
      • Election Crisis 222
      • Of the Re-election of the President 225
      • Of the Federal Courts 229
      • Way of Determining the Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts 234
      • Different Cases of Jurisdiction 236
      • The Federal Courts’ Way of Proceeding 241
      • Elevated Rank That the Supreme Court Occupies among the Great Powers of the State 244
      • How the Federal Constitution Is Superior to the State Constitutions 246
      • What Distinguishes the Federal Constitution of the United States of America from All Other Federal Constitutions 251
      • Of the Advantages of the Federal System in General, and of Its Special Utility for America 255
      • What Keeps the Federal System from Being within the Reach of All Peoples; And What Has Allowed the Anglo-Americans to Adopt It 263
  • volume ii
  • Part II
    • chapter 1: How It Can Be Strictly Said That in the United States It Is the People Who Govern 278
    • chapter 2: Of Parties in the United States 279
      • Of the Remnants of the Aristocratic Party in the United States 287 Edition: current; Page: [xi]
    • chapter 3: Of Freedom of the Press in the United States 289
      • That the Opinions Established under the Dominion of Freedom of the Press in the United States Are Often More Tenacious than Those That Are Found Elsewhere under the Dominion of Censorship 298
    • chapter 4: Of Political Association in the United States 302
      • Different Ways in Which the Right of Association Is Understood in Europe and in the United States, and the Different Use That Is Made of That Right 309
    • chapter 5: Of the Government of Democracy in America 313Of Universal Suffrage 313
      • Of the Choices of the People and of the Instincts of American Democracy in Its Choices 314
      • Of the Causes That Can Partially Correct These Democratic Instincts 318
      • Influence That American Democracy Has Exercised on Electoral Laws 322
      • Of Public Officials under the Dominion of American Democracy 324
      • Of the Arbitrariness of Magistrates under the Dominion of American Democracy 327
      • Administrative Instability in the United States 331
      • Of Public Expenses under the Dominion of American Democracy 333
      • Of the Instincts of American Democracy in Determining the Salary of Officials 340
      • Difficulty of Discerning the Causes That Lead the American Government to Economy 343
      • [Influence of the Government of Democracy on the Tax Base and on the Use of the Tax Revenues] 345
      • [Influence of Democratic Government on the Use of Tax Revenues] 346
      • Can the Public Expenditures of the United States Be Compared with Those of France 349
      • Of the Corruption and Vices of Those Who Govern in Democracy; Of the Effects on Public Morality That Result from That Corruption and Those Vices 356
      • Of What Efforts Democracy Is Capable 360
      • Of the Power That American Democracy Generally Exercises over Itself 364 Edition: current; Page: [xii]
      • Of the Manner in Which American Democracy Conducts the Foreign Affairs of the State 366
    • chapter 6: What Are the Real Advantages That American Society Gains from the Government of Democracy? 375
      • Of the General Tendency of Laws under the Dominion of American Democracy, and Of the Instinct of Those Who Apply Them 377
      • Of Public Spirit in the United States 384
      • Of the Idea of Rights in the United States 389
      • Of the Respect for the Law in the United States 393
      • Activity That Reigns in All Parts of the Political Body in the United States; Influence That It Exercises on Society 395
    • chapter 7: Of the Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Effects 402
      • How the Omnipotence of the Majority in America Increases the Legislative and Administrative Instability That Is Natural to Democracies 407
      • Tyranny of the Majority 410
      • Effects of the Omnipotence of the Majority on the Arbitrariness of American Public Officials 415
      • Of the Power Exercised by the Majority in America over Thought 416
      • Effect of Tyranny of the Majority on the National Character of the Americans; Of the Courtier Spirit in the United States 420
      • That the Greatest Danger to the American Republics Comes from the Omnipotence of the Majority 424
    • chapter 8: Of What Tempers Tyranny of the Majority in the United States 427
      • Absence of Administrative Centralization 427
      • Of the Spirit of the Jurist in the United States, and How It Serves as Counterweight to Democracy 430
      • Of the Jury in the United States Considered as a Political Institution 442
    • chapter 9: Of the Principal Causes That Tend to Maintain the Democratic Republic in the United States 451
      • Of the Accidental or Providential Causes That Contribute to Maintaining the Democratic Republic in the United States 452 Edition: current; Page: [xiii]
      • Of the Influence of Laws on Maintaining the Democratic Republic in the United States 465
      • Of the Influence of Mores on Maintaining the Democratic Republic in the United States 466
      • Of Religion Considered as a Political Institution, How It Serves Powerfully to Maintain the Democratic Republic among the Americans 467
      • Indirect Influence Exercised by Religious Beliefs on Political Society in the United States 472
      • Of the Principal Causes That Make Religion Powerful in America 478
      • How the Enlightenment, Habits, and Practical Experience of the Americans Contribute to the Success of Democratic Institutions 488
      • That Laws Serve More to Maintain the Democratic Republic in the United States than Physical Causes, and Mores More than Laws 494
      • Would Laws and Mores Be Sufficient to Maintain Democratic Institutions Elsewhere than in America? 500
      • Importance of What Precedes in Relation to Europe 505
    • chapter 10: Some Considerations on the Present State and Probable Future of the Three Races That Inhabit the Territory of the United States 515
      • Present State and Probable Future of the Indian Tribes That Inhabit the Territory Possessed by the Union 522
      • Position That the Black Race Occupies in the United States; Dangers to Which Its Presence Exposes the Whites 548
      • What Are the Chances for the American Union to Last? What Dangers Threaten It? 582
      • Of Republican Institutions in the United States, What Are Their Chances of Lasting? 627
      • Some Considerations on the Causes of the Commercial Greatness of the United States 637
  • Conclusion 649
  • Notes 658 Edition: current; Page: [xiv]
  • volume iii
  • Part I: Influence of Democracy on the Intellectual Movement in the United States
    • chapter 1: Of the Philosophical Method of the Americans 697
    • chapter 2: Of the Principal Source of Beliefs among Democratic Peoples 711
    • chapter 3: Why the Americans Show More Aptitude and Taste for General Ideas than Their Fathers the English 726
    • chapter 4: Why the Americans Have Never Been as Passionate as the French about General Ideas in Political Matters 737
    • chapter 5: How, in the United States, Religion Knows How to Make Use of Democratic Instincts 742
    • chapter 6: Of the Progress of Catholicism in the United States 754
    • chapter 7: What Makes the Minds of Democratic Peoples Incline toward Pantheism 757
    • chapter 8: How Equality Suggests to the Americans the Idea of the Indefinite Perfectibility of Man 759
    • chapter 9: How the Example of the Americans Does Not Prove That a Democratic People Cannot Have Aptitude and Taste for the Sciences, Literature, and the Arts 763
    • chapter 10: Why the Americans Are More Attached to the Application of the Sciences than to the Theory 775
    • chapter 11: In What Spirit the Americans Cultivate the Arts 788
    • chapter 12: Why Americans Erect Such Small and Such Large Monuments at the Same Time 796 Edition: current; Page: [xv]
    • chapter 13: Literary Physiognomy of Democratic Centuries 800
    • chapter 14: Of the Literary Industry 813
    • chapter 15: Why the Study of Greek and Latin Literature Is Particularly Useful in Democratic Societies 815
    • chapter 16: How American Democracy Has Modified the English Language 818
    • chapter 17: Of Some Sources of Poetry among Democratic Nations 830
    • chapter 18: Why American Writers and Orators Are Often Bombastic 843
    • chapter 19: Some Observations on the Theater of Democratic Peoples 845
    • chapter 20: Of Some Tendencies Particular to Historians in Democratic Centuries 853
    • chapter 21: Of Parliamentary Eloquence in the United States 861
  • Part II: Influence of Democracy on the Sentiments of the Americans
    • chapter 1: Why Democratic Peoples Show a More Ardent and More Enduring Love for Equality than for Liberty 872
    • chapter 2: Of Individualism in Democratic Countries 881
    • chapter 3: How Individualism Is Greater at the End of a Democratic Revolution than at Another Time 885
    • chapter 4: How the Americans Combat Individualism with Free Institutions 887
    • chapter 5: Of the Use That Americans Make of Association in Civil Life 895 Edition: current; Page: [xvi]
    • chapter 6: Of the Relation between Associations and Newspapers 905
    • chapter 7: Relations between Civil Associations and Political Associations 911
    • chapter 8: How the Americans Combat Individualism by the Doctrine of Interest Well Understood 918
    • chapter 9: How the Americans Apply the Doctrine of Interest Well Understood in the Matter of Religion 926
    • chapter 10: Of the Taste for Material Well-Being in America 930
    • chapter 11: Of the Particular Effects Produced by the Love of Material Enjoyments in Democratic Centuries 935
    • chapter 12: Why Certain Americans Exhibit So Excited a Spiritualism 939
    • chapter 13: Why the Americans Appear So Restless Amid Their Well-Being 942
    • chapter 14: How the Taste for Material Enjoyment Is United, among the Americans, with the Love of Liberty and Concern for Public Affairs 948
    • chapter 15: How from Time to Time Religious Beliefs Divert the Soul of the Americans toward Non-material Enjoyments 954
    • chapter 16: How the Excessive Love of Well-Being Can Harm Well-Being 963
    • chapter 17: How, in Times of Equality and Doubt, It Is Important to Push Back the Goal of Human Actions 965
    • chapter 18: Why, among the Americans, All Honest Professions Are Considered Honorable 969
    • chapter 19: What Makes Nearly All Americans Tend toward Industrial Professions 972
    • chapter 20: How Aristocracy Could Emerge from Industry 980 Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
  • volume iv
  • Part III: Influence of Democracy on Mores Properly So Called
    • chapter 1: How Mores Become Milder as Conditions Become Equal 987
    • chapter 2: How Democracy Makes the Habitual Relations of the Americans Simpler and Easier 995
    • chapter 3: Why the Americans Have So Little Susceptibility in Their Country and Show Such Susceptibility in Ours 1000
    • chapter 4: Consequences of the Three Preceding Chapters 1005
    • chapter 5: How Democracy Modifies the Relationships of Servant and Master 1007
    • chapter 6: How Democratic Institutions and Mores Tend to Raise the Cost and Shorten the Length of Leases 1020
    • chapter 7: Influence of Democracy on Salaries 1025
    • chapter 8: Influence of Democracy on the Family 1031
    • chapter 9: Education of Young Girls in the United States 1041
    • chapter 10: How the Young Girl Is Found Again in the Features of the Wife 1048
    • chapter 11: How Equality of Conditions Contributes to Maintaining Good Morals in America 1052
    • chapter 12: How the Americans Understand the Equality of Man and of Woman 1062
    • chapter 13: How Equality Divides the Americans Naturally into a Multitude of Small Particular Societies 1068
    • chapter 14: Some Reflections on American Manners 1071 Edition: current; Page: [xviii]
    • chapter 15: Of the Gravity of Americans and Why It Does Not Prevent Them from Often Doing Thoughtless Things 1080
    • chapter 16: Why the National Vanity of the Americans Is More Anxious and More Quarrelsome than That of the English 1085
    • chapter 17: How the Appearance of Society in the United States Is at the Very Same Time Agitated and Monotonous 1089
    • chapter 18: Of Honor in the United States and in Democratic Societies 1093
    • chapter 19: Why in the United States You Find So Many Ambitious Men and So Few Great Ambitions 1116
    • chapter 20: Of Positions Becoming an Industry among Certain Democratic Nations 1129
    • chapter 21: Why Great Revolutions Will Become Rare 1133
    • chapter 22: Why Democratic Peoples Naturally Desire Peace and Democratic Armies Naturally Desire War 1153
    • chapter 23: Which Class, in Democratic Armies, Is the Most Warlike and the Most Revolutionary 1165
    • chapter 24: What Makes Democratic Armies Weaker than Other Armies while Beginning a Military Campaign and More Formidable When the War Is Prolonged 1170
    • chapter 25: Of Discipline in Democratic Armies 1176
    • chapter 26: Some Considerations on War in Democratic Societies 1178
  • Part IV: Of the Influence That Democratic Ideas and Sentiments Exercise on Political Society
    • chapter 1: Equality Naturally Gives Men the Taste for Free Institutions 1191 Edition: current; Page: [xix]
    • chapter 2: That the Ideas of Democratic Peoples in Matters of Government Naturally Favor the Concentration of Powers 1194
    • chapter 3: That the Sentiments of Democratic Peoples Are in Agreement with Their Ideas for Bringing Them to Concentrate Power 1200
    • chapter 4: Of Some Particular and Accidental Causes That End Up Leading a Democratic People to Centralize Power or That Turn Them Away from Doing So 1206
    • chapter 5: That among the European Nations of Today the Sovereign Power Increases although Sovereigns Are Less Stable 1221
    • chapter 6: What Type of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear 1245
    • chapter 7: Continuation of the Preceding Chapters 1262
    • chapter 8: General View of the Subject 1278
  • Notes 1286
  • Appendixes 1295
  • appendix 1: Journey to Lake Oneida 1295
  • appendix 2: A Fortnight in the Wilderness 1303
  • appendix 3: Sects in America 1360
  • appendix 4: Political Activity in America 1365
  • appendix 5: Letter of Alexis de Tocqueville to Charles Stoffels 1368
  • appendix 6: Foreword to the Twelfth Edition 1373
  • Works Used by Tocqueville 1376
  • Bibliography 1396
  • Index 1499
Edition: current; Page: [986]


Third Parta]
Influence of Democracy on Mores Properly So Called

Edition: current; Page: [987]

chapter 1a: How Mores Become Milder as Conditions Become Equal

We have noticed for several centuries that conditions are becoming equal, and we have found at the same time that mores are becoming milder.b Are Edition: current; Page: [988] these two things only contemporaneous, or does some secret link exist between them, so that the one cannot go ahead without making the other move?

Several causes can work together to make the mores of a people less harsh; but, among all these causes, the most powerful one seems to me to be equality of conditions. So in my view equality of conditions and mores becoming mild are not only contemporaneous events, but also correlative facts.c

[≠Equality of conditions leads men toward industrial and commercial professions, which need peace in order for men to devote themselves to those professions. Equality of conditions suggests to men the taste for material enjoyments; it distances them imperceptibly from war and violent Edition: current; Page: [989] revolutions. I have already said a portion of these things; I will show the others in the course of this work.d

Those are the indirect effects of equality of conditions; its direct effects are not less.≠]

When writers of fables want to interest us in the actions of the animals, they give them human ideas and passions. Poets do the same when they speak about spirits and angels.e No miseries are so deep, or joys so pure that they cannot capture our minds and take hold of our hearts, if we are presented to ourselves under other features.

This applies very well to the subject that occupies us presently.

When all men are arranged in an irrevocable manner, according to their profession, their property and their birth, within an aristocratic society, the members of each class, all considering themselves as children of the same family, experience for each other a continual and active sympathyf Edition: current; Page: [990] that can never be found to the same degree among the citizens of a democracy.

But it is not the same with the different classes vis-à-vis each other.

Among an aristocratic people, each caste has its opinions, its sentiments, its rights, its mores, its separate existence. Thus, the men who compose each caste are not similar to any of the others; they do not have the same way of thinking or of feeling, and they scarcely believe that they are part of the same humanity.

So they cannot understand well what the others experience, or judge the latter by themselves.

Yet you sometimes see them lend themselves with fervor to mutual aid; but that is not contrary to what precedes.

These same aristocratic institutions, which had made beings of the same species so different, had nevertheless joined them by a very close political bond.

Although the serf was not naturally interested in the fate of the nobles, he believed himself no less obligated to devote himself to the one among the nobles who was his leader; and although the noble believed himself of another nature than the serf, he nonetheless judged that his duty and his honor forced him to defend, at the risk of his own life, those who lived on his domains.

It is clear that these mutual obligations did not arise out of natural right, but political right, and that society obtained more than humanity alone was able to do. It was not to the man that you believed yourself obliged to lend support, it was to the vassal or to the lord. Feudal institutions made very tangible the misfortunes of certain men, not the miseries of the human Edition: current; Page: [991] species. They gave to mores generosity rather than mildness, and although they suggested great attachments, they did not give birth to true sympathies; for there are real sympathies only between similar people; and in aristocratic centuries, you see people similar to you only in the members of your caste.

When the chroniclers of the Middle Ages, who all, by their birth or their habits, belonged to the aristocracy, report the tragic end of a nobleman, there are infinite sorrows; while they recount in one breath and without batting an eye the massacre and tortures of the men of the people.

It is not that these writers felt a habitual hatred or a systematic disdain for the people. The war between the various classes of the State had not yet been declared. They obeyed an instinct rather than a passion; as they did not form a clear idea of the sufferings of the poor, they were little interested in their fate.

It was the same with the men of the people, as soon as the feudal bond was broken. These same centuries, which saw so much heroic devotion on the part of the vassals for their lords, had witnessed unheard of cruelties exercised from time to time by the lower classes against the upper classes.g

You must not believe that this mutual insensitivity is due only to the absence of order and enlightenment; for you again find its trace in the following centuries that, even while becoming well-ordered and enlightened, still remained aristocratic.

In the year 1675, the lower classes of Brittany were roused by a new tax. This tumultuous movement was put down with unparalleled atrocity. Here is how Madame de Sévigné, witness to these horrors, informed her daughter about them:

Aux Rochers, 30 October 1675.

My heavens, my daughter, how amusing your letter from Aix is! At least reread your letters before sending them. Allow yourself to be caught up in their charm, and with this pleasure, console yourself for the burden you have of writing so many of them. So have you kissed all of Provence? There would be no satisfaction in kissing all of Brittany, unless you loved to smell of wine. [ . . . (ed.) . . . ] Do you want to know the news from Rennes? [ . . . (ed.) . . . ] A tax of one hundred thousand écus was imposed, Edition: current; Page: [992] and if this amount was not found within twenty-four hours, it would be doubled and would be collected by soldiers. One entire great street was chased away and banished, and the inhabitants were forbidden to come back under pain of death; so that all these miserable people, new mothers, old people, children, wandered in tears outside this city, without knowing where to go, without food or anywhere to sleep. The day before yesterday the violinist who began the dance and the theft of the stamped paper was broken on the wheel; he was quartered, and the four parts were displayed in the four corners of the city. [. . . (ed.) . . . ] Sixty bourgeois were taken and tomorrow they will begin to be hanged. This province is a good example to the others, above all to respect governors and the wives of governors, and not to throw stones into their gardens.1

Yesterday Madame de Tarente was in her woods in delightful weather. It is not a question of either staying there or eating there. She goes in by the gate and comes out the same way . . .

In another letter she adds:

You talk to me very amusingly about our miseries; we are no longer broken on the wheel so much; one in eight days in order to uphold justice. It is true that hanging now seems refreshing to me. I have an entirely different idea of justice since being in this country. Your men condemned to the galleys seem to me to be a society of honest men who have withdrawn from the world in order to lead a pleasant life.

We would be wrong to believe that Madame de Sévigné, who wrote these lines, was an egotistical and barbarous creature; she passionately loved her children and showed herself very sensitive to the misfortunes of her friends; and we even notice, reading her, that she treated her vassals and her servants with kindness and indulgence. But Madame de Sévigné did not clearly understand what suffering was when you were not a gentleman.

Today, the harshest man, writing to the most insensitive person, would not dare to give himself to the cruel banter that I have just reproduced, and even when his particular mores would permit him to do so, the general mores of the nation would forbid him.

Edition: current; Page: [993]

What causes that? Are we more sensitive than our fathers? I do not know; but certainly our sensibility falls on more things.

When ranks are nearly equal among a people, since all men have more or less the same way of thinking and feeling, each one of them can judge in a moment the sensations of all the others; he glances quickly at himself; that is sufficient. So there is no misery that he cannot easily imagine and whose extent is not revealed to him by a secret instinct. Whether it concerns strangers or enemies, imagination immediately puts him in their place. It mingles something personal in his pity, and makes him suffer as the body of his fellow man is torn apart.

In democratic centuries, men rarely sacrifice themselves for each other; but they show a general compassion for all the members of the human species. You do not see them inflict useless evils, and when, without hurting themselves very much, they can relieve the sufferings of others, they take pleasure in doing so; they are not disinterested, but they are mild.

Although the Americans have so to speak reduced egoism to a social and political theory, they have shown themselves no less very open to pity.

There is no country in which criminal justice is administered more benignly than in the United States. While the English seem to want to preserve carefully in their penal legislation the bloody traces of the Middle Ages, the Americans have almost made the death penalty disappear from their legal order.

North America is, I think, the only country on earth where, for the last fifty years, the life of not a single citizen has been taken for political crimes.

What finally proves that this singular mildness of the Americans comes principally from their social state, is the manner in which they treat their slaves.

Perhaps, everything considered, there is no European colony in the New World in which the physical condition of the Blacks is less harsh than in the United States. But slaves there still experience dreadful miseries and are constantly exposed to very cruel punishments.

It is easy to discover that the fate of these unfortunates inspires little pity Edition: current; Page: [994] in their masters, and that they see in slavery not only a fact from which they profit, but also an evil that scarcely touches them. Thus, the same man who is full of humanity for his fellows when the latter are at the same time his equals, becomes insensitive to their sufferings from the moment when equality ceases. So his mildness must be attributed to this equality still more than to civilization and enlightenment.

What I have just said about individuals applies to a certain degree to peoples.

When each nation has its separate opinions, beliefs, laws and customs, it considers itself as forming by itself the whole of humanity, and feels touched only by its own sufferings. If war comes to break out between two peoples so inclined, it cannot fail to be conducted with barbarism.

At the time of their greatest enlightenment, the Romans cut the throats of enemy generals, after dragging them in triumph behind a chariot, and delivered prisoners to the beasts for the amusement of the people. Cicero, who raises such loud cries at the idea of a citizen crucified, finds nothing to say about these atrocious abuses of victory. It is clear that in his eyes a foreigner is not of the same human species as a Roman.h

On the contrary, as peoples become more similar to each other, they show themselves reciprocally more compassionate toward their misfortunes, and the law of nations becomes milder.

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chapter 2a: How Democracy Makes the Habitual Relations of the Americans Simpler and Easierb

Democracy does not bind men closely together, but it makes their habitual relationships easier.

Two Englishmen meet by chance at the far ends of the earth; they are surrounded by strangers whose language and mores they hardly know.

[<I think that they are going to run eagerly toward each other. What more is needed to draw men closer in a far-away land than a native land in common?>]

The two men at first consider each other very curiously and with a sort Edition: current; Page: [996] of secret uneasiness; then they turn away from each other, or, if they greet each other, they take care to speak only with a restrained and distracted air, and to say things of little importance.c

No enmity exists between them, however; they have never seen each other, and reciprocally regard each other as very respectable. So why do they take such care to avoid each other?

We must go back to England in order to understand.

When birth alone, independent of wealth, classifies men, each man knows precisely the place he occupies on the social ladder; he does not try to climb, and is not afraid of descending. In a society organized in this way, men of different castes communicate little with each other; but when chance puts them in contact, they readily become engrossed, without hope or fear of intermingling. Their relationships are not based on equality; but they are not constrained.

When aristocracy of money follows aristocracy of birth, it is no longer the same.

The privileges of a few are still very great, but the possibility of acquiring them is open to all; from that it follows that those who possess them are constantly preoccupied by the fear of losing them or of seeing them shared; and those who do not yet have them want at any cost to possess them, or, if they cannot succeed in that, to appear to possess them, which is not impossible. As the social value of men is no longer fixed by blood in a clear and permanent manner and varies infinitely depending on wealth, ranks always exist, but you no longer see clearly and at first glance those who occupy those ranks.

A hidden war is immediately established among all the citizens; some try hard, by a thousand artifices, to join in reality or in appearance those who are above them; others fight constantly to repulse these men usurping their rights, or rather the same man does both things, and, while he is trying to get into the upper sphere, he struggles without respite against the effort that comes from below.

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Such is the state of England today, and I think that what precedes must be principally attributed to this state.

Since aristocratic pride is still very great among the English, and since the boundaries of aristocracy have become doubtful, each man fears at every moment that his familiarity will be abused. Not able to judge at first glance what the social situation is of those you meet, you prudently avoid entering into contact with them. You are afraid of forming despite yourself a badly matched friendship by rendering small services; you fear good offices, and you elude the indiscreet recognition of someone unknown as carefully as his hatred.

There are many men who explain, by purely physical causes, this singular unsociability and this reserved and taciturn temperament of the English.d I am willing to agree that blood in fact has some role; but I believe that the social state has a much greater one. The example of the Americans proves it.

In America, where privileges of birth have never existed, and where wealth gives no particular right to the one who possesses it, people who do not know each other readily get together in the same places, and find neither advantage nor danger in freely sharing their thoughts. If they meet by chance, they neither seek each other out nor avoid each other; so their encounter is natural, straightforward and open; you see that they neither hope nor fear hardly anything from each other, and that they try no harder to Edition: current; Page: [998] show than to hide the place they occupy. If their countenance is often cold and serious, it is never either haughty or stiff, and when they do not speak to each other, it is because they are not in the mood to speak, and not that they believe that they have a reason to remain silent.

In a foreign country, two Americans are immediately friends, by the very fact that they are Americans. There is no prejudice that drives them apart, and the native land in common brings them together. For two Englishmen the same blood is not enough; the same rank must draw them together.

The Americans notice as well as we this unsociable temperament of the English with each other, and they are no less astonished by it than we ourselves are. But the Americans are attached to England by origin, religion, language, and in part mores; they differ from England only by social state. So it is permissible to say that the reserve of the English derives from the constitution of the country much more than from the constitution of the citizens [<the reserve of the English is not English, but aristocratic>].[*] e

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chapter 3a: Why the Americans Have So Little Susceptibility in Their Country and Show Such Susceptibility in Oursb

The Americans have a vindictive temperament like all solemn and serious-minded peoples. They almost never forget an insult; but it is not easy to insult them, and their resentment is as slow to flare up as to go out.

In aristocratic societies, where a small number of individuals directs everything, the external relationships of men with each other are subject to more or less fixed conventions. Each man then believes that he knows, in a precise way, by what sign it is suitable to show his respect or to indicate his goodwill, and etiquette is a science of which everyone is presumed to be aware.

These customs of the first class then serve as a model for all the other classes, and in addition each one of the latter makes a separate code, to Edition: current; Page: [1001] which all its members are bound to conform [and finally there is a certain particular ceremonial that is used only between men of different classes].

The rules of good manners thus form a complicated set of laws, which is difficult to master completely, yet from which you are not allowed to deviate without risk; so that each day men constantly are involuntarily exposed to giving or receiving cruel wounds.

But, as ranks fade, as men diverse in their education and birth mix and mingle in the same places, it is almost impossible to agree on the rules of good manners. Since the laws are uncertain, to disobey them is not a crime even in the eyes of those who know them; so you are attached to the substance of actions rather than to the form, and you are at the very same time less courteous and less quarrelsome.

There is a host of small considerations that an American does not care about; he judges that he is not owed them or he supposes that you are unaware that he is owed them. So he does not notice that he is slighted, or he pardons the slight; his manners become less courteous, and his mores simpler and more manly.

This reciprocal indulgence shown by the Americans and this manly confidence that they display result also from a more general and more profound cause.

I already pointed it out in the preceding chapter.

In the United States, ranks differ only very little in civil society and do not differ at all in the political world; so an American does not believe himself bound to give particular considerations to any of his fellows, nor does he think about requiring them for himself. As he does not see that his interest is ardently to seek out the company of some of his fellow citizens, he imagines with difficulty that someone is rejecting his; not despising anyone because of condition, he does not imagine that anyone despises him because of the same reason, and until he has clearly noticed the insult, he does not believe that someone wants to offend him.

The social state [v: equality] naturally disposes the Americans not to become easily offended in small things. And, on the other hand, the democratic liberty that they enjoy finally makes this indulgence pass into the national mores.

Political institutions in the United States constantly put citizens of all Edition: current; Page: [1002] classes in contact and force them to follow great enterprises together. Men thus occupied hardly have the time to think about the details of etiquette, and moreover they have too much interest in living together harmoniously to stop over those details. So they become easily accustomed to considering, in the men they meet, sentiments and ideas rather than manners, and they do not allow themselves to be excited over trifles.

I noticed many times that, in the United States, it is not an easy thing to make a man understand that his presence is bothersome. To reach that point, indirect paths are not always sufficient.

I contradict an American at every point, in order to make him sense that his speeches fatigue me; and at every instant I see him make new efforts to persuade me; I keep a stubborn silence, and he imagines that I am reflecting profoundly on the truths that he is presenting; and when finally I suddenly escape from his pursuit, he assumes that a pressing matter calls me elsewhere. This man will not comprehend that he exasperates me unless I tell him so, and I will be able to save myself from him only by becoming his mortal enemy.

What is surprising at first is that this same man transported to Europe suddenly becomes punctilious and difficult to deal with [<he attaches himself stubbornly to the slightest details of etiquette and often he even creates imaginary ones that apply only to him>], to the point that often I have as much difficulty in not offending him as I found in displeasing him. These two so different effects are produced by the same cause.

Democratic institutions in general give men a vast idea of their country and of themselves.

The American leaves his country with his heart puffed up with pride. He arrives in Europe and notices first that we are not as preoccupied as he imagined with the United States and with the great people that inhabits them. This begins to upset him.c

He has heard it said that conditions are not equal in our hemisphere. He notices, in fact, that among the nations of Europe, the trace of ranks Edition: current; Page: [1003] is not entirely erased; that wealth and birth retain uncertain privileges that are as difficult for him to ignore as to define. This spectacle surprises him and makes him uneasy, because it is entirely new to him; nothing that he has seen in his country helps him to understand it. So he is deeply unaware of what place it is suitable to occupy in this half-destroyed hierarchy, among those classes that are distinct enough to hate and despise each other, and close enough for him to be always ready to confuse them. He is afraid of putting himself too high, and above all of being ranked too low; this double danger constantly troubles his mind and continually hinders his actions, like his conversation.

Tradition taught him that in Europe things ceremonial varied infinitely depending on conditions; this memory of another time really disturbs him, and he fears all the more not gaining the considerations that are due to him since he does not know precisely what they consist of. So he is always walking like a man surrounded by traps; society for him is not a relaxation, but a serious work. He weighs your slightest moves, questions your looks and carefully analyzes all your words, for fear that they contain some hidden allusions that injure him. I do not know if there has ever been a country gentleman more punctilious than he in the matter of good manners; he works hard to obey the least laws of etiquette himself, and he does not put up with anyone neglecting any of those laws in his regard; he is at the very same time full of scruples and demands; he would like to do enough, but is afraid of doing too much, and as he does not know very well the limits of either, he holds himself in an uneasy and haughty reserve.

This is still not all, and here is another twist of the human heart.

An American speaks every day about the admirable equality that reigns in the United States; he boasts out loud about it concerning his country; but he is secretly distressed about it concerning himself, and he aspires to show that, as for him, he is an exception to the general order that he advocates.

You hardly meet an Americand who does not want to be connected a bit Edition: current; Page: [1004] by his birth to the first settlers of the colonies, and, as for branches of the great families of England, America seemed to me totally covered by them.

When an opulent American comes to Europe, his first concern is to surround himself with all the riches of luxury; and he is so afraid that someone will take him for a simple citizen of a democracy that he twists and turns in a hundred ways in order to present before you every day a new image of his wealth. He usually finds lodging in the most conspicuous area of the city; he has numerous servants who surround him constantly. [Still he will notice that he is badly served and frequently gets worked up against these people who become familiar with their masters.]

I heard an American complain that, in the principal salons of Paris, you met only mixed society. The taste reigning there did not seem pure enough to him, and he adroitly let it be understood that in his opinion, manners there lacked distinction. He was not used to seeing wit hide in this way under common forms.

Such contrasts should not be surprising. [The same cause gives birth to them.]

If the trace of old aristocratic distinctions were not so completely erased in the United States, the Americans would appear less simple and less tolerant in their country, less demanding and less ill-at-ease in ours.

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chapter 4a: Consequences of the Three Preceding Chapters

When men feel a natural pity for each other’s misfortunes, when easy and frequent relationships draw them closer each day without any susceptibility dividing them, it is easy to understand that they will, as needed, mutually lend each other their aid. When an American asks for the help of his fellows, it is very rare for the latter to refuse it to him, and I have often observed that they grant it to him spontaneously with great zeal.

If some unforeseen accident takes place on the public road, people rush from all directions to the one who is the victim; if some great unexpected misfortune strikes a family, the purses of a thousand strangers open without difficulty; modest, but very numerous gifts come to the aid of the family’s misery.

It frequently happens, among the most civilized nations of the globe, that someone unfortunate finds himself as isolated in the middle of the crowd as the savage in the woods; that is hardly ever seen in the United States. The Americans, who are always cold in their manners and often crude, hardly ever appear insensitive, and, if they do not hasten to offer their services, they do not refuse to render them.

All of this is not contrary to what I said before regarding individualism. I even see that these things, far from being in conflict, are in agreement.

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Equality of conditions, at the same time that it makes men feel their independence, shows them their weakness; they are free, but exposed to a thousand accidents, and experience does not take long to teach them that, although they do not habitually need the help of others, some moment almost always occurs when they cannot do without that help.

We see every day in Europe that men of the same profession readily help each other; they are all exposed to the same evils; that is enough for them to try mutually to protect themselves from those evils, however hard or egotistical they are elsewhere. So whenever one of them is in danger, and when, by a small temporary sacrifice or a sudden impulse, the others can shield him, they do not fail to attempt it. It is not that they are profoundly interested in his fate; for if, by chance, the efforts that they make to help him are useless, they immediately forget him and return to themselves; but a sort of tacit and almost involuntary agreement has been made between them, according to which each one owes to the others a momentary support that, in his turn, he will be able to ask for himself.

Extend to a people what I say about only a class, and you will understand my thought.

There exists, in fact, among all the citizens of a democracy, a convention analogous to the one that I am talking about; everyone feels subject to the same weakness and to the same dangers, and their interest, as well as their sympathy, makes it a law for them to lend each other mutual assistance as needed.

The more similar conditions become, the more men exhibit this reciprocal disposition for mutual obligation.

In democracies, where great services are scarcely accorded, good offices are rendered constantly. It is rare that a man appears devoted to service, but all are willing to help.

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chapter 5a: How Democracy Modifies the Relationships of Servant and Master

An American,b who had traveled for a long time in Europe, said to me one day:

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The English treat their servants with a haughtiness and with absolute manners that surprise us; but, on the other hand, the French sometimes use a familiarity with theirs, or reveal in their regard a courtesy that we cannot imagine. You would say that they are afraid of giving orders. The position of superior and inferior is badly kept.

This remark is correct, and I have made it myself many times.c

I have always considered England as the country in the world where, today, the bond of domestic service is the tightest and France the country on earth where it is most loose. Nowhere has the master appeared to me higher or lower than in these two countries.

The Americans are placed between these extremes.

That is the superficial and apparent fact. We must go much further in order to discover its causes.

We have not yet seen societies in which conditions were so equal that neither rich nor poor were found, and consequently, neither masters nor servants.

Democracy does not prevent these two classes of men from existing; but it changes their spirit and modifies their relationships.

[It is easy to see that all classes that compose a society are so naturally bound together that all must move at the same time or remain immobile. It is enough to hold one of them in place for all the others to stop by themselves.

So from the moment when I find a caste of perpetual masters composed of the same families, I understand without difficulty that there exists a caste Edition: current; Page: [1009] of servants formed in the same way, and I foresee that this perpetuity is going to produce similar effects from both sides.]d

Among aristocratic peoples, servants form a particular class that does not vary any more than that of the masters. A fixed order does not take long to arise; in the first as in the second, you soon see a hierarchy, numerous classifications, marked ranks, and the generations follow each other without the positions changing. Servants and masters are two societies superimposed on each other, always distinct, but governed by analogous principles.e

This aristocratic constitution influences the ideas and mores of the servants scarcely less than those of the masters, and although the effects may be different, it is easy to recognize the same cause.

Both form small nations amid the large one; and in the end, in their midst, certain permanent notions about right and wrong are born. The different actions of human life are seen in a particular light that does not change. In the society of servants as in that of the masters, men exercise a great influence on each other. They acknowledge fixed rules, and lacking a law, they encounter a public opinion that directs them; well-regulated habits and an order reign there.

These men, whose destiny is to obey, undoubtedly do not understand glory, virtue, integrity, honor, in the same way as the masters. But they have developed a glory, virtues, and an integrity of servants, and they imagine, if I can express myself in this way, a sort of servants’ honor.1

Because a class is low, you must not believe that all those who are part Edition: current; Page: [1010] of it have a base heart. That would be a great error. However inferior the class may be, the man who is first in it and who has no idea of leaving that class, finds himself in an aristocratic position that suggests to him elevated sentiments, a noble pride and a respect for himself, which makes him fit for great virtues and uncommon actions.

Among aristocratic peoples, it was not rare to find, in the service of the great, noble and vigorous souls who bore servitude without feeling it, and who submitted to the will of their master without fearing his anger.

But it was hardly ever like this in the lower ranks of the domestic class. [<The first were placed higher in the scale of beings than the modern servant, the second fell below.>] You conceive that the one who holds the lowest place of a hierarchy of valets is very low.

The French had created a word expressly for this lowest of the servants of the aristocracy. They called him a lackey.

[<≠The lackey was this man abandoned by fate who was born, lived, died in a hereditary shame, despised and laughed at by all.≠>]

The word lackey served as an extreme word, when any other was missing, to represent human baseness; under the old monarchy, when you wanted at some moment to portray a vile and degraded being, you said of him that he had the soul of a lackey. That alone sufficed. The meaning was complete and understood.f

Permanent inequality of conditions not only gives servants certain particular virtues and certain particular vices; it also places them in a particular position vis-à-vis the masters.

Among aristocratic peoples, the poor man is trained, from birth, with the idea of being commanded. In whatever direction he turns his eyes, he immediately sees the image of hierarchy and the sight of obedience.

[If this man, prepared in this way, consecrates himself to the service of one of his fellows, he will not fail to bring to this particular state the general Edition: current; Page: [1011] notions that the view of society suggests to him. <≠The image of the large society will be reproduced in the small one.≠>]g

So in countries where permanent inequality of conditions reigns, the master easily obtains from his servants a prompt, complete, respectful and easy obedience, because the latter revere in him, not only the master, but the class of masters. He presses on their will with all the weight of the aristocracy.

He commands their actions; to a certain degree he even directs their thoughts. The master, in aristocracies, often exercises, even without his knowing it, a prodigious sway over the opinions, habits, and mores of those who obey him; and his influence extends very much further than even his authority.h

In aristocratic societies,j not only are there hereditary families of valets, as well as hereditary families of masters; but also the same families of valets remain, over several generations, at the side of the same families of masters (they are like parallel lines that never meet or separate); this prodigiously modifies the mutual relationships of these two orders of persons.

Thus, although, under aristocracy, the master and the servant have between them no mutual resemblance; although fortune, education, opinions, rights place them, on the contrary, at an immense distance on the scale of beings, time nevertheless ends up binding them together. A long community of memories ties them together, and, however different they may be, they assimilate; while, in democracies, where they are naturally almost the same, they always remain strangers to each other. [A few slight differences in conditions separate men, great permanent differences bind them together.]

So among aristocratic peoples, the master comes to envisage his servants Edition: current; Page: [1012] like an inferior and secondary part of himself, and he often interests himself in their fate, by a final effort of egoism.

On their side, the servants are not far from considering themselves from the same point of view, and they sometimes identify with the person of the master, so that they finally become an accessory, in their own eyes, as in his.

In aristocracies, the servant occupies a subordinate position that he cannot leave; near him is found another man, who holds a superior rank that he cannot lose. On the one hand, obscurity, poverty, obedience forever; on the other, glory, wealth, command forever. These conditions are always different and always close, and the bond that unites them is as durable as are the conditions.

In this extreme, the servant ends by becoming disinterested in himself; he turns away from himself; he deserts himself in a way, or rather he transfers himself entirely to his master; there he creates an imaginary personality. He cloaks himself with satisfaction with the riches of those who command him; he takes pride in their glory, raises himself with their nobility, and feeds constantly on a borrowed grandeur, on which he sometimes puts more value than those who possess it fully and truly.

There is something at once touching and ridiculous in such a strange confusion of two existences.

These passions of masters carried into the souls of valets take the natural dimensions of the place that they occupy; they shrink and become lower. What was pride with the first becomes childish vanity and miserable pretension with the others. The servants of a great nobleman usually show themselves very particular about what is owed to him, and they are more attached to his least privileges than he is.

You still sometimes meet among us one of those old servants of the aristocracy; he outlives his race and will soon disappear with it.k

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In the United States I saw no one who resembled him. Not only do the Americans not know this man, but you have great difficulty making them understand that he exists. They find it hardly less difficult to conceive it than we ourselves have to imagine what a slave was among the Romans, or a serf in the Middle Ages. All of these men are in fact, although to different degrees, the products of the same cause. Together they withdraw far from our sight and flee daily into the obscurity of the past with the social state that gave them birth.

Equality of conditions makes new beings of the servant and of the master, and establishes new relationships between them.

When conditions are nearly equal, men constantly change place; there is still a class of valets and a class of masters; but it is not always the same individuals, or above all the same families that compose it; and there is not more permanence in command than in obedience.

Servants, not forming a separate people, do not have customs, prejudices or mores that are their own; you do not notice among them a certain turn of spirit or a particular way of feeling; they know neither the vices nor the virtues of a condition, but they share the enlightenment, ideas, sentiments, virtues and vices of their contemporaries; and they are decent or knavish just as the masters are.

Conditions are no less equal among the servants than among the masters.

As you do not find marked ranks or permanent hierarchy in the class of servants, you must not expect to find the baseness and the grandeur that are displayed in the aristocracies of valets as well as in all the others.

I never saw in the United States anything that could have reminded me of the idea of the elite servant, an idea of which we in Europe have kept Edition: current; Page: [1014] the memory; but neither did I find in the United States the idea of the lackey. The trace of the one as well as the other is lost there.

In democracies, servants are not only equal among themselves; you can say that they are, in a way, equal to their masters.

This needs to be explained in order to make it well understood.

At every instant, the servant can become the master and aspires to become so; the servant is not therefore a man different from his master.

So why does the first have the right to command and what forces the second to obey? The temporary and free agreement of their two wills. They are not naturally inferior to each other; they become so temporarily only as a result of the contract. Within the limits of this contract, one is the servant and the other the master; outside, they are two citizens, two men.

What I beg the reader to understand well is that this is not only the notion that the servants themselves form of their state. The masters consider domestic service in the same light, and the precise limits of command and obedience are as well fixed in the mind of the one as in that of the other.m

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When most citizens have for a long time attained a more or less similar condition, and when equality is an old and accepted fact, public understanding, never influenced by the exceptions, assigns in a general way to the value of man certain limits above or below which it is difficult for any man to remain for long.

In vain do wealth and poverty, command and obedience put accidentally great distances between two men; public opinion, which is founded on the usual order of things, brings them closer to the common level and creates between them a sort of imaginary equality, despite the real inequality of their conditions.

This omnipotent opinion ends up penetrating the souls even of those whose interest could fortify them against it; it modifies their judgment at the same time that it subjugates their will.

At the bottom of their souls, the master and the servant no longer see a profound dissimilarity between them, and they neither hope nor fear ever to find one. So they are without disdain and without anger, and they find themselves neither humble nor proud when they look at each other.

The master judges that the contract is the only source of his power, and the servant finds in it the only cause of his obedience. They do not argue with each other over the reciprocal position that they occupy; instead each one easily sees his own position and sticks to it. [You do not see arising between these two men ardent or deep affections, but as they have <constantly a limited need for each other, they look upon each other with a sort of tranquil benevolence.>]

In our [{democratic}] armies, the soldier is more or less taken from the same classes as the officers and can reach the same posts; outside of military ranks, the soldier considers himself as perfectly equal to his leaders, and he is in fact; but when in military service, he has no difficulty obeying, and Edition: current; Page: [1016] his obedience, although voluntary and well-defined, is no less prompt, clear and easy.

This gives an idea of what happens in democratic societies between the servant and the master.

It would be insane to believe that there could ever arise between these two men any of those ardent and deep affections that are sometimes lit within aristocratic domestic service, or that striking examples of devotion should be seen to appear.

In aristocracies, the servant and the master see each other only from time to time, and they often speak only by intermediary. But they usually depend closely on one another.

Among democratic peoples, the servant and the master are very close; their bodies are constantly in contact, their souls do not mingle; they have shared occupations, they almost never have shared interests.

Among these peoples, the servant always considers himself as a passer-by in the house of his masters. He has not known their ancestors and will not see their descendants; he has nothing lasting to expect from them. Why would he confuse his existence with theirs, and from where would this singular self-abandonment come? The reciprocal position has changed; the relationship must do so.

I would like to be able to support all that precedes with the example of the Americans; but I cannot do so without carefully distinguishing peoples and places.

In the south of the Union, slavery exists. So all that I have just said cannot apply.

In the North, most servants are emancipated slaves or the sons of those emancipated. These men occupy a disputed position in public esteem; the law brings them closer to the level of their master, mores stubbornly push them away. They themselves do not clearly discern their place, and they appear almost always insolent or cringing.

But, in these same provinces of the North, particularly in New England, you find a fairly large number of whites who consent, in return for a salary, to subject themselves temporarily to the will of their fellows. I have heard it said that the servants usually fulfill the duties of their condition with exactitude and intelligence, and that, without believing themselves naturally Edition: current; Page: [1017] inferior to the one who is giving them orders, they easily submit to obeying him.

It seemed to me that those servants brought to their service some of the manly habits given birth by independence and equality. Once having chosen a hard condition, they did not look for indirect ways to escape from it, and they respect themselves enough not to refuse to their masters an obedience that they have freely promised.

On their side, the masters demand of their servants only faithful and strict execution of the contract; they do not ask them for respect; they do not claim their love or their devotion; it is enough to find them punctual and honest.

So it would not be true to say that, under democracy, the relationships of servant and master are disorderly; they are organized in another manner; the rule is different, but there is a rule.

I do not have to search here if this new state that I have just described is inferior to that which preceded, or if it is only different. It is enough for me that it is well-ordered and fixed; for what is most important to find among men is not a certain order, but order.

But what will I say about those sad and turbulent periods during which equality is being founded amid the tumult of a revolution, while democracy, after being established in the social state, is still struggling with difficulty against prejudices and mores?

The law and, in part, opinion already proclaim that no natural and permanent inferiority exists between servant and master. But this new faith has not yet deeply penetrated the mind of the latter, or rather his heart rejects it. In the secrecy of his soul, the master still considers that he is a particular and superior species; but he does not dare to say so, and he allows himself to be drawn trembling toward the standard level. His command becomes at the very same time timid and hard; already he no longer feels for his servants the protective and benevolent sentiments that always arise from a long-standing, uncontested power, and he is astonished that having himself changed, his servant changes. He wants his servant, who is only so to speak passing through domestic service, to contract regular and permanent habits, to show himself satisfied with and proud of a servile position, from which he must sooner or later emerge; he wants his servant to Edition: current; Page: [1018] devote himself to a man who can neither protect nor ruin him, and to become attached finally, by an eternal bond, to beings who resemble him and who do not last any longer than he does.

Among aristocratic peoples, it often happens that the condition of domestic service does not debase the souls of those who submit to it, because they do not know and do not imagine any others, and because the prodigious inequality that is exhibited between them and the master seems to them the necessary and inevitable result of some hidden law of Providence.

Under democracy, the condition of domestic service has nothing degrading about it, because it is freely chosen, temporarily adopted, because public opinion does not condemn it, and because it creates no permanent inequality between the servant and the master.n

But, during the passage from one social condition to another, a moment almost always comes when the minds of men vacillate between the aristocratic notion of subjection and the democratic notion of obedience.

Obedience then loses its morality in the eyes of the one who obeys; he no longer considers it as an obligation in a way divine, and he does not yet see it in its purely human aspect; in his eyes it is neither holy or just, and he submits to it as to a degrading and useful fact.

At that moment, the confused and incomplete image of equality presents itself to the mind of the servants; they do not at first discern if it is in the very condition of domestic service or outside of it that this equality to which they have a right is found, and at the bottom of their hearts they revolt against an inferiority to which they have subjected themselves and from which they profit. They consent to serve, and they are ashamed to obey [<and while the masters still refuse to acknowledge equality outside of domestic service, the second want to find it even within these very limits>]; they love the advantages of servitude, but not the master, or, to say it better, they are not sure if they should not be the masters, and they are disposed to consider the one who commands them as the unjust usurper of their right.

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That is when you see in the house of each citizen something analogous to the sad spectacle that political society presents. A hidden and internal war goes on constantly between always suspicious and rival powers. The master shows himself ill-willed and soft, the servant ill-willed and intractable; the one wants to shirk constantly, by dishonest limitations, the obligation to protect and to pay, the other wants to shirk the obligation to obey. Between them the reins of domestic administration hang loose, and each one tries hard to seize them. The lines that divide authority from tyranny, liberty from license, right from fact, seem in their eyes muddled and confused, and no one knows precisely what he is, or what he can do, or what he should do.

Such a state is not democratic, but revolutionary.o

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chapter 6a: How Democratic Institutions and Mores Tend to Raise the Cost and Shorten the Length of Leases

What I said about servants and masters applies to a certain point to landowners and tenant farmers. The subject merits, however, to be considered separately.

In America, there are, so to speak, no tenant farmers; every man owns the field that he cultivates.

It must be recognized that democratic laws tend powerfully to increase the number of landowners and to decrease that of tenant farmers. Nonetheless, what is happening in the United States must be attributed much less to the new institutions of the country than to the country itself. In America land costs little, and everyone becomes a landowner easily. The land yields little, and its products can be shared by a landowner and a tenant farmer only with difficulty.

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So America is unique in this as in other things; and it would be an error to take it as an example.

I think that in democratic countries as well as in aristocracies, landowners and tenant farmers will be found; but landowners and tenant farmers will not be bound together in the same way.

In aristocracies, farm rents are paid not only in money, but also in respect, in affection and in services. In democratic countries, they are paid only in money.b When patrimonies divide and change hands, and when the permanent relationship that existed between families and the land disappears, it is no longer anything except chance that puts the landowner and the Edition: current; Page: [1022] tenant farmer in contact. They join together for a moment to debate the conditions of the contract, and afterward lose sight of each other. They are two strangers brought together by interest who rigorously discuss a matter that concerns only money.

As property is divided and wealth is dispersed here and there over the whole surface of the country, the State fills with men whose old wealth is in decline and with the newly rich whose needs increase faster than their resources. For all of them, the least profit is of consequence, and no one among them feels disposed to allow any one of his advantages to escape, or to lose any portion whatsoever of his income.

Since ranks are mingling and the very greatest as well as the very smallest fortunes are becoming rarer, there is less distance every day between the social condition of the landowner and that of the tenant farmer; the one does not naturally have an undisputed superiority over the other. Now, between two equal men in straitened circumstances, what can the subject of a rental contract be, if not money?c

A man whose property is an entire district and who owns one hundred small farms understands that it is a matter of winning the hearts of several thousand men at the same time; this seems to him to merit his efforts. To attain such a great objective, he easily makes sacrifices.

The one who owns a hundred acres is not burdened by such concerns; it is hardly important for him to win the particular goodwill of his tenant.

An aristocracy does not die like a man, in a day. Its principle is destroyed slowly deep within souls, before being attacked in the laws. So a long time before war breaks out against an aristocracy, you see the bond that until then united the upper classes to the lower loosen little by little. Indifference and scorn betray one side; jealousy and hate, the other. Relations between the poor and the rich become rarer and less mild; the cost of leases rises. It is not yet the result of the democratic revolution, but it is the sure sign of it. For an aristocracy that has allowed the heart of the people to escape Edition: current; Page: [1023] definitively from its hands, is like a tree with dead roots; the higher it is, the more easily is it toppled by the winds.

For fifty years, the cost of farm rents has grown prodigiously, not only in France, but in most of Europe. The singular progress made by agriculture and industry during the same period is not enough, in my mind, to explain this phenomenon. You must resort to some other more powerful and more hidden cause. I think that this cause must be sought in the democratic institutions that several European peoples have adopted and in the democratic passions that more or less agitate all the others.

I have often heard great English landowners congratulate themselves that, in our times, they draw much more money from their estates than their fathers did.d

Perhaps they are right to be pleased; but certainly they do not know what they are pleased about. They think they are making a clear profit, and they are only making an exchange. It is their influence that they are giving up for cash; and what they gain in money, they are soon going to lose in power.

There is still another sign by which you can easily recognize that a great democratic revolution is being accomplished or is being prepared.

In the Middle Ages, nearly all the land was rented in perpetuity, or at least at very long term. When you study the domestic economy of that time, you see that leases of ninety-nine years were more frequent than those of twelve years are today.

Everyone believed then in the immortality of families; conditions seemed fixed forever, and the whole society appeared so immobile that no one imagined that anything ever had to move within it.

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In centuries of equality, the human mind takes a different turn. It easily believes that nothing is unchanging. The idea of instability possesses it.

In this frame of mind, the landowner and the tenant himself feel a sort of instinctive horror for long-term obligations; they fear being limited one day by an agreement that they profit from today. They vaguely expect some sudden and unforeseen change in their condition. They are afraid of themselves; they fear that, when their taste changes, they will be distressed by not being able to leave what was the object of their desires, and they are right to fear it; for in democratic centuries, what is most changeable, amid the movement of things, is the heart of man.

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16. Pencil comment of Tocqueville’s on Beaumont’s Marie manuscript (with kind permission from the Beinecke Library, Yale University).

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17. Birds in Memphis, original watercolor by Gustave de Beaumont (with kind permission from the Beinecke Library, Yale University).

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chapter 7a: Influence of Democracy on Salaries

Most of the remarks that I made previously, when talking about servants and masters, can be applied to masters and workers.b

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As [<{conditions become equal}; as ranks blend and>] the rules of social hierarchy are less observed, while the great descend, the small rise and poverty as well as wealth ceases to be hereditary, you see the distance that separates the worker from the master decrease every day in fact and in opinion.

The worker conceives a higher idea of his rights, of his future, of himself; a new ambition, new desires fill him, new needs assail him. At every moment, he casts eyes full of covetousness on the profits of those who employ him; in order to come to share them, he tries hard to set his work at the highest price, and he usually ends by succeeding in doing so.

[Thus equality of conditions tends to lead to the gradual elevation of salaries, and in turn, the elevation of salaries constantly increases equality of conditions. So the slow and progressive augmentation of salaries seems to me one of the general laws that govern democratic societies.

But, in our times, a great and unfortunate exception presents itself.

I showed in the first part of this work how a few of the principles of aristocracy, after being chased away from political society found refuge in the industrial world. This profoundly modifies, but only in some points, the general truth that I announced above.]c

In democratic countries, as elsewhere, most industries are conducted at little cost by men not placed by wealth and enlightenment above the common level of those they employ. These entrepreneurs of industry are very numerous; their interests differ; [their number varies and is constantly renewed] Edition: current; Page: [1027] so they cannot easily agree among themselves and combine their efforts.

On the other side, almost all the workers have some assured resources that allow them to refuse their services when someone does not want to give them what they consider as just payment for their work.

In the continual struggle that these two classes wage over salaries, strength is therefore divided; successes alternate.

It is even to be believed that in the long run the interest of the workers must prevail; for the high salaries that they have already gained make them less dependent every day on their masters, and the more independent they are, the more easily they can gain an increase in salaries.

I will take as example the industry that today is still the most practiced among us, as among nearly all the nations of the world: the cultivation of the land.

In France, most of those who rent their services to cultivate the soil themselves possess a few parcels, which if necessary, allow them to subsist without working for others. When the latter come to offer their hands to the great landowner or to a neighboring farmer, and they refuse to give them a certain salary, they withdraw to their small domain and wait for another occasion to present itself.d

I think that by taking these things as a whole, you can say that the slow and progressive elevation of salaries is one of the general laws that govern democratic societies. As conditions become more equal, salaries rise, and the higher salaries are, the more equal conditions become.

But, in our times, a great and unfortunate exception is found.

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I showed, in a preceding chapter,e how aristocracy, chased from political society, withdrew into certain parts of the industrial world, and there established its dominion under another form.

This powerfully influences the level of salaries.f

As it is necessary to be already very rich in order to undertake the great industries I am talking about, the number of those who undertake them is very small. Being few, they can easily be in league with each other, and set the price that they please for work.g

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Their workers are, on the contrary, in very great number, and the quantity grows constantly; for extraordinary prosperity arrives from time to time during which salaries rise beyond measure and attract the surrounding population to manufacturing. Now, once men have entered this career, we have seen that they cannot come out of it, because they do not take long to contract the habits of body and mind that make them unsuited to any other labor.h These men in general have little enlightenment, industry and resources; so they are almost at the mercy of their master. When competition or other fortuitous circumstances make the gains of the latter decrease, he can restrict their salaries almost at will, and easily regain from them what fortune has taken away from him.

If by common agreement they refuse work, the master, who is a rich man, can easily wait, without ruining himself, until necessity leads them back to him; but they must work every day in order to live, for they have hardly any other property except their hands. Oppression has already for a long time impoverished them, and they are easier to oppress as they become poorer. It is a vicious circle from which they can in no way emerge.

[Thus, while in the rest of society ranks mingle each day and conditions become closer, an immense distance, greater every day, separates the servant and the master here. Their position, their future, their tastes, their mores differ profoundly. Nothing in their lot is similar. Between these two men, contact is purely material; their souls do not know each other. <The master has only a confused idea of the needs, the sufferings and the joys of the worker. So he can feel for him only a little sympathy; in his eyes, the worker is not his fellow, not even his neighbor, for Christian charity hardly warms Edition: current; Page: [1030] hearts in our time.> So in these industries, the master finds himself with regard to his workers in a position analogous to the one formerly occupied by the great landed proprietor vis-à-vis the agricultural class. With this difference, nonetheless, that the aristocracy based on trade establishes no solid bond of memory, affection, and interest with the population that surrounds it; that it hardly ever settles in a permanent manner amid the surrounding population and that its goal is not to govern that population, but to make use of it.]j

So you should not be astonished if salaries, after sometimes rising suddenly, go down here in a permanent way, while in other professions, the cost of labor, which in general grows only little by little, increases constantly.

This state of dependence and misery in which a part of the industrial population finds itself in our time is an exceptional fact contrary to all that surrounds it; but for this very reason, there is no fact more serious, or one that better deserves to attract the particular attention of the legislator; for it is difficult, when the whole society moves, to hold one class immobile, and it is difficult, when the greatest number constantly open new roads to fortune, to make a few endure their needs and their desires in peace.

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chapter 8a: Influence of Democracy on the Familyb

I have just examined how, among democratic peoples, and in particular among the Americans, equality of conditions modifies the relationships of citizens with each other.

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I want to penetrate further, and enter the bosom of the family. My goal here is not to look for new truths, but to show how facts already known are related to my subject.

Everyone has noticed that in our time new relationships have been established among the different members of the family, that the distance that formerly separated the father from his son has diminished, and that paternal authority has been, if not destroyed, at least altered.

Something analogous, but still more striking, is seen in the United States.

In America, the family, taking this word in its Roman and aristocratic sense, does not exist.c Some remnants are found only during the first years following the birth of the children. The father then exercises, without opposition, the domestic dictatorship that the weakness of his sons requires and that their interest, as well as his incontestable superiority, justifies.d

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But from the moment when the young American approaches manhood, the bonds of filial obedience loosen day by day. Master of his thoughts, the young American is soon master of his conduct. In America, there is no adolescence strictly speaking. Coming out of childhood, the man is revealed and begins to follow his own path.

You would be wrong to believe that this happens following a domestic struggle, in which the son gained, by a kind of moral violence, the liberty that his father refused to him. The same habits, the same principles that push the son to seize independence, dispose the other to consider the use of that independence as an incontestable right.

So you notice in the first none of these wild passions, full of hatred, that agitate men for a long time after they have escaped from an established power. The second does not feel those regrets, full of bitterness and anger, that usually outlast the deposed power. The father saw from afar the limits at which his authority had to expire; and when time has brought him to those limits, he abdicates without difficulty. The son foresaw in advance the precise period when his own will would become his rule, and he takes hold of liberty without rushing and without effort, as a good that he is due and that no one seeks to take away from him.1

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It is perhaps useful to demonstrate how these changes that took place in the family are closely tied to the social and political revolution that is finally being accomplished before our eyes.f

There are certain great social principles that a people apply everywhere or allow to subsist nowhere.

In countries organized aristocratically and hierarchically, power never addresses itself directly to the whole of the governed. Since men depend on each other, you limit yourself to leading the first ones. The rest follow. This applies to the family, as to all associations that have a head. Among aristocratic peoples, society knows, strictly speaking, only the father. It holds onto the sons only by the hands of the father; it governs him and he governs them. So the father has not only a natural right. He is given a political right to command. He is the author and the sustainer of the family; he is also its magistrate.

In democracies, where the arm of the government goes to find each man in particular in the middle of the crowd in order to bend him separately to the common laws, there is no need for such an intermediary; the father is, in the eyes of the law, only a citizen older and richer than his sons.

When most conditions are very unequal, and when inequality of conditions is permanent, the idea of the superior grows in the imagination of men; should the law not grant him prerogatives, custom and opinion concede them to him.g When, on the contrary, men differ little from each other and do not always remain dissimilar, the general notion of the superior Edition: current; Page: [1036] becomes weaker and less clear; in vain does the will of the legislator try hard to place the one who obeys far below the one who commands; mores bring these two men closer to each other and draw them every day toward the same level.

So if I do not see, in the legislation of an aristocratic people, particular privileges accorded to the head of the family, I will not fail to be assured that his power is very respected and more extensive than within a democracy; for I know that, whatever the laws, the superior will always seem higher and the inferior lower in aristocracies than among democratic peoples.

When men live in the memory of what was rather than in the preoccupation with what is, and when they are much more concerned about what their ancestors thought than about trying to think for themselves, the father is the natural and necessary bond between the past and the present, the link where these two chains end and join together.h In aristocracies, the father is therefore not only the political head of the family; he is the organ of traditions, the interpreter of customs, the arbiter of mores. You listen to him with deference; you approach him only with respect, and the love that you give him is always tempered by fear.

When the social state becomes democratic, and men adopt as general principle that it is good and legitimate to judge everything for yourself while taking ancient beliefs as information and not as a rule, the power of opinion exercised by the father over the sons, as well as his legal power, becomes less great.

The division of patrimonies that democracy brings contributes perhaps more than all the rest to changing the relationships of father and children.

When the father of the family has little property, his son and he live constantly in the same place and are busy together with the same work. Edition: current; Page: [1037] Habit and need draw them closer and force them to communicate with each other at every moment; so a sort of familial intimacy cannot fail to be established between them, which makes authority less absolute, and which is badly adapted to external forms of respect.j

Now, among democratic peoples, the class that possesses these small fortunes is precisely the one that empowers ideas and shapes mores. It at the same time makes its opinions, like its will, prevail everywhere, and even those who are most inclined to resist its commands end up letting themselves be led by its examples. I have seen fiery enemies of democracy who had their children address them with tu [the familiar form].

Thus, at the same time that power is escaping from aristocracy, you see disappear what there was of [the] austere, conventional and legal in paternal power, and a kind of equality becomes established around the domestic hearth.

I do not know if, everything considered, society loses with this change; but I am led to believe that the individual gains. I think that as mores and laws are more democratic, the relationships of father and son become more intimate and milder; rule and authority are encountered less often; confidence and affection are often greater, and it seems that the natural bond tightens, while the social bond loosens.

In the democratic family, the father exercises hardly any power other than the one that you are pleased to grant to the tenderness and experience of an old man. His orders would perhaps be unrecognized; but his advice is usually full of power. If he is not surrounded by official respect, his sons at least approach him with confidence. There is no recognized formula for speaking to him; but he is spoken to constantly and readily consulted every day. The master and the magistrate have disappeared; the father remains.

It is sufficient, to judge the difference between these two social states on this point, to skim through the domestic correspondence that aristocracies Edition: current; Page: [1038] have left us. The style is always correct, ceremonial, rigid, and so cold that the natural warmth of the heart can hardly be felt through the words.

There reigns, in contrast, in all the words that a son addresses to his father, among democratic peoples, something free, familiar, and tender at the same time that reveals at first glance that new relationships have been established within the family.

[Here, moreover, as elsewhere, the democratic revolution is accompanied and sometimes followed by great excesses.

When the barriers that separated the different members of the family go down, before new limits are yet fixed and well-known, it often happens that the father and the children mix in a kind of unnatural equality and gross familiarity. The father is then no longer a tender, but grave and a bit austere friend; he is a joyful companion of pleasure and sometimes a vile comrade of debauchery. He does not work to elevate the reason of his sons to the level of his. To please them better, he reduces his maturity to the level of their juvenile passions.

This is anarchy and corruption, and not democracy.]k An analogous revolution modifies the mutual relationships of the children.

In an aristocratic family, as well as in aristocratic society, all the places are marked. Not only does the father there occupy a separate rank and enjoy immense privileges; the children themselves are not equal to each other; age and gender fix irrevocably for each his rank and assure him certain prerogatives. Democracy overturns or reduces most of these barriers.

In the aristocratic family, the eldest of the sons, since he inherits the greatest part of the property and almost all the rights, becomes the head and to a certain point the master of his brothers. Greatness and power are his; mediocrity and dependence are theirs. Nonetheless, it would be a mistake to believe that, among aristocratic peoples, the privileges of the eldest were advantages to him alone, and that they excited around him only envy and hate.

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The eldest usually tries hard to obtain wealth and power for his brothers, because the general splendor of the house is reflected on the one who represents it; and the younger brothers try to facilitate all the enterprises of the eldest, because the grandeur and strength of the head of the family make him more and more able to elevate all the branches.

So the various members of the aristocratic family are very tightly bound together; their interests go together, their minds are in agreement; but it is rare that their hearts understand each other.

Democracy also joins the brothers to each other; but it goes about it in another way.

Under democratic laws, the children are perfectly equal, consequently independent; nothing necessarily draws them closer together, but also nothing pushes them apart; and since they have a common origin, grow up under the same roof, are the object of the same concerns, and since no particular prerogative differentiates or separates them, you see arising easily among them the sweet and youthful intimacy of childhood. With the bond thus formed at the beginning of life, occasions for breaking that bond hardly present themselves, for fraternity draws them closer each day without hampering them.

So it is not by interests, it is by the community of memories and the free sympathy of opinions and tastes that democracy attaches brothers to each other. It divides their inheritance, but it allows their souls to blend.

The sweet pleasure of these democratic mores is so great that the partisans of aristocracy themselves allow themselves to adopt it, and after enjoying it for a time, they are not tempted to return to the respectful and cold forms of the aristocratic family. They willingly keep the domestic habits of democracy, provided that they can reject its social state and its laws. But these things go together, and you cannot enjoy the first without undergoing the others.

What I have just said about filial love and fraternal tenderness must be understood about all the passions that spontaneously have their sources in nature itself.

When a certain way of thinking or of feeling is the product of a particular state of humanity, once this state changes, nothing remains. Thus, the law can tie two citizens very closely together; once the law is abolished, they Edition: current; Page: [1040] separate [and again become strangers]. There was nothing tighter than the knot that joined the vassal to the lord in the feudal world. Now these two men no longer know each other. The fear, the recognition and the love that formerly bound them have disappeared. You do not find a trace of them.

But it is not so with the natural sentiments of the human species. It is rare that the law, by trying hard to bend those sentiments in a certain way, does not weaken them, that by wanting to add to them, the law does not take something away from them, and that, left to themselves, those sentiments are not always stronger.

Democracy, which destroys or obscures nearly all the old social conventions and prevents men from stopping easily at new ones, makes most of the sentiments that arise from these conventions disappear entirely. But it only modifies the others, and often it gives them an energy and a sweetness that they did not have.

I think that it is not impossible to contain in a single sentence the entire meaning of this chapter and of several others that precede it. Democracy loosens social bonds, but it tightens natural bonds. It brings family members closer together at the same time that it separates citizens.

[This in my view is one of the most incontestable advantages of democratic institutions. When men are naturally strangers [v: far apart], it can be good to draw them toward each other and tie them together in an artificial way. But when they are naturally close and keep together, the science of the legislator rarely adds to their union and can harm it.]m

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chapter 9a: Education of Young Girls in the United Statesb

There have never been free societies without morals, and as I said in the first part of this work, it is the woman who molds the morals. So everything that influences the condition of women, their habits and their opinions, has a great political interest in my view.c

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Among nearly all the Protestant nations, young girls are infinitely more in control of their actions than among Catholic peoples.

This independence is still greater in Protestant countries that, like England, have kept or acquired the right to govern themselves. Liberty then penetrates the family by political habits and by religious beliefs.

In the United States, the doctrines of Protestantism come to combine with a very free constitution and a very democratic social state; and nowhere is the young girl more quickly or more completely left to herself.

A long time before the young American girl has reached nubile age, she begins to be freed little by little from maternal protection; she has not yet entirely left childhood when already she thinks by herself, speaks freely and acts alone; the great world scene is exposed constantly before her; far from trying to hide it from her view, it is laid bare more and more every day before her sight, and she is taught to consider it with a firm and calm eye. Thus, the vices and perils presented by society do not take long to be revealed to her; she sees them clearly, judges them without illusion and faces them without fear; for she is full of confidence in her strength, and her confidence seems shared by all those who surround her.

So you must almost never expect to find with the American young girl this virginal guilelessness amid awakening desires, anymore than these **naı¨ve and ingenuous graces that usually accompany the European girl in the passage from childhood to youth. It is rare that the American, whatever her age, shows puerile timidity and ignorance. Like the European young girl, she wants to please, but she knows the cost precisely. If she does not give Edition: current; Page: [1043] herself to evil, at least she knows about it; she has pure morals, rather than a chaste mind.

I was often surprised and almost frightened by seeing the singular dexterity and happy boldness with which the American young girls knew how to direct their thoughts and their words amid the pitfalls of a lively conversation; a philosopher would have stumbled a hundred times on the narrow path that they traveled without accident and without difficulty.

It is easy in fact to recognize that, even amid the independence of her earliest youth, the American girl never entirely ceases to be in control of herself; she enjoys all permitted pleasures without abandoning herself to any one of them, and her reason never relinquishes the reins, although it often seems to let them hang loosely.d

In France, where we still mix in such a strange way the debris of all the ages in our opinions and in our tastes, it often happens that we give women a timid, secluded and almost monastic education, as in the time of aristocracy; and we then abandon them suddenly, without guide and without help, amid the disorders inseparable from a democratic society.

The Americans are in better harmony with themselves.

They have seen that, within a democracy, individual independence could not fail to be very great, youth precocious, tastes badly restrained, custom changeable, public opinion often uncertain or powerless, paternal authority weak and marital power in question.e

In this state of things, they judged that there was little chance of being able to repress in the woman the most tyrannical passions of the human heart, and that it was surer to teach her the art of combatting them herself. As they could not prevent her virtue from often being in danger, they wanted her to know how to defend her virtue, and they counted more on the free effort of her will than on weakened or destroyed barriers. So instead of keeping her distrustful of herself, they try constantly to increase her Edition: current; Page: [1044] confidence in her own strength. Having neither the possibility nor the desire to keep the young girl in a perpetual and complete ignorance, they hastened to give her a precocious knowledge of everything. Far from hiding the corrupt things of the world from her, they wanted her to see them first and train herself to flee them, and they preferred to guarantee her honesty than to respect her innocence too much.f

Although the Americans are a strongly religious people, they did not rely on religion alone to defend the virtue of the woman; they sought to arm her reason. In this, as in many other circumstances, they followed the same Edition: current; Page: [1045] method. They first made incredible efforts to get individual independence to regulate itself, and it is only after arriving at the farthest limits of human strength, that they finally called religion to their help [and made it sustain them in its arms].g

I know that such an education is not without danger; nor am I unaware that it tends to develop judgment at the expense of imagination, and to make honest and cold women rather than tender wives and amiable companions to man. If society is more tranquil and better ordered because of it, private life often has fewer charms. But those are secondary evils that must be faced because of a larger interest. Having come to the point where we are, we are no longer allowed to make a choice. A democratic education is needed to protect the woman from the perils with which the institutions and mores of democracy surround her.

[Fragment of rubish that was to have served to link this chapter to the one following.

[The beginning is missing (ed.)] her family? To each she addresses a word, a smile, a look. Young men who met her in a public gathering approach her; and while walking, she converses familiarly with them. By the freedom of all her movements, you easily find that nothing in her actions should surprise those who see her or trouble herself. Liberty and at the same time the discreet reserve of her words show that, despite her young age, she has already ceased to see the world through the virginal veil of first innocence and that, if she has not yet learned at her expense to know human perversity, the example of others has at least been enough to teach her about it. Do not be afraid that the flow of a lively conversation will lead her beyond the limits of propriety; she is the mistress of her thought like all the rest, and she knows how to hold herself easily within the narrow space that separates innocent banter from licentious speech. Philosophers have argued among themselves for six thousand years to determine the precise point where virtue ends and vice begins, but here is a young girl who seems to have known how to separate them at first glance. Constantly, you see her approach with assurance these formidable limits that she almost never crosses.

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Do you want more? Do you desire to know her better still? Follow her in these brilliant circles where, perhaps alone, she is going this evening. There you will be able to contemplate her in the full use of her independence and in all the splendor of triumph. That is where she enjoys beyond measure, you could almost say that she abuses without regret, the triple dominion given by spirit, youth and beauty. She carries along in her wake, she enlivens those around her. You say to her that she is beautiful, and she does not try to hide that she is pleased to receive these tributes that admiration lavishes on her. Some come forward to listen to her, others draw her aside in order to enjoy alone the pleasure of hearing her. She speaks about literature, politics, clothes, morals, love, religion, the fine arts, following the occasion of the moment and her desires. Sometimes she herself seems intoxicated by her own words.

But then where is her father? Enclosed in a dusty corner of his house, he is calculating . . . [large blank (ed.)]

And her mother? Her mother consecrates every instant to the care of a still young family; perhaps at this moment she is breast-feeding a twelfth infant just sent to her by Providence. The one, like the other, is little concerned about the actions of their daughter. Do not conclude that they are indifferent to her fate; they trust more in her precocious reason than in their surveillance.

<I am in truth sorry to find fortuitously a connection between something as gracious and as light as the emerging coquetry [v: innocent liberty] of a young girl and a matter as grave and as austere as philosophy, but the necessity of my subject forces me.

So I think, since it must be said, that it is in the philosophical method of the Americans that you must seek one of the first causes of this great liberty left to youth by a common [v: tacit] agreement.

The inhabitants of the United States have accepted in a general manner that it was good not to chain the human mind by precedents and customs, that you must not bind the mind to form or enslave it to means, but that to a certain point it must be left to its natural independence, and you must allow each person to march toward truth by his own path.

Starting from this doctrine, they are not afraid to base society on foundations unknown to their predecessors. They have imposed new rules on comm[erce (ed.)] and uncovered new resources for human industry.

It is by virtue of this same doctrine that young American girls remain Edition: current; Page: [1047] themselves and can without shame obey the free impulses of their nature in everything that is not criminal.>

It is true that in America the independence of the woman becomes lost . . . (In the jacket entitled to profit from the ideas of this chapter (if i have not already done it) by seeing again the chapters on the woman, Rubish, 2).]

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chapter 10a: How the Young Girl Is Found Again in the Features of the Wife

In America, the independence of the woman becomes irretrievably lost amid the bonds of marriage. If the young girl is less restrained there than anywhere else, the wife submits to the most strict obligations. The one makes the paternal home a place of liberty and pleasure, the other lives in the house of her husband as in a cloister.b

These two conditions so different are perhaps not so contrary as you suppose, and it is natural that American women pass by the one in order to reach the other.

Religious peoples and industrial nations have a particularly serious idea of marriage. The first consider the regularity of the life of a woman as the best guarantee and the most certain sign of the purity of her morals. The others see in it the sure proof of the order and the prosperity of the house.

The Americans form at the very same time a Puritan nation and a commercial people; so their religious beliefs, as well as their industrial habits, Edition: current; Page: [1049] lead them to require from the woman an abnegation of herself and a continual sacrifice of her pleasures to her business, which it is rare to ask of her in Europe. Thus, an inexorable public opinion reigns in the United States that carefully encloses the woman in the small circle of domestic interests and duties, and that forbids her to go beyond it.c

Coming into the world, the young American woman finds these notions firmly established; she sees the rules that derive from them; she does not take long to be convinced that she cannot escape one moment from the customs of her contemporaries without immediately endangering her tranquillity, her honor and even her social existence, and in the firmness of her reason and in the manly habits that her education gave her, she finds the energy to submit.

You can say that it is from the practice of independence that she drew the courage to endure the sacrifice without struggle and without complaint, when the moment has come to impose it on herself.

The American woman, moreover, never falls into the bonds of marriage as into a trap set for her simplicity and ignorance. She has been taught in advance what is expected of her, and it is by herself and freely that she puts herself under the yoke. She courageously bears her new condition because she has chosen it.

As in America paternal discipline is very lax and the conjugal bond is very strict, it is only with circumspection and with fear that a young girl incurs it. Premature unions are scarcely seen. So American women marry only when their reason is trained and developed; while elsewhere most women begin to train and to develop their reason only in marriage.

I am, moreover, very far from believing that this great change that takes place in all the habits of women in the United States, as soon as they are married, must be attributed only to the constraint of public opinion. Often they impose it on themselves solely by the effort of their will.

When the time has arrived to choose a husband, this cold and austere Edition: current; Page: [1050] reason, which the free view of the world has enlightened and strengthened, indicates to the American woman that a light and independent spirit in the bonds of marriage is a matter of eternal trouble, not of pleasure; that the amusements of the young girl cannot become the diversions of the wife, and that for the woman the sources of happiness are in the conjugal home. Seeing in advance and clearly the only road that can lead to domestic felicity, she takes it with her first steps, and follows it to the end without trying to go back.

This same vigor of will that the young wives of America display, by bowing suddenly and without complaint to the austere duties of their new state, is found as well in all the great trials of their life.

There is no country in the world where particular fortunes are more unstable than in the United States. It is not rare that, in the course of his existence, the same man climbs and again descends all the degrees that lead from opulence to poverty.

The women of America bear these [sudden] revolutions with a tranquil and indomitable energy. You would say that their desires narrow with their fortune, as easily as they expand.

Most of the adventurers who go each year to people the uninhabited areas of the west belong, as I said in my first work,d to the old Anglo-American race of the North. Several of these men who run with such boldness toward wealth already enjoyed comfort in their country. They lead their companions with them and make them share the innumerable perils and miseries that always signal the beginning of such enterprises. I often met at the limits of the wilderness young women who, after being raised amid all of the refinements of the great cities of New England, had passed, almost without transition, from the rich homes of their parents to a badly sealed hut in the middle of a wood. Fever, solitude, boredom had not broken the main springs of their courage. Their features seemed altered and faded, but their view was firm. They appeared at once sad and resolute.

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I do not doubt that these young American women had amassed, in their first education, this internal strength that they then used.

So the young girl in the United States is still found in the features of the wife; the role has changed, the habits differ, the spirit is the same.

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chapter 11a: How Equality of Conditions Contributes to Maintaining Good Morals in America

There are philosophers and historians who have said, or implied, that women were more or less severe in their morals depending on whether they lived farther from or closer to the equator. That is getting out of the matter cheaply, and in this case, a globe and a compass would suffice to resolve in an instant one of the most difficult problems that humanity presents.

I do not see that this materialistic doctrine is established by the facts.

The same nations have shown themselves, in different periods of their history, chaste or dissolute. So the regularity or the disorderliness of their Edition: current; Page: [1053] morals is due to a few changeable causes, and not only to the nature of the country, which did not change.

I will not deny that, in certain climates, the passions that arise from the mutual attraction of the sexes are particularly ardent; but I think that this natural ardor can always be excited or restrained by the social state and the political institutions.

Although the travelers who have visited North America differ among themselves on several points, they all agree in noting that morals there are infinitely more severe than anywhere else.

It is clear that, on this point, the Americans are very superior to their fathers, the English. A superficial view of the two nations is enough to show it.b

In England, as in all the other countries of Europe, public spite is constantly brought to bear on the weaknesses of women. You often hear philosophers and statesmen complain that morals are not regular enough, and literature assumes it every day.

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In America, all books, without excepting novels, assume women to be chaste, and no one tells racy escapades.

This great regularity of American morals is undoubtedly due in part to the country, to race, to religion.c But all these causes, which are found elsewhere, are still not enough to explain it. For that you must resort to some particular reason.

This reason appears to me to be equality and the institutions that derive from it.

Equality of conditions does not by itself alone produce regularity of morals; but you cannot doubt that it facilitates and augments it.

Among aristocratic peoples, birth and fortune often make men and women beings so different that they can never succeed in uniting. Passions draw them together, but the social state and the ideas that the social state suggests prevent them from joining in a permanent and open way. From that a great number of fleeting and clandestine unions necessarily arise. Nature compensates in secret for the constraint that the laws impose.

The same thing does not happen when equality of conditions has made all the imaginary or real barriers that separate the man from the woman fall. There is then no young woman who does not believe herself able to become the wife of the man she prefers; this makes disorderliness in morals before marriage very difficult. For, whatever the credulity of passions, there is hardly any way for a woman to be persuaded that someone loves her when he is perfectly free to marry her and does not do so.

The same cause acts, although in a more indirect manner, in marriage.

Nothing serves better to legitimate illegitimate love in the eyes of those who feel it or in the eyes of the crowd who contemplate it, than forced unions or unions made by chance.1

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In a country where the woman always freely exercises her choice, and where education has made her able to choose well, public opinion is unrelenting about her faults.

The rigor of the Americans arises in part from that. They consider marriage as an often onerous contract, but one by which you are nonetheless bound strictly to execute all the clauses, because you were able to know them in advance and you enjoyed complete liberty not to commit yourself to anything.d

What makes fidelity more obligatory makes it easier.

In aristocratic countries the purpose of marriage is to join property rather than persons; consequently it sometimes happens that the husband is chosen while in school and the wife while in the care of a wet-nurse. It is not surprising that the conjugal bond that holds the fortunes of the two married individuals together allows their hearts to wander at random. That flows naturally from the spirit of the contract.

When, on the contrary, each person always chooses his own companion, without anything external hindering or even guiding him, it is usually only Edition: current; Page: [1056] similarity of tastes and ideas that draw the man and the woman closer; and this same similarity holds and settles them next to one another.

Our fathers had conceived a singular opinion in regard to marriage.

As they had noticed that the small number of marriages by inclination that took place in their time had almost always had a disastrous outcome, they had concluded resolutely that in such matters it was very dangerous to consult your own heart. Chance seemed more clear-sighted than choice.

It was not very difficult to see, however, that the examples they had before their eyes proved nothing.e

I will remark first that, if democratic peoples grant to women the right to choose freely their husbands, they take care in advance to provide their minds with the enlightenment, and their wills with the strength, that can be necessary for such a choice; while the young women who, among aristocratic peoples, escape furtively from paternal authority in order to throw themselves into the arms of a man whom they have been given neither the time to know nor the capacity to judge, lack all of these guarantees. You cannot be surprised that they make bad use of their free will, the first time that they use it; or that they fall into such cruel errors when, not having received democratic education, they want to follow, in marrying, the customs of democracy.

But there is more.

When a man and a woman want to come together across the inequalities of the aristocratic social state, they have immense obstacles to overcome. After breaking or loosening the bonds of filial obedience, they have to escape, by a final effort, the rule of custom and the tyranny of opinion; and when finally they have reached the end of this hard undertaking, they find themselves like strangers in the middle of their natural friends and close relatives; the prejudice that they overcame separates them from these friends and relatives. This situation does not take long to drain their courage and to embitter their hearts.

So if it happens that spouses united in this way are at first unhappy, and Edition: current; Page: [1057] then guilty, it must not be attributed to the fact that they freely chose each other, but rather to the fact that they live in a society that does not accept such choices.

You must not forget, moreover, that the same effort that makes a man depart violently from a common delusion almost always carries him beyond reason; that, to dare to declare a war, even a legitimate one, against the ideas of your century and your country, the spirit must have a certain fierce and adventurous disposition, and that men of this character, whatever direction they take, rarely attain happiness and virtue. And, to say so in passing, this is what explains why, in the most necessary and most holy of revolutions, so few moderate and honest revolutionaries are found.

That, in an aristocratic century, a man dares by chance to consult, concerning the conjugal union, no other preferences than his particular opinion and his taste, and that disorderliness of morals and misery do not subsequently take long to enter his household, must not therefore be surprising. But, when this same way of acting is the natural and usual order of things, when the social state facilitates it, when paternal power goes along with it and when public opinion advocates it, you must not doubt that the internal peace of families becomes greater and that conjugal faith is better kept.

Nearly all the men of democracies follow a political career or exercise a profession, and on the other hand, the mediocrity of fortunes obliges the woman there to enclose herself every day within the interior of her house, in order to preside herself, and very closely, over the details of domestic administration.

All these distinct and forced labors are like so many natural barriers that, separating the sexes, make the solicitations of the one rarer and less intense, and the resistance of the other easier.

It is not that equality of conditions can ever succeed in making men chaste; but it gives to the disorderliness of their morals a less dangerous character. Since no one then has any longer either the leisure or the occasion to attack the virtues that want to defend themselves, you see at the very same time a great number of courtesans and a multitude of honest women.f

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Such a state of things produces deplorable individual miseries, but it does not prevent the social body from being in good form and strong; it does not destroy the bonds of family and does not enervate national mores. What puts society in danger is not great corruption among a few, it is the laxity of all. In the eyes of the legislator, prostitution is less to fear than love affairs.

This tumultuous and constantly fretful life, which equality gives to men, not only diverts them from love by removing the leisure to devote themselves to it; it also turns them away by a more secret, but more certain road.

All the men who live in democratic times contract more or less the intellectual habits of the industrial and commercial classes; their minds take a serious, calculating and positive turn; they willingly turn away from the ideal in order to aim for some visible and immediate goal that presents itself as the natural and necessary object of desires. Equality does not in this way destroy imagination; but it limits it and allows it to fly only by skimming over the earth.g

No one is less of a dreamer than the citizens of a democracy, and you hardly see any who want to give themselves to these idle and solitary contemplations Edition: current; Page: [1059] that ordinarily precede and that produce the great agitations of the heart.

They put, it is true, a great value on gaining for themselves the kind of profound, regular and peaceful affection that makes the charm and the security of life; but they do not readily run after the violent and capricious emotions that disturb and shorten it.

I know that all that precedes is completely applicable only to America and cannot, for now, be extended in a general way to Europe.

During the half-century that laws and habits have with an unparalleled energy pushed several European peoples toward democracy, you do not see that among these nations the relations of man and woman have become more regular and more chaste. The opposite even allows itself to be seen in some places. Certain classes are better regulated; general morality seems more lax. I will not be afraid to note it, for I feel myself no better disposed to flatter my contemporaries than to speak ill of them.

This spectacle must be distressing, but not surprising.

The happy influence that a democratic social state can exercise on the regularity of habits is one of those facts that can only be seen in the long run. If equality of conditions is favorable to good morals, the social effort, which makes conditions equal, is very deadly to them.h

During the fifty years that France has been undergoing transformation, we have rarely had liberty, but always disorderliness. Amid this universal confusion of ideas and this general disturbance of opinions, among this incoherent mixture of the just and the unjust, of the true and the false, of the right and the fact, public virtue has become uncertain, and private morality unsteady.

But all revolutions, whatever their objective or their agents, have at first produced similar effects. Even those that ended by tightening the bond of morals began by loosening it.

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So the disorders that we often witness do not seem to be an enduring fact. Already strange signs herald it.

There is nothing more miserably corrupt than an aristocracy that keeps its wealth while losing its power, and that, reduced to vulgar enjoyments, still possesses immense leisure. The energetic passions and great thoughts that formerly had animated it then disappear, and you hardly find anything else except a multitude of small gnawing vices that attach themselves to the aristocracy like worms to a cadaver.j

No one disputes that the French aristocracy of the last century was very dissolute; while ancient habits and old beliefs still maintained respect for morals in the other classes.

Nor will anyone have any difficulty coming to agreement that, in our time, a certain severity of principles shows itself among the debris of this same aristocracy, while disorderliness of morals has seemed to spread in the middle and inferior ranks of society. So that the same families that appeared, fifty years ago, the most lax, appear today the most exemplary, and that democracy seems to have made only the aristocratic classes moral.k

[There are men who see in this fact a cause for fears about the future.

I find in it a reason for hope.]

The Revolution, by dividing the fortunes of the nobles, by forcing them Edition: current; Page: [1061] to occupy themselves assiduously with their affairs and with their families, by enclosing them with their children under the same roof, finally by giving a more reasonable and more serious turn to their thoughts, suggested to them, without their noticing it themselves, respect for religious beliefs, love of order, of peaceful pleasures, of domestic joys and of well-being; while the rest of the nation, which naturally had these same tastes, was carried toward [added: moral] disorderliness by the very effort that had to be made in order to overturn the laws and political customs.

The old French aristocracy suffered the consequences of the Revolution, and it did not feel the revolutionary passions, or share the often anarchic impulse that it produced; it is easy to imagine that it experiences in its morals the salutary influence of this revolution even before those who brought it about.

So it is permissible to say, although at first view it seems surprising, that, today, it is the most anti-democratic classes of the nation who best show the type of morality that it is reasonable to expect from democracy.

I cannot prevent myself from believing that, when we will have gained all the effects of the democratic revolution, after emerging from the tumult that arose from it, what is true today only of a few will little by little become true of all.

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chapter 12a: How the Americans Understand the Equality of Man and of Womanb

I showed how democracy destroyed or modified the various inequalities given birth by society; but is that all, and does democracy not succeed finally Edition: current; Page: [1063] in acting on this great inequality of man and woman, which has seemed, until today, to have its eternal foundation in nature?

I think that the social movement that brings closer to the same level the son and the father, the servant and the master, and in general, the inferior and the superior, elevates the woman and must more and more make her the equal of the man.

But here, more than ever, I feel the need to be well understood; for there is no subject on which the coarse and disorderly imagination of our century has been given a freer rein.

There are men in Europe who, confusing the different attributes of the sexes, claim to make the man and the woman beings, not only equal, but similar.c They give to the one as to the other the same functions, impose the same duties on them, and grant them the same rights; they mix them in everything, work, pleasures, public affairs. It can easily be imagined that by trying hard in this way to make one sex equal to the other, both are degraded; and that from this crude mixture of the works of nature only weak men and dishonest women can ever emerge.

This is not how the Americans understood the type of democratic equality that can be established between the woman and the man.d They thought that, since nature had established such a great variation between the physical and moral constitution of the man and that of the woman, its clearly indicated goal was to give a different use to their different faculties; and they judged that progress did not consist of making almost the same things out of dissimilar beings, but of having each of them fulfill his task to the best possible degree. The Americans applied to the two sexes the great principle of political economy that dominates industry today. They carefully divided the functions of the man and the woman, in order that the great work of society was better accomplished.

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America is the country in the world where the most constant care has been taken to draw clearly separated lines of action for the two sexes, and where the desire has been that both marched with an equal step, but always along different paths. You do not see American women lead matters outside of the family, conduct business, or finally enter into the political sphere; but you also do not find any who are forced to give themselves to the hard work of plowing or to any one of the difficult exercises that require the development of physical strength. There are no families so poor that they make an exception to this rule.e

If the American woman cannot escape the peaceful circle of domestic occupations, she is, on the other hand, never forced to leave it. [<She has been enclosed in her home, but there she rules.>]

The result is that American women, who often show a male reason and an entirely manly energy, conserve in general a very delicate appearance, and always remain women by manners, although they reveal themselves as men sometimes by mind and heart.

Nor have the Americans ever imagined that the consequence of democratic principles was to overturn marital authority and to introduce confusion of authority into the family.f They thought that every association, to be effective, must have a head, and that the natural head of the conjugal association was the man. So they do not deny to the latter the right to direct his companion; and they believe that, in the small society of husband and wife, as in the great political society, the goal of democracy is to regulate necessary powers and to make them legitimate, and not to destroy all power. [The Americans have, however, drawn the man and the woman closer than any other people, but it is only in the moral order.]

This opinion is not particular to one sex and contested by the other. I did not notice that American women considered conjugal authority as Edition: current; Page: [1065] a happy usurpation of their rights, or that they believed that it was degrading to submit to it. I seemed to see, on the contrary, that they took a kind of glory in the voluntary surrender of their will, and that they located their grandeur in bending to the yoke themselves and not in escaping it. That, at least, was the sentiment expressed by the most virtuous; the others kept silent, and you do not hear in the United States the adulterous wife noisily claim the rights of woman, while trampling her most holy duties under foot.

It has often been remarked that in Europe a certain disdain is found even amid the flatteries that men lavish on women; although the European man often makes himself the slave of the woman, you see that he never sincerely believes her his equal.g

In the United States, women are scarcely praised; but it is seen every day that they are respected.

American men constantly exhibit a full confidence in the reason of their companion, and a profound respect for her liberty. They judge that her mind is as capable as that of man of discovering the naked truth, and her heart firm enough to follow the truth; and they have never sought to shelter the virtue of one more than that of the other from prejudices, ignorance or fear.h

It seems that in Europe, where you submit so easily to the despotic rule of women, you nonetheless refuse them some of the greatest attributes of the human species [added: while obeying them], and that you consider them as seductive [v: inferior] and incomplete beings; and, what you cannot find too astonishing, women themselves finish by seeing themselves in the same light, and they are not far from considering as a privilege the ability that is left to them to appear frivolous, weak and fearful. American women do not demand such rights.

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You would say, on the other hand, that as regards morals, we have granted to the man a kind of singular immunity; so that there is as it were one virtue for him, and another one for his companion; and that, according to public opinion, the same act may be alternatively a crime or only a failing.

The Americans do not know this iniquitous division of duties and rights. Among them, [purity of morals in marriage and respect for conjugal faith are imposed equally on the man and on the woman and] the seducer is as dishonored as his victim.

It is true that American men rarely show to women these attentive considerations with which we enjoy surrounding them in Europe; but they always show, by their conduct, that they assume them to be virtuous and delicate; and they have such a great respect for their moral liberty that in their presence each man carefully watches his words, for fear that the women may be forced to hear language that wounds them. In America, a young girl undertakes a long journey, alone and without fear.j

The legislators of the United States, who have made nearly all the provisions of the penal code milder, punish rape with death; and there is no crime that public opinion pursues with a more inexorable ardor. This can be explained: since the Americans imagine nothing more precious than the honor of the woman, or nothing so respectable as her independence, they consider that there is no punishment too severe for those who take them away from her against her will.

In France, where the same crime is struck by much milder penalties, it is often difficult to find a jury that convicts. Would it be scorn for modesty or scorn for the woman? I cannot prevent myself from believing that it is both.

Thus, the Americans do not believe that man and woman have the duty or the right to do the same things, but they show the same respect for the role of each one of them, and they consider them as beings whose value is equal, although their destinies differ. They do not give the courage of the woman the same form or the same use as that of the man; but they never Edition: current; Page: [1067] doubt her courage; and if they consider that the man and his companion should not always use their intelligence and their reason in the same way, they judge, as least, that the reason of the one is as certain as that of the other, and her intelligence as clear.k

So the Americans, who have allowed the [<natural>] inferiority of the woman to continue to exist in society, have with all their power elevated her, in the intellectual and moral world, to the level of the man; and in this they seem to me to have understood admirably the true notion of democratic progress. [They have not imagined for the woman a greatness similar to that of the man, but they have imagined her as great as the man, and they have made her their equal even when they have kept the necessary right to command her.]

As for me, I will not hesitate to say it: although in the United States the woman hardly leaves the domestic circle, and although she is, in certain respects, very dependent, nowhere has her position seemed higher to me; and if, now that I am approaching the end of this book, in which I have shown so many considerable things done by the Americans, you asked me to what I think the singular prosperity and growing strength of this people must be principally attributed, I would answer that it is to the superiority of their women.m

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chapter 13a: How Equality Divides the Americans Naturally into a Multitude of Small Particular Societiesb

You would be led to believe that the ultimate consequence and necessary effect of democratic institutions is to mix citizens in private life as well as in public life, and to force them all to lead a common existence [<to mingle them constantly in the same pleasures and in the same affairs.

Some of the legislators of antiquity had tried it and the Convention attempted it in our times.>]

That is to understand in a very crude and very tyrannical way the equality that arises from democracy.

There is no social state or laws that can make men so similar that education, fortune and tastes do not put some difference between them, and if different men can sometimes find it in their interest to do the same things in common, you must believe that they will never find their pleasure in doing so. So they will always, whatever you do, slip out of the hand of the Edition: current; Page: [1069] legislator; and escaping in some way from the circle in which you try to enclose them, they will establish, alongside the great political society, small private societies, whose bond will be the similarity of conditions, habits and mores.

In the United States, citizens do not have any preeminence over each other; they owe each other reciprocally neither obedience nor respect; they administer justice together and govern the State, and in general they all join together to deal with the matters that influence the common destiny; but I never heard it said that anyone claimed to lead them all to amuse themselves in the same way or to enjoy themselves mixed haphazardly together in the same places.

The Americans, who mingle so easily within political assemblies and courtrooms, on the contrary, separate themselves with great care into small very distinct associations, in order to enjoy the pleasures of private life all by themselves. Each one of them readily recognizes all of his fellow citizens as his equals, but he receives only a very small number among his friends and guests.

That seems very natural to me. As the circle of public society expands, it must be expected that the sphere of private relations will narrow; instead of imagining that the citizens of new societies are going to end up living in common, I am afraid indeed that they will finally end up by forming nothing more than very small cliques.

Among aristocratic peoples, the different classes are like vast enclosures which you cannot leave and which you cannot enter. The classes do not communicate with each other; but within the interior of each one of them, men inevitably talk to each other every day. Even when they do not naturally suit each other, the general affinity of the same condition draws them closer.c

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But, when neither law nor custom takes charge of establishing frequent and habitual relations between certain men, the accidental similarity of opinions and propensities decides it; which varies particular societies infinitely.

In democracies, where citizens never differ much from one another and are naturally so close that at each instant they can all blend into a common mass, a multitude of artificial and arbitrary classifications is created by the aid of which each man tries to set himself apart, for fear of being dragged despite himself into the crowd.

It can never fail to be so; for you can change human institutions, but not man. Whatever the general effort of a society to make citizens equal and similar, the particular pride of individuals will always try to escape from the level, and will want to form somewhere an inequality from which he profits.

In aristocracies, men are separated from each other by high immobile barriers; in democracies, they are divided by a multitude of small, nearly invisible threads, which break at every moment and change place constantly.

Thus, whatever the progress of equality, a large number of small private associations among democratic peoples will always be formed amid the great political society. But none of them will resemble, in manners, the upper class that directs aristocracies.

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chapter 14a: Some Reflections on American Mannersb

There is nothing, at first view, that seems less important than the external form of human actions, and there is nothing to which men attach more Edition: current; Page: [1072] value; they become accustomed to everything, except living in a society that does not have their manners. So the influence that the social and political state exercises on manners is worth the trouble to be examined seriously.c

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Manners generally come from the very heart of mores; and sometimes they result as well from an arbitrary convention between certain men. They are at the same time natural and acquired.

When men see that they are first without question and without difficulty; when every day they have before their eyes the great matters that occupy them, leaving the details to others, and when they live with a wealth that they did not acquire and they are not afraid of losing, you easily imagine that they feel a sort of superb disdain for the petty interests and material Edition: current; Page: [1074] cares of life, and that they have a natural grandeur in thought that words and manners reveal.

In democratic countries, manners usually have little grandeur, because private life in them is very limited. Manners are often common, because thought has only a few opportunities to rise above the preoccupation with domestic interests.d

True dignity of manners consists of always appearing in your place, neither higher, nor lower;e that is within reach of the peasant as of the prince. In democracies all places seem doubtful; as a result, it happens that manners, which are often arrogant there, are rarely dignified. Moreover, they are never either very well-ordered or very studied.f

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Men who live in democracies are too mobile for a certain number of them to succeed in establishing a code of savoir-faire and to be able to make sure that it is followed. So each man there acts more or less as he likes, and a certain incoherence in manners always reigns, because manners conform to the individual sentiments and ideas of each man, rather than to an ideal model given in advance for the imitation of all.

Nonetheless, this is much more apparent at the moment when aristocracy has just fallen than when it has been destroyed for a long time.

The new political institutions and the new mores then gather in the same places men still made prodigiously dissimilar by education and habits and often force them to live together; this makes great colorful mixtures emerge at every moment. You still remember that a precise code of politeness existed; but you no longer know either what it contains or where it is to be found. Men have lost the common law of manners, and they have not yet decided to do without it; but each one tries hard to form a certain arbitrary and changing rule out of the debris of former customs; so that manners have neither the regularity nor the grandeur that they often exhibit among aristocratic peoples, nor the simple and free turn that you sometimes notice in democracy; they are at the very same time constrained and unconstrained.

That is not the normal state. When equality is complete and old, all men, having more or less the same ideas and doing more or less the same things, have no need to agree or to copy each other in order to act and to speak in the same way; you constantly see a multitude of small dissimilarities in their manners; you do not notice any great differences. They never resemble each other perfectly, because they do not have the same model; they are never very dissimilar, Edition: current; Page: [1076] because they share the same condition. At first view, you would say that the manners of all Americans are exactly the same. It is only when considering them very closely that you notice the particularities by which they all differ.g

The English have made much fun of American manners; and what is peculiar is that most of those who have given us such an amusing portrait belonged to the middle classes of England, to whom this same portrait very much applies. So that these merciless detractors usually offer the example of what they are blaming in the United States; they do not notice that they are scoffing at themselves, to the great delight of the aristocracy of their country.h

Nothing harms democracy more than the external form of its mores. Many men would readily become accustomed to its vices, who cannot bear its manners.

I cannot, however, accept that there is nothing to praise in the manners of democratic peoples.

Among aristocratic nations, all those who are near the first class usually try hard to resemble it, which produces very ridiculous and very insipid imitations. If democratic peoples do not possess the model of grand manners, they at least escape from the obligation of seeing bad copies every day.

In democracies, manners are never as refined as among aristocratic peoples; but they also never appear as crude. You hear neither the gross words of the populace, nor the noble and select expressions of the great lords. There is often triviality in the mores, but not brutality or baseness.

[If it is true that the men who live among these peoples scarcely ever offer to render small services, they readily oblige you in your needs; manners are less polite than in aristocracies and more benevolent.]

I said that in democracies a precise code regarding savoir-faire cannot evolve. This has its disadvantage and its advantages. In aristocracies, the Edition: current; Page: [1077] rules of propriety impose on each man the same appearance; they make all the members of the same class similar, despite their particular propensities; they adorn the natural and hide it. Among democratic peoples, manners are neither as studied nor as well-ordered; but they are often more sincere. They form like a light and poorly woven veil, through which the true sentiments and individual ideas of each man are easily seen. So the form and the substance of human actions there often have an intimate rapport, and, if the great tableau of humanity is less ornate, it is more true. This is why, in a sense, you can say that the effect of democracy is not precisely to give men certain manners, but to prevent them from having manners.

You can sometimes find again in a democracy some of the sentiments, passions, virtues and vices of aristocracy, but not its manners. The latter are lost and disappear forever, when the democratic revolution is complete.j

It seems that there is nothing more durable than the manners of an aristocratic class; for it still preserves them for some time after having lost its property and its power; nor anything as fragile, for scarcely have they disappeared than any trace of them is no longer found, and it is difficult to say what they were from the moment that they are no more. A change in the social state works this wonder; a few generations are enough.

The principal features of aristocracy remain engraved in history when aristocracy is destroyed, but the light and delicate forms of its mores disappear from the memory of men, almost immediately after its fall. Men cannot imagine them once they are no longer before their eyes. They escape without men seeing or feeling it. For, in order to feel the type of refined pleasure obtained by the distinction and the choice of manners, habit and education must have prepared the heart, and the taste for manners is easily lost with the practice.

Thus, not only can democratic peoples not have the manners of aristocracy, but they do not conceive or desire them; they do not imagine them; Edition: current; Page: [1078] the manners of aristocracy are, for democratic peoples, as if they had never been.

[You would be wrong to believe that the model of aristocratic manners can at least be preserved among a few remnants of the old aristocracy. The members of a fallen aristocracy can indeed preserve the prejudices of their fathers, but not their manners.]

Too much importance must not be attached to this loss; but it is permitted to regret it.k

I know that more than once it has happened that the same men have had very distinguished mores and very vulgar sentiments; the interior of courts has shown enough that great appearance could often hide very base hearts. But, if the manners of aristocracy did not bring about virtue, they sometimes ornamented virtue itself. It was not an ordinary spectacle to see a numerous and powerful class, in which all of the external actions of life seemed, at every instant, to reveal natural nobility of sentiments and thoughts, refinement and consistency of tastes, and urbanity of mores.

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The manners of aristocracy gave beautiful illusions about human nature; and, although the tableau was often false, you experienced a noble pleasure in looking at it.m

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chapter 15a: Of the Gravity of Americans and Why It Does Not Prevent Them from Often Doing Thoughtless Thingsb

The men who live in democratic countries do not value those sorts of unsophisticated, turbulent and crude diversions to which the people devote themselves in aristocracies; they find them childish or insipid. They show scarcely more taste for the intellectual and refined amusements of the aristocratic classes; they must have something productive and substantial in their pleasures, and they want to mix material enjoyments with their joy.

In aristocratic societies, the people readily abandon themselves to the impulses of a tumultuous and noisy gaiety that abruptly tears them away from the contemplation of their miseries; the inhabitants of democracies do not like to feel drawn violently out of themselves in this way, and they always lose sight of themselves with regret. To these frivolous transports, they prefer the grave and silent relaxations that resemble business affairs and do not cause them to forget them entirely. [In this sense you can say that gambling is an entirely democratic pastime.]

There is an American who, instead of going during his moments of leisure to dance joyously in the public square, as the men of his profession Edition: current; Page: [1081] continue to do in a great part of Europe, withdraws alone deep within his house to drink. This man enjoys two pleasures at once: he thinks about his trade, and he gets drunk decently at home.c

[≠I have visited peoples very ignorant, very miserable and completely strangers to their own affairs; to me, they appeared, in general, joyous. I have traveled across a country whose inhabitants, enlightened and rich, directed themselves in everything; I always found them grave and often sad [v: worried and taciturn].≠]

I believed that the English formed the most serious nation that existed on earth, but I saw the Americans, and I changed my opinion.d

[≠The inhabitant of the United States has an austere appearance, something anxious and preoccupied reigns in his look; his manner is constrained and you easily see that he never opens to external impressions anything except the smallest part of his soul. He is sometimes somber and always grave.≠]

I do not want to say that temperament does not count for much in the character of the inhabitants of the United States. I think, nonetheless, that the political institutions contribute to it still more.

I believe that the gravity of the Americans arises in part from their pride. In democratic countries, the poor man himself has a high idea of his personal value. He views himself with satisfaction and readily believes that others are looking at him. In this frame of mind, he carefully watches his words and his actions and does not let himself go, for fear of disclosing what he lacks. He imagines that, in order to appear dignified, he must remain grave.

But I notice another more intimate and more powerful cause that instinctively produces among the Americans this gravity that astonishes me.

Under despotism, peoples give themselves from time to time to outbursts of a wild joy; but, in general, they are cheerless and reserved, because they are afraid.

In absolute monarchies, which custom and mores temper, peoples often Edition: current; Page: [1082] display an even-tempered and lively mood, because having some liberty and great enough security, they are excluded from the most important cares of life; but all free peoples are grave, because their minds are habitually absorbed by the sight of some dangerous or difficult project.

It is so above all among free peoples who are constituted as democracies. Then, in all classes, an infinite number of men is found who are constantly preoccupied by the serious matters of government, and those who do not think about directing the public fortune give themselves entirely to the concern of increasing their private fortune. Among such a people, gravity is no longer particular to certain men; it becomes a national habit.

You speak about the small democracies of antiquity, whose citizens came to the public square with crowns of roses, and who spent nearly all their time in dances and in spectacles. I do not believe in such republics any more than that of Plato; or, if things happened there as we are told, I am not afraid to assert that these so-called democracies were formed out of elements very different from ours, and that they had with the latter only the name in common.

[<As for me, I cannot prevent myself from believing that a people will be more serious as its institutions and its mores become more democratic.>]

It must not be believed, however, that amid all their labors, the men who live in democracies consider themselves to be pitied; the opposite is noticed. There are no men who value their conditions as much as those men do. They would find life without savor, if you delivered them from the cares that torment them, and they are more attached to their concerns than aristocratic peoples to their pleasures.

[Although the Americans are more serious than the English, you meet among them far fewer melancholy men.e Among a people where all citizens work, there are sometimes great anxieties, miseries and bitter distresses, but not melancholy.]

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I wonder why the same democratic peoples, who are so grave, sometimes behave in so thoughtless a way.f

The Americans, who almost always maintain a steady bearing and a cold manner, nonetheless allow themselves often to be carried very far beyond the limits of reason by a sudden passion or an unthinking opinion, and it happens that they seriously commit singular blunders.

This contrast should not be surprising. [<Amid the tumult and the thousand discordant noises that are heard within a democracy, sometimes the voice of truth becomes lost.>]

There is a sort of ignorance that arises from extreme publicity. In despotic States, men do not know how to act, because they are told nothing; among democratic nations, they often act haphazardly, because the desire has been to tell them everything. The first do not know, and the others forget. The principal features of each tableau disappear for them among the multitude of details.

You are astonished by all the imprudent remarks that a public man sometimes allows himself in free States and above all in democratic States, without being compromised by them; while, in absolute monarchies, a few words that escape by chance are enough to expose him forever and ruin him without resources.

That is explained by what precedes. When you speak in the middle of a great crowd, many words are not heard, or are immediately erased from the memory of those who hear; but in the silence of a mute and immobile multitude, the slightest whispers strike the ear.

In democracies, men are never settled; a thousand chance occurrences make them constantly change place, and almost always something unexpected and, so to speak, improvised reigns in their life. Consequently they are often forced to do what they learned badly, to speak about what they scarcely understand, and to give themselves to work for which a long apprenticeship has not prepared them.

In aristocracies, each man has only a single goal that he pursues constantly. But among democratic peoples, the existence of man is more complicated; Edition: current; Page: [1084] it is rare that the same mind there does not embrace several things at once, and often things very foreign to each other. Since he cannot understand all of them well, he easily becomes satisfied with imperfect notions.

When the inhabitant of democracies is not pressed by his needs, he is at least by his desires; for among all the goods that surround him, he sees none that is entirely out of his reach. So he does everything with haste, contents himself with approximations, and never stops except for a moment to consider each of his actions.

His curiosity is at once insatiable and satisfied at little cost, for he values knowing a lot quickly, rather than knowing anything well.

He hardly has time, and he soon loses the taste to go deeper.

Thus, democratic peoples are grave, because their social and political state leads them constantly to concern themselves with serious things; and they act thoughtlessly, because they give only a little time and attention to each one of these things.

The habit of inattention must be considered as the greatest vice of the democratic mind.

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chapter 16a: Why the National Vanity of the Americans Is More Anxious and More Quarrelsome Than That of the Englishb

All free peoples take pride in themselves, but national pride does not appear among all in the same manner.

The Americans, in their relationships with foreigners, seem impatient with the least censure and insatiable for praise. The slightest praise pleases them, and the greatest rarely is enough to satisfy them; they badger you every moment to get you to praise them; and, if you resist their insistent demands, they praise themselves. You would say that, doubting their own merit, they want to have its picture before their eyes at every instant. Their vanity is not only greedy, it is anxious and envious. It grants nothing while constantly asking. It seeks compliments and is quarrelsome at the same time.

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I say to an American that the country that he inhabits is beautiful; he replies: “It is true, there is no country like it in the world!” I admire the liberty enjoyed by the inhabitants and he answers me: “What a precious gift liberty is! But there are very few peoples who are worthy to enjoy it.” I remark on the purity of morals that reigns in the United States: “I imagine,” he says, “that a foreigner, who has been struck by the corruption that is seen in all the other nations, is astonished by this spectacle.” I finally abandon him to self-contemplation; but he returns to me and does not leave until he has succeeded in making me repeat what I have just said to him. You cannot imagine a patriotismc more troublesome and more talkative. It tires even those who honor it.d

It is not like this with the English. The Englishman calmly enjoys the real or imaginary advantages that in his eyes his country possesses. If he grants nothing to other nations, he also asks nothing for his own. The disapproval of foreigners does not upset him and their praise hardly gratifies him. He maintains vis-à-vis the entire world a reserve full of disdain and ignorance. His pride does not need to be fed; it lives on itself.e

That two peoples, who not long ago sprang from the same stock, appear so opposite to each other in the manner of feeling and speaking, is remarkable.

In aristocratic countries, the great possess immense privileges, on which their pride rests, without trying to feed on the slight advantages that are Edition: current; Page: [1087] related. Since these privileges came to them by inheritance, they consider them, in a way, as a part of themselves, or at least as a natural right, inherent in their person. So they have a calm sentiment of their superiority; they do not think about praising prerogatives that everyone notices and that no one denies to them. They are not surprised enough by them to speak about them. They remain immobile in their solitary grandeur, sure that everyone sees them without their trying to show themselves, and sure that no one will undertake to take their grandeur away from them.

When an aristocracy leads public affairs, its national pride naturally takes this reserved, unconcerned and haughty form, and all the other classes of the nation imitate it.

When on the contrary conditions differ little, the least advantages have importance. Since each man sees around him a million men who possess all the same or analogous advantages, pride becomes demanding and jealous; it becomes attached to miserable nothings and defends them stubbornly.

In democracies, since conditions are very mobile, men almost always have recently acquired the advantages they possess; this makes them feel an infinite pleasure in putting them on view, in order to show to others and to attest to themselves that they enjoy those advantages; and since, at every instant, these advantages can happen to escape them, they are constantly alarmed and work hard to demonstrate that they still have them. Men who live in democracies love their country in the same way that they love themselves, and they transfer the habits of their private vanity to their national vanity.

The anxious and insatiable vanity of democratic peoples is due so much to the equality and to the fragility of conditions, that the members of the proudest nobility show absolutely the same passion in the small parts of their existence where there is something unstable or disputed.

An aristocratic class always differs profoundly from the other classes of the nation by the extent and the perpetuity of its prerogatives; but sometimes it happens that several of its members differ from each other only by small fleeting advantages that they can lose and gain every day.

We have seen the members of a powerful aristocracy, gathered in a capital or in a court, argue fiercely over the frivolous privileges that depend on the Edition: current; Page: [1088] caprice of fashion or on the will of the master. They then showed toward one another precisely the same puerile jealousies that animate the men of democracies, the same ardor to grab the least advantages that their equals disputed with them, and the same need to put on view to all the advantages that they enjoyed.

If courtiers ever dared to have national pride, I do not doubt that they would show a pride entirely similar to that of democratic peoples.

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chapter 17a: How the Appearance of Society in the United States Is at the Very Same Time Agitated and Monotonousb

It seems that nothing is more appropriate for exciting and feeding curiosity than the appearance of the United States. Fortunes, ideas, laws vary constantly there. You would say that immobile nature itself is mobile, so much is it transformed every day under the hand of man.

In the long run, however, the sight of so agitated a society seems monotonous, and after contemplating for a while a tableau so changeable, the spectator becomes bored.

Among aristocratic peoples, each man is more or less fixed in his sphere; but men are prodigiously dissimilar; they have essentially different passions, ideas, habits and tastes. Nothing stirs, everything varies.

In democracies, on the contrary, all men are similar and do more or less similar things. They are subject, it is true, to great and continual vicissitudes; Edition: current; Page: [1090] but, since the same successes and the same reverses recur continually, only the name of the actors is different; the play is the same. The appearance of American society is agitated, because men and things change constantly; and it is monotonous, because all the changes are the same.

The men who live in democratic times have many passions; but most of their passions end in the love of wealth or come from it. That is not because their souls are smaller, but because then the importance of money is really greater.c

When fellow citizens are all independent and indifferent, it is only by paying that you can obtain the cooperation of each one of them; this infinitely multiplies the use of wealth and increases its value.

Since the prestige that was attached to ancient things has disappeared, birth, state, profession no longer distinguish men, or scarcely distinguish them; there remains hardly anything except money that creates very visible differences between them and that can put a few of them beyond comparison. The distinction that arises from wealth is increased by the disappearance and lessening of all the other distinctions.

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Among aristocratic peoples, money leads to only a few points on the vast circumference of desires; in democracies, it seems to lead to all.

So love of wealth, as principal or accessory, is usually found at the bottom of the actions of Americans; this gives all their passions a family air, and does not take long to make the tableau tiring.

This perpetual return of the same passion is monotonous; the particular procedures that this passion uses to become satisfied are monotonous as well.

In a sound and peaceful democracy, like that of the United States, where you cannot become rich either by war, or by public employment, or by political confiscations, love of wealth directs men principally toward industry. Now, industry, which often brings such great disturbances and such great disasters, can nonetheless prosper only with the aid of very regular habits and by a long succession of small, very uniform actions. Habits are all the more regular and actions more uniform as the passion is more intense. You can say that it is the very violence of their desires that makes the Americans so methodical. It disturbs their soul, but it makes their life orderly.

What I say about America applies, moreover, to nearly all the men of our times. Variety is disappearing from the human species; the same ways of acting, thinking and feeling are found in all the corners of the world.d That happens not only because all peoples are frequenting each Edition: current; Page: [1092] other more and are copying each other more faithfully, but also because in each country men, putting aside more and more the ideas and sentiments particular to a caste, to a profession, to a family, come simultaneously to what is closest to the constitution of man, which is everywhere the same.e They thus become similar, although they do not imitate each other. They are like travelers spread throughout a large forest in which all roads lead to the same point. If all see the central point at the same time and turn their steps in this direction, they come imperceptibly closer to one another, without seeking each other, without seeing each other, without knowing each other, and finally they will be surprised to see themselves gathered in the same place.f All peoples who take as the aim of their studies and their imitation, not a particular man, but man himself, will end up by meeting with the same mores, like these travelers at the center point.

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chapter 18a: Of Honor in the United States and in Democratic Societies1

It seems that men use two very distinct methods in the public judgment that they make about the actions of their fellows: sometimes they judge Edition: current; Page: [1094] them according to the simple notions of the just and the unjust, which are spread over the whole earth; sometimes they assess them with the aid of very particular notions that belong only to one country and to one period. Often it happens that these two rules differ; sometimes they conflict with each other, but never do they merge entirely or cancel each other out.b

Honor, in the time of its greatest power, governs the will more than belief, and men, even if they submit without hesitation and without murmuring to its commandments, still feel, by a kind of obscure but powerful instinct, that a more general, more ancient and more holy law exists, which they sometimes disobey without ceasing to know it. There are actions that have been judged upright and dishonoring at the same time. The refusal of a duel has often been in this category.

I believe that you can explain these phenomena other than by the caprice of certain individuals and certain peoples, as has been done until now.

[The whim of men enters into it only partly.] Humanity feels permanent and general needs, which have given birth to moral laws; to their disregard all men have naturally attached, in all places and in all times, the ideas of blame and shame. They have called doing evil to evade them, doing good to submit to them.c

Established as well, within the vast human association, are more restricted associations, which are called peoples, and amid the latter, others smaller still, which are called classes or castes.

Each one of these associations forms like a particular species within the Edition: current; Page: [1095] human race; and although it does not differ essentially from the mass of men, it holds itself a little apart and feels needs that are its own. These are the special needs that modify in some fashion and in certain countries the way of envisaging human actions and the esteem that is suitable to give to them.d

The general and permanent interest of humanity is that men do not kill each other; but it can happen that the particular and temporary interest of a people or of a class is, in certain cases, to excuse and even to honor the homicide.e

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Honor is nothing other than this particular rule based on a particular condition, with the aid of which a people or a class distributes blame or praise.f

There is nothing more unproductive for the human mind than an abstract idea. So I hasten to run toward facts. An example will cast light on my thought.

I will choose the most extraordinary type of honor that has ever appeared in the world, and the one that we know the best: aristocratic honor born Edition: current; Page: [1097] within feudal society. I will explain it with the aid of what precedes, and I will explain what precedes by it.g

I do not have to search here when and how the aristocracy of the Middle Ages was born, why it separated itself so profoundly from the rest of the nation, what had established and consolidated its power. I find it in place, and I seek to understand why it considered most human actions in such a particular light.

What strikes me first is that in the feudal world actions were not always praised or blamed by reason of their intrinsic value, but that sometimes they happened to be valued solely in relation to the author or the subject of the actions, which is repugnant to the general conscience of humanity. So certain actions that dishonored a nobleman were indifferent on the part of the commoner; others changed character depending on whether the person who suffered them belonged to the aristocracy or lived outside of it.

When these different opinions were born, the nobility formed a separate body, in the middle of the people, whom it dominated from the inaccessible heights to which it had withdrawn. To maintain this particular position that created its strength, it not only needed political privileges; it had to have virtues and vices for its exclusive use [in order to continue to distinguish itself in all things from what was outside or below it].

That some particular virtue or some particular vice belonged to the nobility rather than to commoners; that some particular action was neutral when it involved a villein or blameworthy when it concerned a nobleman, that is what was often arbitrary; but that honor or shame was attached to the actions of a man depending on his condition, that is what resulted from the very constitution of an aristocratic society. That was seen, in fact, in all the countries that had an aristocracy. As long as a single vestige of it remains, these singularities are still found: to seduce a young woman of color hardly harms the reputation of an American man; to marry her dishonors him.h

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In certain cases, feudal honor prescribed vengeance and stigmatized pardoning insults; in others it imperiously commanded men to master themselves; it ordered forgetting self. It did not make a law of humanity or of gentleness; but it praised generosity; it valued liberality more than benevolence; it allowed someone to enrich himself by games of chance, by war, but not by work; it preferred great crimes to small gains. Greed revolted it less than avarice, violence often pleased it, while guile and treason always appeared contemptible to it.

These bizarre notions were not born solely out of the caprice of those who had conceived them.

A class that has succeeded in putting itself above and at the head of all the others, and that makes constant efforts to maintain itself at this supreme rank, must particularly honor the virtues that have grandeur and brilliance, and that can be easily combined with pride and love of power. Such a class Edition: current; Page: [1099] is not afraid of upsetting the natural order of conscience, in order to put these virtues above all the others. You even conceive that it readily raises certain bold and brilliant vices above peaceful and modest virtues. It is in a way forced to do so by its condition.

[≠These singular opinions arise naturally from the singularities of the social state.≠]

Before all virtues and in the place of a great number of them, the nobles of the Middles Ages put military courage [while they considered fear as the most shameful and most irreparable of weaknesses].

That too was a singular opinion that arose necessarily from the singularity of the social state.

Feudal aristocracy was born by war and for war; it had found its power in arms and it maintained it by arms; so nothing was more necessary for it than military courage; and it was natural that the aristocracy glorified it above all the rest. So everything that exhibited military courage externally, even if it were at the expense of reason and humanity, was approved and often commanded by the aristocracy. The whim of men was found only in the detail.

That a man regarded receiving a slap on the cheek as an enormous insult and was obliged to kill in single combat the man who had lightly struck him in this way, that was arbitrary; but that a nobleman could not receive an insult peacefully and was dishonored if he allowed himself to be struck without fighting, that sprang from the very principles and needs of a military aristocracy.

So it was true, to a certain point, to say that honor had capricious aspects; but the caprices of honor were always confined within certain necessary limits. This particular rule, called honor by our fathers, is so far from seeming to me an arbitrary law, that I would easily undertake to connect its most incoherent and most bizarre prescriptions to a small number of fixed and invariable needs of feudal societies.

If I followed feudal honor into the field of politics, I would not have any more difficulty explaining its workings.

The social state and political institutions of the Middle Ages were such that national power never directly governed the citizens. National power did not so to speak exist in their eyes; each man knew only a certain man Edition: current; Page: [1100] whom he was obliged to obey. It was by the latter that, without knowing it, all the others were attached. So in feudal societies, all public order turned on the sentiment of fidelity to the very person of the lord. That destroyed, you fell immediately into anarchy.

Fidelity to the political head was, moreover, a sentiment whose value all the members of the aristocracy saw every day, for each one of them was at the same time lord and vassal and had to command as well as obey.

To remain faithful to your lord, to sacrifice yourself for him as needed, to share his good or bad fortune, to help him in his undertakings whatever they were, such were the first prescriptions of feudal honor in political matters. The treason of the vassal was condemned by opinion with an extraordinary severity. A particularly ignominious name was created for it; it was called a felony.

[≠Fidelity to the feudal head becomes {on the contrary, a kind of religion}.≠]

You find, on the contrary, in the Middle Ages only a few traces of a passion that animated ancient societies [≠and that reappeared among modern ones as the feudal world was transformed.≠]. I mean patriotism.j The very noun patriotism is not old in our language.2

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Feudal institutions concealed country from view; they made love of it less necessary. They caused the nation to be forgotten while making you passionate about one man. Consequently you do not see that feudal honor ever made it a strict law to remain faithful to your country.

It is not that love of country did not exist in the hearts of our fathers; but it formed a kind of weak and obscure instinct, which became clearer and stronger as classes were destroyed and [≠political≠] power was centralized.

This is clearly seen in the contrasting judgments that the peoples of Europe bring to the different facts of their history, depending on the generation that judges them. What principally dishonored the High Constable de Bourbon in the eyes of his contemporaries is that he bore arms against his king; what dishonors him most in our eyes is that he waged war on his country. We stigmatize his actions as much as our ancestors, but for other reasons.

I have chosen feudal honor to clarify my thought, because feudal honor has more marked and better features than any other. I could have taken my example from elsewhere; I would have reached the same end by another road.k

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Although we know the Romans less well than our ancestors, we nonetheless know that there existed among them, in regard to glory and dishonor, particular opinions that did not flow only from general notions of good and evil. Many human actions there were considered in a different light, depending on whether it concerned a citizen or a foreigner, a free man or a slave; certain vices were glorified, certain virtues were raised above all others.

“Now in that time,” says Plutarch in the life of Coriolanus, “valor was honored and valued in Rome above all other virtues. What attests to this is that it was called virtus, the very noun for virtue, attributing the name of the common type to a particular species. So much so that virtue in Latin was just like saying valor.” Who does not recognize in that the particular need of that singular association formed to conquer the world?

Each nation will lend itself to analogous observations; for, as I said above, every time that men gather together in a particular society, a code of honor becomes immediately established among them, that is to say an ensemble of opinions that is proper to them about what must be praised or blamed; and these particular rules always have their source in the special habits and special interests of the association.

That applies, in a certain measure, to democratic societies as to others. We are going to find the proof of it among the Americans.3

You still find scattered, among the opinions of the Americans, a few detached notions of the ancient aristocratic honor of Europe. These traditional opinions are in very small number; they have weak roots and little power. It is a religion of which you allow a few temples to continue to exist, but in which you no longer believe.

Amid these half-obliterated notions of an exotic honor, appear a few new opinions that constitute what could today be called American honor.

I have shown how the Americans were pushed incessantly toward commerce Edition: current; Page: [1103] and industry. Their origin, their social state, their political institutions, and the very place that they inhabit draw them irresistibly in this direction. So they form, at present, an almost exclusively industrial and commercial association, placed at the heart of a new and immense country that its principal purpose is to exploit. Such is the characteristic feature that, today, most particularly distinguishes the American people from all the others.

All the peaceful virtues that tend to give a regular bearing to the social body and tend to favor trade must therefore be especially honored among this people, and you cannot neglect them without falling into public scorn.

All the turbulent virtues that often give brilliance, but even more often give trouble to a society, occupy on the contrary a subordinate rank in the opinion of this same people. You can neglect them without losing the esteem of your fellow citizens, and you would perhaps risk losing it by acquiring them.

The Americans make no less an arbitrary classification of the vices. There are certain tendencies, blameworthy in the eyes of the general reason and of the universal conscience of humanity, that find themselves in agreement with the particular and temporary needs of the American association; and it condemns them only weakly, sometimes it praises them. I will cite particularly the love of wealth and the secondary tendencies that are connected to it. In order to clear, to make fruitful, to transform this vast uninhabited continent that is his domain, the American must have the daily support of an energetic passion; this passion can only be the love of wealth; so the passion for wealth has no stigma attached to it in America, and provided that it does not go beyond the limits assigned to it by public order, it is honored. The American calls a noble and estimable ambition what our fathers of the Middle Ages named servile cupidity; in the same way the American gives the name of blind and barbaric fury to the conquering fervor and warrior spirit that threw our fathers into new battles every day.

In the United States, fortunes are easily destroyed and rise again. The country is without limits and full of inexhaustible resources. The people have all the needs and all the appetites of a being who is growing, and Edition: current; Page: [1104] whatever efforts he makes, he is always surrounded by more goods than he is able to grasp. What is to be feared among such a people is not the ruin of a few individuals, soon repaired, it is the inactivity and indolence of all. Boldness in industrial enterprises is the first cause of its rapid progress, its strength, its grandeur. Industry is for it like a vast lottery in which a small number of men lose every day, but in which the State wins constantly; so such a people must see boldness with favor and honor it in matters of industry. Now, every bold enterprise imperils the fortune of the one who devotes himself to it and the fortune of all those who trust in him. The Americans, who make commercial temerity into a kind of virtue, cannot, in any case whatsoever, stigmatize those who are daring.

That is why in the United States such a singular indulgence is shown for the merchant who goes bankrupt; the honor of the latter does not suffer from such an accident. In that, the Americans differ, not only from European peoples, but from all the commercial nations of today; but then, in their position and their needs, they do not resemble any of them.

In America, all the vices that are of a nature to alter the purity of morals and to destroy the conjugal union are treated with a severity unknown to the rest of the world. That contrasts strangely, at first view, with the tolerance that is shown there on other points. You are surprised to meet among the same people a morality so lax and so austere.

These things are not as inconsistent as you suppose. Public opinion, in the United States, only mildly represses love of wealth, which serves the industrial greatness and prosperity of the nation; and it particularly condemns bad morals, which distract the human mind from the search for well-being and disturbs the internal order of the family, so necessary to the success of business. So in order to be respected by their fellows, Americans are forced to yield to regular habits. In this sense you can say that they put their honor in being chaste.

American honor agrees with the old honor of Europe on one point: it puts courage at the head of virtues, and makes it the greatest of moral necessities for man; but it does not envisage courage in the same way.

In the United States, warrior valor is little prized; the courage that is known the best and esteemed the most is the one that makes you face the Edition: current; Page: [1105] furies of the Ocean in order to arrive earliest in port, bear without complaint the miseries of the wilderness, and its solitude, more cruel than all the miseries; the courage that makes you almost insensitive to the sudden reversal of a fortune painfully acquired, and immediately suggests new efforts to build a new one. Courage of this type is principally necessary for the maintenance and the prosperity of the American association, and it is particularly honored and glorified by it. You cannot show yourself lacking in it, without dishonor.

I find a final feature; it will really put the idea of this chapter into relief. In a democratic society, like that of the United States, where fortunes are small and poorly assured, everyone works, and work leads to everything. That has turned the point of honor around and directed it against idleness.

I sometimes met in America rich young men, enemies by temperament of all difficult effort, who were forced to take up a profession. Their nature and their fortune allowed them to remain idle; public opinion imperiously forbid it to them, and they had to obey.n I have often seen, on the contrary, among European nations where the aristocracy still struggles against the torrent that carries it along, I have seen, I say, men goaded constantly by their needs and their desires who remain idle in order not to lose the esteem of their equals, and who subject themselves more easily to boredom and want than to work.

Who does not see in these two so opposite obligations two different rules, both of which emanate nonetheless from honor?

What our fathers called honor above all was, truly speaking, only one of its forms. They gave a generic name to what was only a type. [If the aristocratic honor of the Middle Ages had more marked features and a physiognomy more extraordinary than all that had preceded and followed it, that was only because it was born amidst the most exceptional social state that ever existed and the one most removed from the natural and ordinary condition of humanity. Never in fact, in our western world, had men been separated by so many artificial barriers and felt more particular Edition: current; Page: [1106] needs.]o So honor is found in democratic centuries as in times of aristocracy. But it will not be difficult to show that in the former it presents another physiognomy.

Not only are its prescriptions different, we are going to see that they are fewer and less clear and that its laws are followed with less vigor.

A caste is always in a much more particular situation than a people. There is nothing more exceptional in the world than a small society always composed of the same families, like the aristocracy of the Middle Ages, for example, and whose objective is to concentrate and to hold enlightenment, wealth and power in its hands exclusively and by heredity.

Now, the more exceptional the position of a society is, the more numerous are its special needs, and the more the notions of its honor, which correspond to its needs, increase.

So the prescriptions of honor will always be fewer among a people that is not divided into castes, than among another. If nations come to be established where it is difficult even to find classes, honor will be limited there to a small number of precepts, and those precepts will be less and less removed from the moral laws adopted by the generality of humanity.

Thus the prescriptions of honor will be less bizarre and fewer in a democratic nation than in an aristocratic one.

They will also be more obscure; that results necessarily from what precedes.

Since the characteristic features of honor are less numerous and less singular, it must often be difficult to discern them.

There are still other reasons. Among the aristocratic nations of the Middle Ages the generations succeeded each other in vain; each family was like an immortal and perpetually immobile man;p ideas varied scarcely more than conditions.

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So each man had always before his eyes the same objects, which he envisaged from the same point of view; little by little he saw into the slightest details, and his perception could not fail, in the long run, to become clear and distinct. Thus, not only did the men of feudal times have very extraordinary opinions that constituted their honor, but also each one of these opinions was shaped in their minds in a clear-cut and precise way.

It can never be the same in a country like America, where all the citizens are in motion; where society, itself changing every day, changes its opinions with its needs. In such a country, you catch a glimpse of the rule of honor; you rarely have the leisure to consider it intently.

Were society immobile, it would still be difficult to fix the meaning that must be given to the word honor.

In the Middle Ages, since each class had its honor, the same opinion was never accepted simultaneously by a very great number of men, which allowed giving it a fixed and precise form; all the more so since all those who accepted it, all having a perfectly identical and very exceptional position, found a natural disposition to agree on the prescriptions of a law that was made only for them alone.

Honor thus became a complete and detailed code in which everything was foreseen and ordered in advance, and which presented a fixed and always visible rule to human actions. Among a democratic nation like the American people, where ranks are mixed and where the entire society forms only a single mass, all of whose elements are analogous without being entirely the same, you can never exactly agree in advance about what is allowed and forbidden by honor.

There exist indeed, within this people, certain national needs that give birth to common opinions in the matter of honor; but such opinions never present themselves at the same time, in the same manner and with equal force to the mind of all the citizens; the law of honor exists, but it often lacks interpreters.

The confusion is even still greater in a democratic country like ours,q in which the different classes that composed the old society, starting to mingle Edition: current; Page: [1108] without yet being able to blend, bring to each other every day the various and often contradictory notions of their honor; in which each man, following his caprices, abandons one part of the opinions of his fathers and holds onto the other; so that amid so many arbitrary measures, a common rule can never be established. It is nearly impossible then to say in advance what actions will be honored or stigmatized. These are miserable times, but they do not last.

Among democratic nations, honor, not being well defined, is necessarily less powerful; for it is difficult to apply with certainty and firmness a law that is imperfectly known.r Public opinion, which is the natural and sovereign interpreter of the law of honor, not seeing distinctly in which direction it is appropriate to tip blame or praise, only delivers its judgment with hesitation. Sometimes it happens that it contradicts itself; often it remains immobile and lets things happen.

[≠The law of honor, were it clear, would still be weak among democratic peoples by the sole fact that its not very numerous prescriptions are few. For the principal strength of a body of laws comes from the fact that it extends at the same time to a multitude of matters and, every day in a thousand diverse ways, bends the human mind to obedience. A law that provides for just a few cases and that is only applied here and there is always feeble.

Now, the prescriptions of honor are always more numerous and less detailed to the extent that classes, not being as close to each other, have fewer interests apart from the mass and fewer particular needs.≠]

The relative weakness of honor in democracy is due to several other causes.

In aristocratic countries, the same honor is never accepted except by a certain, often limited number of men, always separated from the rest of their fellows. So honor easily mixes and mingles, in the minds of those men, Edition: current; Page: [1109] with the idea of all that distinguishes them. It appears to them like the distinctive feature of their physiognomy; they apply its different rules with all the ardor of personal interest, and if I can express myself in this way, they bring passion to obeying it.

This truth manifests itself very clearly when you read the customary laws of the Middle Ages, on the point of legal duels.s You see there that the nobles were bound, in their quarrels, to use the lance and the sword, while the villeins used the cudgel with each other, “it being understood,” the laws add, “that the villeins have no honor.” That did not mean, as we imagine today, that those men were dishonorable; it meant only that their actions were not judged by the same rules as those of the aristocracy.t

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What is astonishing, at first view, is that, when honor reigns with this full power, its prescriptions are in general very strange, so that it seems to be obeyed better the more it appears to diverge from reason; from that it has sometimes been concluded that feudal honor was strong, because of its very extravagance.

These two things have, in fact, the same origin; but they are not derived from each other.

Honor is bizarre in proportion as it represents more particular needs felt by a smaller number of men; and it is powerful because it represents needs of this type. So honor is not powerful because it is bizarre; but it is bizarre and powerful because of the same cause.

I will make another remark.

Among aristocratic peoples, all ranks differ, but all ranks are fixed; each man occupies in his sphere a place that he cannot leave, and in which he lives amid other men bound around him in the same way. So among these nations, no one can hope or fear not being seen; there is no man placed so low who does not have his stage, and who can, by his obscurity, escape from blame or from praise.

In democratic States, on the contrary, where all citizens are merged in the same crowd and are constantly in motion, public opinion has nothing to hold on to; its subject disappears at every instant and escapes.u So honor will always be less imperious and less pressing; for honor acts only with the public in mind, different in that from simple virtue,v which lives on its own and is satisfied with its testimony.

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If the reader has well grasped all that precedes, he must have understood that there exists, between inequality of conditions and what we have called honor, a close and necessary connection that, if I am not wrong, had not yet been clearly pointed out. So I must make a final effort to bring it clearly to light.w

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A nation takes up a separate position within humanity. Apart from certain general needs inherent in the human species, it has its own particular interests and needs. Immediately established within the nation in the matter of blame and praise are certain opinions that are its own and that its citizens call honor.

Within this same nation, a caste becomes established, which, separating itself in turn from all the other classes, contracts particular needs, and the latter, in turn, give rise to special opinions.x The honor of this caste, bizarre mixture of the particular notions of the nation and of the still more particular notions of the caste, will diverge as far as you can imagine from the simple and general opinions of men. We have reached the extreme point; let us go back.

Ranks mingle, privileges are abolished. Since the men who compose the nation have again become similar and equal, their interests and their needs blend, and you see successively vanish all the singular notions that each caste called honor; honor now derives only from the particular needs of the nation itself; it represents its individuality among peoples.

If it were finally allowed to suppose that all races were blended and that all the peoples of the world had reached the point of having the same interests, the same needs, and of no longer being different from each other by any characteristic feature, you would cease entirely to attribute a conventional value to human actions; everyone would envisage them in the same light; the general needs of humanity, which conscience reveals to every man, would be the common measure. Then, you would no longer find in this world anything except the simple and general notions of good and evil, to which would be linked, by a natural and necessary bond, the ideas of praise and blame.

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Thus finally to contain in a single formula my whole thought, it is the dissimilarities and the inequalities of men that created honor; it grows weaker as these differences fade away, and it would disappear with them.y

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chapter 19a: Why in the United States You Find So Many Ambitious Men and So Few Great Ambitionsb

The first thing that strikes you in the United States is the innumerable multitude of those who seek to leave their original condition; and the second is the small number of great ambitions which stand out among this universal movement of ambition.c There are no Americans who do not Edition: current; Page: [1117] appear to be devoured by the desire to rise; but you see hardly any who seem to nourish very vast hopes or to aim very high. All want constantly to acquire property, reputation, power; few envisage all these things on a large scale. And at first view that is surprising, since you notice nothing, either in the mores or in the laws of America, that should limit desires and prevent them from taking off in all directions.d

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It seems difficult to attribute this singular state of things to equality of conditions [{democracy}]; for, at the moment when the same equality became established among us, it immediately caused almost limitless ambitions to develop.e I believe, however, that it is principally in the social state and democratic mores of the Americans that the cause of what precedes must be sought.

Every revolution magnifies the ambition of men. That is above all true of the revolution that overthrows an aristocracy.f

[The revolution that finally creates a democratic social state must be clearly distinguished from the democratic social state itself.

When a powerful aristocracy disappears suddenly amid the popular waves raised against it, it is not only men who change place; laws, ideas, mores are renewed; the entire world seems to change appearance. The old order on which humanity rested finally collapses and a new order comes to light. The authors and the witnesses of these wonders, while contemplating them, feel as if transported beyond themselves; the grandeur of the things that are taking place before their eyes and by their hands expands their soul and fills it with vast thoughts and immense desires.

Ambition then takes on an audacious and grandiose character. It appears sometimes disinterested, often sublime. That is due not to the social state of the people, but to the singular revolution that it is undergoing.]g

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Since the old barriers that separated the crowd from fame and power have fallen suddenly, an impetuous and universal upward movement takes place toward these long desired splendors whose enjoyment is finally allowed. In this first exaltation of triumph, nothing seems impossible to anyone. Not only do desires have no limits, but the power to satisfy them has hardly any. Amid this general and sudden renewal of customs and laws, in this vast confusion of all men and all rules, citizens rise and fall with an unheard-of rapidity, and power passes so quickly from hand to hand that no one should despair of seizing it in his turn.

You must remember clearly, moreover, that the men who destroy an aristocracy lived under its laws; they saw its splendors and allowed themselves, without knowing it, to be penetrated by the sentiments and the ideas that the aristocracy had conceived. So at the moment when an aristocracy dissolves, its spirit still hovers over the mass, and its instincts are conserved for a long time after it has been vanquished.

So ambitions always appear very great, as long as the democratic revolution endures; after it has finished, it will still be the same for some time.

The recollection of the extraordinary events that they have witnessed does not fade in one day from the memory of men. The passions that revolution had suggested do not disappear with it.h The sentiment of instability Edition: current; Page: [1120] is perpetuated amid order. The idea of the ease of success outlives the strange vicissitudes that have given it birth. Desires remain very vast, while the means to satisfy them diminishes every day. The taste for great fortunes subsists, even though great fortunes become rare, and you see taking fire on all sides disproportionate and unfortunate ambitions that burn secretly and fruitlessly in the heart that harbors them.

Little by little, however, the last traces of the struggle fade; the remnants of the aristocracy finally disappear. You forget the great events that accompanied its fall; rest follows war, the dominion of rules is reborn within the new world; desires become proportionate to means; needs, ideas and sentiments become linked together; men finally come to the same level; democratic society is finally established.

If we consider a democratic people having reached this permanent and normal state, it will present to us a spectacle entirely different from the one that we have just contemplated, and we will be able to judge without difficulty that, if ambition becomes great while conditions are becoming equal, it loses this characteristic when they are equal.

Since great fortunes are divided and knowledge is widespread, no one is absolutely deprived of enlightenment or of property; since privileges and disqualifications of classes are abolished, and since men have forever broken the bonds that held them immobile, the idea of progress presents itself to the mind of each one of them; the desire to rise is born at the same time in all hearts; each man wants to leave his place. Ambition is the universal sentiment.

But, if equality of conditions gives some resources to all citizens, it prevents any one among them from having very extensive resources; this necessarily encloses desires within rather narrow limits.

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So among democratic peoples, ambition is ardent and continuous, but it cannot habitually aim very high; and life ordinarily is spent there ardently coveting small objects that you see within your reach.j

What above all diverts men of democracies from great ambition is not the smallness of their fortune, but the violent effort that they make to improve it every day. They force their soul to use all its strength in order to do mediocre things, which cannot soon fail to limit its view and to circumscribe its power. They could be very much poorer and remain greater.

The small number of opulent citizens who are found within a democracy do not make an exception to this rule. A man who rises by degrees toward wealth and power contracts, in this long effort, habits of prudence and restraint which he cannot afterward give up. You do not gradually enlarge your soul like your house.k

An analogous remark is applicable to the sons of this same man. They Edition: current; Page: [1122] are born, it is true, in a high position, but their parents were humble; they grew up amid sentiments and ideas which are difficult for them to escape later; and it is to be believed that the sons will inherit at the same time the instincts of their father and his property.

It can happen, on the contrary, that the poorest offspring of a powerful aristocracy exhibits a vast ambition, because the traditional opinions of his race and the general spirit of his caste still sustain him for some time above his fortune.

What also prevents the men of democratic times from easily devoting themselves to the ambition for great things is the time that they foresee must pass before they are able to embark upon them. “A great advantage of quality,” Pascal said, “is to put a man, at eighteen or twenty years of age, in as strong a position as another man would be at fifty; this is thirty years gained without difficulty.”m Those thirty years are usually lacking for the ambitious men of democracies. Equality, which allows each man the ability to reach everything, prevents him from growing up quickly.

In a democratic society, as elsewhere, there are only a certain number of great fortunes to make; and because the careers that lead to them are open to each citizen without distinction, the progress of all must indeed slow down. Since the candidates appear more or less the same, and since it is difficult to make a choice from among them without violating the principle of equality, which is the supreme law of democratic societies, the first idea that presents itself is to make all march with the same step and to subject them all to the same tests.

So as men become more similar and as the principle of equality penetrates institutions and mores more peacefully and profoundly, the rules for advancement become more inflexible, advancement slower; the difficulty of quickly attaining a certain degree of grandeur increases.

By hatred of privilege and by overabundance of choices, you come to the point of forcing all men, whatever their size, to pass through the same channel, and you subject them all without distinction to a multitude of small preliminary exercises, in the middle of which their youth is lost and Edition: current; Page: [1123] their imagination grows dim; so that they despair of ever being able to enjoy fully the advantages that you offer to them; and when they are finally able to do extraordinary things, they have lost the taste for them.

In China, where equality of conditions is very great and very ancient, a man passes from one public office to another only after being subjected to a competitive examination. This test is found at each step of his career, and the idea of it has entered the mores so well that I remember reading a Chinese novel in which the hero, after many vicissitudes, finally touches the heart of his mistress by doing well on an examination. Great ambitions breathe badly in such an atmosphere.

What I say about politics extends to everything; equality produces the same effects everywhere; wherever the law does not undertake to regulate and to slow the movement of men, competition suffices.

In a well-established democratic society, great and rapid rises are therefore rare; they form exceptions to the common rule. It is their singularity that makes you forget their small number.

The men of democracies end up catching sight of all these things; in the long run they notice that the legislator opens before them a limitless field, in which everyone can easily take a few steps, but which no one can imagine crossing quickly. Between them and the vast and final object of their desires, they see a multitude of small, intermediary barriers, which they must clear slowly; this sight fatigues their ambition in advance and discourages it. So they renounce these distant and doubtful hopes, in order to seek less elevated and easier enjoyments close to them. The law does not limit their horizon, but they narrow it themselves.

I said that great ambitions were more rare in democratic centuries than in times of aristocracy;n I add that, when, despite natural obstacles, great ambitions are born, they have another physiognomy.

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In aristocracies, the course of ambition is often extensive; but its limits are fixed. In democratic countries, it moves usually in a narrow field; but if it happens to go beyond those limits, you would say that there is no longer anything that limits it. Since men there are weak, isolated and changing, and since precedents there have little sway and laws little duration, resistance to innovations is soft and the social body never seems very sound or very settled. So that, when those who are ambitious once have power in hand, they believe they are able to dare anything; and when power escapes them, they immediately think about overturning the State in order to regain it.o

That gives to great political ambition a violent and revolutionary character, which is rare to see, to the same degree, in aristocratic societies.

A multitude of small, very judicious ambitions, out of which now and then spring a few great, badly ordered desires: such usually is the picture presented by democratic nations. A measured, moderate and vast ambition is hardly ever found there.p

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I showed elsewhere by what secret strength equality made the passion for material enjoyments and the exclusive love of the present predominate in the human heart; these different instincts mingle with the sentiment of ambition and tinge it, so to speak, with their colors.

I think that the ambitious men of democracies are preoccupied less than all the others by the interests and judgments of the future; the present moment alone occupies them and absorbs them. They rapidly complete many undertakings rather than raising a few very enduring monuments; they love success much more than glory. What they ask above all from men is obedience. What they want above all is dominion. Their mores almost always remain less elevated than their condition; this means that very often they bring very vulgar tastes to an extraordinary fortune, and that they seem to have risen to sovereign power only in order to gain more easily for themselves small and coarse pleasures.

I believe that today it is very necessary to purify, to regulate and to adjust the sentiment of ambition, but that it would be very dangerous to want to impoverish it and to curb it beyond measure. You must attempt in advance to set extreme limits for it, which you will never allow it to surpass; but you must take care not to hinder its impetus too much within the allowed limits.

I admit that I fear boldness much less, for democratic societies, than mediocrity of desires; what seems to me most to fear is that, amid the small incessant occupations of private life, ambition may lose its impetus and its grandeur; that human passions may become calmer and lower at the same time, so that each day the bearing of the social body may become more tranquil and less elevated.

So I think that the heads of these new societies would be very wrong to want to put the citizens to sleep in a happiness that is too smooth and Edition: current; Page: [1126] peaceful, and that it is good that they sometimes give them difficult and perilous things to do, in order to elevate ambition there and to open a theater to it.q

Moralists complain constantly that the favorite vice of our period is pride.

That is true in a certain sense: there is no one, in fact, who does not believe himself worth more than his neighbor and who agrees to obey his superior. But that is very false in another sense; for this same man, who cannot bear either subordination or equality, nonetheless despises himself to the point that he believes himself made only for appreciating vulgar pleasures. He stops willingly at mediocre desires without daring to embark upon high undertakings; he scarcely imagines them.

So far from believing that humility must be recommended to our contemporaries, I would like you to try hard to give them a more vast idea of themselves and of their species;r humility is not healthy for them; what they lack most, in my opinion, is pride. I would willingly give up several of our small virtues for this vice.

[In a jacket with the manuscript of the chapter:

Piece of the end that I am not very sure of having correctly deleted. Have it copied and read./

I must not yet despair of combining this with the original version./

Seeing the general movement of ambition that today torments all men and the senseless passions that often agitate them, there are many men who suppose that the principal business of the legislator in democratic Edition: current; Page: [1127] centuries is to extinguish ambition and to narrow their desires. This seems true to me only to a certain measure.

It is in fact very important in those times to give fixed and visible limits to ambition.

<I am led to believe that among democratic nations it can be useful to entrust sovereign power to only a single family in order for sovereignpower not to appear each day within reach of every man.>

I think that among democratic nations more than among all others it is important carefully to contain powers, however great they may be, within known and unsurpassable limits before which immoderate imaginations stop in advance. I imagine that you must work harder than elsewhere to make the constitution of the country seem strong and unchanging [v: unassailable] and, where the law fails, to make public opinion secure enough to raise an immobile barrier against unrestrained passions.

Thus, I understand that among democratic peoples it is particularly necessary to limit great ambition, but I believe that it would be dangerous to hinder its impetus too much within the allowed limits.

I admit straight on that I fear the boldness of desires much less for future generations than the mediocrity of desires. What, according to me, is principally to fear in the coming centuries is that in the midst of the small, incessant and tumultuous occupations of life, ambition may lose its impetus and its grandeur; that human passions may become exhausted and lower and that each day the appearance of humanity may become more peaceful and less elevated.

If, therefore, the legislators of the new world want men to remain at the level attained by our fathers and to go beyond it, they must take great care not to discourage the sentiment of ambition too much.

So instead of excessively plunging citizens into the contemplation of their particular interests so that they more easily abandon the direction of the State to their leaders, it is important to tear them away from themselves often in order to occupy them with public affairs and, if possible, to substitute the love of fame and the taste for great things for the passion for well-being.

I think as well that in democratic societies you must be very careful not to imprison rare virtues too narrowly within the ordinary rules; it is good there to prepare in advance great places which, by great talents and by great Edition: current; Page: [1128] efforts, you can imagine reaching quickly and where you can imagine acting with independence.

This is what occurs naturally with liberty, and nothing shows its necessity better when conditions are equal.

Free institutions constantly force men to forget the petty affairs of individuals in order to preoccupy them with the great interests of peoples; they elevate ambition and open a theater for it.

An absolute prince who becomes established within a people among whom conditions are equal {democratic} is always obliged, in order to have his power excused, to limit himself in the choice of his agents, to subject advancement to fixed and invariable rules, to profess an exaggerated respect for equality of rights, for there is no power in the world which is able to make a democratic people bear at the same time tyranny and privilege.

A self-governing nation never allows itself to be imprisoned by such fetters, and its omnipotent will constantly creates, despite customs and laws, great quick fortunes which leave vast hopes for ambition.

So may the legislators of today seek to purify and to regulate ambition, but may they take care not to want to diminish it too much.

Ambition must be given an honest, reasonable and great end, not extinguished.

≠The more I consider what is coming in the future, the more I think that from now on the great goal of the legislator must be to regulate and to adjust ambition, rather than to diminish it.

So there is nothing that seems more appropriate to the new social state than liberties in a monarchy, an hereditary prince and great elective powers.≠]

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chapter 20a: Of Positions Becoming an Industry among Certain Democratic Nations

[I have talked about how as conditions become equal the sentiment of ambition spreads.

That is seen among all peoples whose social state is becoming democratic, but among them all ambition does not use the same means to satisfy itself.]

In the United States, as soon as a citizen has some enlightenment and some resources, he seeks to enrich himself in commerce and industry, or he buys a field covered with forest and becomes a pioneer. All that he asks of the State is not to come to disturb him in his labors and to ensure the fruit of those labors.

Among most European peoples, when a man begins to feel his strength and to expand his desires, the first idea that occurs to him is to gain a public post.b These different results, coming from the same cause, are worth our stopping a moment here to consider.

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When public offices are few, badly paid, unreliable, and on the other hand, industrial careers are numerous and productive, the new and impatient desires that arise every day from equality are led from all directions toward industry and not toward administration.

But if, at the same time that ranks are becoming equal, enlightenment remains incomplete or spirits timid, or commerce and industry, hampered in their development, offer only difficult and slow means to make a fortune, citizens, losing hope of improving their lot by themselves, rush tumultuously toward the head of the Statec and ask his help. To make themselves more comfortable at the expense of the public treasury seems to them to be, if not the only path open to them, at least, the easiest path and the one most open to all for leaving a condition that is no longer enough for them. The search for positions becomes the most popular of all industries.

It must be so, above all, in large, centralized monarchies, in which the number of paid officials is immense and the existence of the office holders is adequately secure, so that no one loses hope of obtaining a post there and of enjoying it peacefully like a patrimony.d

I will not say that this universal and excessive desire for public office is a great social evil; that it destroys, within each citizen, the spirit of independence and spreads throughout the entire body of the nation a venal and servile temper; that it suffocates the manly virtues; nor will I make the observation that an industry of this type creates only an unproductive activity and agitates the country without making it fruitful: all of that is easily understood.

But I want to remark that the government that favors such a tendency risks its tranquillity and puts its very life in great danger.

I know that, in a time like ours, when we see the love and respect that was formerly attached to power being gradually extinguished, it can appear necessary to those governing to bind each man more tightly by his interest, and that it seems easy to them to use his very passions to keep him in order and in silence; but it cannot be so for long, and what can appear for a certain Edition: current; Page: [1131] period as a cause of strength becomes assuredly in the long run a great cause of trouble and of weakness.

Among democratic peoples, as among all others, the number of public posts ends by having limits; but among these same peoples, the number of ambitious men has no limits; the number increases constantly, by a gradual and irresistible movement, as conditions become equal; the number reaches its limit only when men are lacking.

So when ambition has no outlet except the administration alone, the government necessarily ends by encountering a permanent opposition; for its task is to satisfy with limited means, desires that multiply without limits. You have to be well aware that, of all the peoples of this world, the one most difficult to contain and to lead is a people of place seekers. Whatever the efforts made by its leaders, they can never satisfy such a people, and you must always fear that it will finally overturn the constitution of the country and change the face of the State, solely for the need to open up positions.e

[<≠It is very insane to want to contain in a single streambed the always swelling torrent of human ambitions. It would be wiser in my opinion to divide up the mass and to separate it into a thousand various channels.>

I am persuaded on my part that in a democratic society the interest of Edition: current; Page: [1132] those governing as well as that of the governed is to multiply private careers infinitely.≠]

The princes of our times, who work hard to draw toward themselves alone all the new desires aroused by equality, and to satisfy them, will therefore finish, if I am not mistaken, by regretting being engaged in such an enterprise; they will discover one day that they have risked their power by making it so necessary, and that it would have been more honest and more sure to teach each one of their subjects the art of being self-sufficient.

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chapter 21a: Why Great Revolutions Will Become Rareb

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A people who has lived for centuries under the regime of castes and classes arrives at a democratic social state only through a long succession of more or less painful transformations, with the aid of violent efforts, and after numerous vicissitudes during which goods, opinions and power rapidly change place.

Even when this great revolution is finished, you see the revolutionary habits that it created still continue to exist, and profound agitation follows it.

Since all of this occurs at the moment when conditions are becoming equal, you conclude that a hidden connection and a secret bond exist between equality itself and revolutions, so that the one cannot exist without the others arising.

On this point, reasoning seems in agreement with experience.

Among a people where ranks are nearly equal no apparent bond unites men and holds them firmly in their place. No one among them has the permanent right or the power to command, and no one’s condition is to obey; but each man, finding himself provided with some enlightenment and some resources, can choose his path and walk apart from all his fellows.

The same causes that make citizens independent of each other push them each day toward new and restless desires, and goad them constantly.

So it seems natural to believe that, in a democratic society, ideas, things and men must eternally change forms and places, and that democratic centuries will be times of rapid and constant transformations.

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Is that the case in fact? Does equality of conditions lead men in a habitual and permanent way toward revolutions? Does it contain some disturbing principle that prevents society from becoming settled and disposes citizens constantly to renew their laws, their doctrines and their mores? I do not believe so. The subject is important; I beg the reader to follow me closely.c

Nearly all the revolutions that have changed the face of peoples have been made in order to sanction or to destroy inequality. Take away the secondary causes that have produced the great agitations of men, you will almost always arrive at inequality. It is the poor who have wanted to steal the property of the rich, or the rich who have tried to put the poor in chains. So if you can establish a state of society in which each man has something to keep and little to take, you will have done a great deal for the peace of the world.

I am not unaware that, among a great democratic people, there are always very poor citizens and very rich citizens; but the poor, instead of forming the immense majority of the nation as always happens in aristocratic societies, are small in number, and the law has not tied them together by the bonds of an irremediable and hereditary misery.

The rich, on their side, are few and powerless; they do not have privileges that attract attention; their wealth itself, no longer incorporated in and represented by the land, is elusive and as if invisible. Just as there are no longer races of the poor, there are no longer races of the rich; the latter emerge each day from within the crowd, and return to it constantly. So they do not form a separate class that you can easily define and despoil; and since, moreover, the rich are attached by a thousand secret threads to the mass of their Edition: current; Page: [1136] fellow citizens, the people can scarcely hope to strike them without hitting themselves. Between these two extremes of democratic societies, is found an innumerable multitude of almost similar men who, without being precisely rich or poor, possess enough property to desire order, and do not have enough property to arouse envy.

Those men are naturally enemies of violent movements; their immobility keeps at rest everything above and below them, and secures the social body in its settled position.

It isn’t that those same men are satisfied with their present fortune, or that they feel a natural horror for a revolution whose spoils they would share without experiencing its evils; on the contrary, they desire to become rich with unequaled ardor; but the difficulty is to know from whom to take the wealth. The same social state that constantly suggests desires to them contains those desires within necessary limits. It gives men more liberty to change and less interest in changing.d

Not only do men of democracies not naturally desire revolutions, but they fear them.

There is no revolution that does not more or less threaten acquired property. Most of those who inhabit democratic countries are property owners; they not only have properties; they live in the condition in which men attach the highest value to their property.e

If you attentively consider each one of the classes that compose society, it is easy to see that in no class are the passions that arise from property more ruthless and more tenacious than among the middle class.

Often the poor hardly worry about what they possess, because they suffer from what they lack much more than they enjoy the little that they have. The rich have many other passions to satisfy than that of wealth, and besides, the long and difficult use of a great fortune sometimes ends by making them as if insensitive to its sweet pleasures.

But the men who live in a comfort equally removed from opulence and Edition: current; Page: [1137] from misery put an immense value on their property. Since they are still very close to poverty, they see its rigors close up, and fear them; between poverty and them, there is nothing except a small patrimony on which they soon fix their fears and their hopes. At every instant, they become more interested in their property because of the constant concerns that it gives them, and they become attached to it because of the daily efforts that they make to augment it. The idea of giving up the least part of it is unbearable to them, and they consider its complete loss as the greatest of misfortunes. Now, it is the number of these ardent and anxious small property owners that equality of conditions increases incessantly.

Thus, in democratic societies, the majority of citizens does not see clearly what it could gain from a revolution, and it feels at every instant and in a thousand ways what it could lose.f

I said, in another place in this work, how equality of conditions pushed men naturally toward industrial and commercial careers, and how it increased and diversified property in land; finally I showed how equality of conditions inspired in each man an ardent and constant desire to augment his well-being. There is nothing more contrary to revolutionary passions than all these things.

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A revolution, in its final result, can happen to serve industry and commerce; but its first effect will almost always beg to ruin the industrialists and the merchants, because it cannot fail, first of all, to change the general state of consumption and to reverse temporarily the relation that existed between production and needs.

Moreover, I know nothing more opposed to revolutionary mores than commercial mores. Commerce is naturally hostile to all violent passions. It loves moderation, takes pleasure in compromises, very carefully flees from anger. It is patient, flexible, ingratiating, and it resorts to extreme means only when the most absolute necessity forces it to do so. Commerce makes men independent of each other; it gives them a high idea of their individual value; it leads them to want to conduct their own affairs, and teaches them to succeed in doing so; so it disposes them to liberty, but distances them from revolutions.

[≠Thus the effects of equality of conditions are diverse. Equality, making men independent of each other, puts them at full liberty to innovate and at the same time gives them tastes which need stability in order to be satisfied.≠]

In a revolution, the owners of personal propertyh have more to fear than all the others; for on the one hand, their property is often easy to seize, and Edition: current; Page: [1139] on the other hand, at every moment it can disappear completely. This is less to be feared by owners of landed property who, while losing the income from their lands, hope at least throughout the vicissitudes, to keep the land itself. Consequently you see that the first are much more frightened than the second at the sight of revolutionary movements.

So peoples are less disposed to revolutions as personal property is multiplied and diversified among them and as the number of those who possess personal property becomes greater.

Moreover, whatever profession men embrace and whatever type of property they enjoy, one feature is common to all.

No one is fully satisfied with his present fortune, and everyone works hard every day, by a thousand diverse means, to augment it. Consider each one among them at whatever period of his life, and you will see him preoccupied with some new plans whose goal is to increase his comfort; do not speak to him about the interests and rights of humanity; this small domestic enterprise absorbs all of his thoughts for the moment and makes him wish to put public agitations off to another time.

That not only prevents them from making revolutions, but turns them away from wanting to do so. Violent political passions have little hold on men who have in this way attached their entire soul to the pursuit of well-being. The ardor that they give to small affairs calms them down about great ones.

It is true that from time to time in democratic societies enterprising and ambitious citizens arise whose immense desires cannot be satisfied by following the common path. These men love revolutions and call them forth; but they have great difficulty bringing them about, if extraordinary events do not come to their aid.

You do not struggle effectively against the spirit of your century and country; and one man, however powerful you suppose him to be, has difficulty getting his contemporaries to share sentiments and ideas that the whole of their desires and their sentiments reject. So once equality of conditions has become an old and uncontested fact and has stamped its character on mores, you must not believe that men easily allow themselves to rush into dangers following an imprudent leader or a bold innovator.

It is not that they resist him in an open way, with the aid of intelligent Edition: current; Page: [1140] contrivances, or even by a premeditated plan to resist. They do not fight him with energy; sometimes they even applaud him, but they do not follow him. To his ardor, they secretly oppose their inertia; to his revolutionary instincts, their conservative interests; their stay-at-home tastes to his adventurous passions; their good sense to the flights of his genius; to his poetry, their prose. With a thousand efforts, he arouses them for one moment, and soon they escape him; and as if brought down by their own weight, they fall back. He exhausts himself, wanting to animate this indifferent and inattentive crowd, and he finally sees himself reduced to impotence, not because he is vanquished, but because he is alone.

I do not claim that men who live in democratic societies are naturally immobile; I think, on the contrary, that within such a society an eternal movement reigns and that no one knows rest; but I believe that men there become agitated within certain limits beyond which they hardly ever go. They vary, alter, or renew secondary things every day; they take great care not to touch principal ones. They love change; but they fear revolutions.

Although the Americans are constantly modifying or repealing some of their laws, they are very far from exhibiting revolutionary passions. By the promptness with which they stop and calm themselves down when public agitation begins to become threatening, even at the moment when passions seem the most excited, it is easy to discover that they fear a revolution as the greatest of misfortunes, and that each one among them is inwardly resolved to make great sacrifices to avoid it. There is no country in the world where the sentiment of property shows itself more active and more anxious than in the United States, and where the majority shows less of a tendency toward doctrines that threaten to alter in any manner whatsoever the constitution of property.j

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I have often remarked that theories that are revolutionary by their nature, in that they can only be realized by a complete and sometimes sudden change in the state of property and persons, are infinitely less in favor in the United States than in the great monarchies of Europe. If a few men profess them, the mass rejects them with a kind of instinctive horror.

I am not afraid to say that most of the maxims that are customarily called democratic in France would be proscribed by the democracy of the United States. That is easily understood. In America, you have democratic ideas and passions; in Europe, we still have revolutionary passions and ideas.

If America ever experiences great revolutions, they will be brought about by the presence of Blacks on the soil of the United States: that is to say that it will be not equality of conditions, but on the contrary inequality of conditions that gives birth to them.

When conditions are equal, each man willingly becomes isolated within himself and forgets the public. If the legislators of democratic peoples did not seek to correct this fatal tendency or favored it, with the thought that this tendency diverts citizens from political passions and thus turns them away from revolutions, they could themselves end up producing the evil that they want to avoid. And a moment could arrive when the disorderly passions of a few men, making use of the unintelligent egoism and faint-heartedness of the greatest number, would end up forcing the social body to undergo strange vicissitudes.

In democratic societies,k hardly any one other than small minorities desires revolutions; but minorities can sometimes make them.m

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I am not saying that democratic nations are safe from revolutions; I am only saying that the social state of these nations does not lead them to, but rather distances them from revolutions. Democratic peoples, left to themselves, do not easily become engaged in great adventures; they are carried toward revolutions only unknowingly; they sometimes undergo revolutions, but they do not make them. And I add that, when they have been permitted to acquire enlightenment and experience, they do not allow them to be made.n

I know well that in this matter public institutions themselves can do a great deal; they favor or restrain the instincts that arise from the social state. So I am not maintaining, I repeat, that a people is safe from revolution for the sole reason that, within it, conditions are equal; but I believe that, whatever the institutions of such a people, great revolutions there will always be infinitely less violent and rarer than is supposed; and I easily foresee such a political state that, combining with equality, would make society more stationary [<and more immobile>] than it has ever been in our West.

What I have just said about facts applies in part to ideas.

Two things are astonishing in the United States: the great mobility of most human actions and the singular fixity of certain principles. Men stir constantly, the human mind seems almost immobile.

Once an opinion has spread over the American soil and taken root, you could say that no power on earth is able to eradicate it. In the United States the general doctrines in matters of religion, philosophy, morals, and even of politics, do not vary, or at least they are only modified after a hidden Edition: current; Page: [1143] and often imperceptible effort;o the crudest prejudices themselves fade only with an inconceivable slowness amid the friction repeated a thousand times between things and men.

I hear it said that it is in the nature and in the habits of democracies to change sentiments and thoughts at every moment. That is perhaps true of small democratic nations,[*] such as those of antiquity [added: or of the Middle Ages], which were gathered all together in the public square and then stirred up at the pleasure of an orator. I saw nothing similar within the great democratic people that occupies the opposite shores of our ocean. What struck me in the United States was the difficulty experienced in dis-abusing the majority of an idea that it has conceived and in detaching the majority from a man that it adopts. Writings or speeches can hardly succeed in doing so; experience alone achieves it in the end; sometimes experience must be repeated.p

This is astonishing at first view; a more attentive examination explains it.

[<≠It is ideas that, most often, produce facts, and in turn facts constantly modify ideas.≠>]

I do not believe that it is as easy as you imagine to uproot the prejudices of a democratic people; to change its beliefs; to substitute new religious, philosophical, political and moral principles for those that were once established; in a word, to make great and frequent intellectual revolutions. It Edition: current; Page: [1144] is not that the human mind is idle there; it is in constant motion; but it exerts itself to vary infinitely the consequences of known principles and to discover new consequences rather than to seek new principles. It turns back on itself with agility, rather than rushing forward by a rapid and direct effort; it extends its sphere little by little by continuous and quick small movements; it does not shift ground suddenly.

Men equal in rights, in education, in fortune, and to say everything in a phrase, of similar condition, necessarily have almost similar needs, habits and tastes. Since they see matters in the same way, their mind is inclined naturally toward analogous ideas, and although each one of them can withdraw from his contemporaries and create his own beliefs, they end up, without knowing it and without wanting to, by finding themselves all with a certain number of common opinions.

[The intellectual anarchy of democratic societies is more apparent than real. Men differ infinitely on questions of detail, but on the great principles they are in agreement.]

The more attentively I consider the effects of equality on the mind, the more I am persuaded that the intellectual anarchy of which we are witnesses is not, as some suppose, the natural state of democratic peoples.q I believe that the intellectual anarchy must instead be considered as Edition: current; Page: [1145] an accident particular to their youth, and that it shows itself only during the period of transition when men have already broken the old bonds that tied them together, and still differ prodigiously by origin, education and mores; so that, having retained very diverse ideas, instincts and tastes, nothing prevents them any longer from bringing them forth. The principal opinions of men become similar as conditions become alike. Such seems to me to be the general and permanent fact; the rest is fortuitous and fleeting.r

I believe that rarely, in a democratic society, will a man come to imagine, at a single stroke, a system of ideas very removed from the one that his contemporaries have adopted; and if such an innovator appeared, I imagine that he would at first have great difficulty making himself heard and still more making himself believed.s

When conditions are almost the same, one man does not easily allow himself to be persuaded by another. Since all see each other very close up, since together they have learned the same things and lead the same life, they Edition: current; Page: [1146] are not naturally disposed to take one among them as a guide and to follow him blindly; you hardly believe your fellow or your equal on his word.

It is not only confidence in the enlightenment of certain individuals that becomes weak among democratic nations; as I said elsewhere, the general idea of the intellectual superiority that any man can gain over all the others does not take long to grow dim.

As men become more alike, the dogma of the equality of minds insinuates itself little by little in their beliefs, and it becomes more difficult for an innovator, whoever he may be, to gain and to exercise a great power over the mind of a people. So in such societies, sudden intellectual revolutions are rare; for if you cast your eyes over the history of the world, you see that it is much less the strength of an argument than the authority of a name that has produced the great and rapid mutations of human opinions.

Note, moreover, that since the men who live in democratic societiest are not attached by any bond to each other, each one of them must be persuaded. While in aristocratic societies it is enough to be able to act on the mind of a few; all the others follow. If Luther had lived in a century of equality, and if he had not had lords and princes as an audience, he would perhaps have had more difficulty changing the face of Europe.

It is not that the men of democracies are naturally very convinced of the certitude of their opinions and very firm in their beliefs; they often have doubts that no one, in their view, can resolve. It sometimes happens in those times that the human mind would willingly change position; but, since nothing either pushes it strongly or directs it, it oscillates in place and does not move.1

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When the confidence of a democratic people has been won, it is still a great matter to gain its attention. It is very difficult to make the men who live in democracies listen, when you are not talking to them about themselves.u They do not listen to the things that you say to them, because they are always very preoccupied with the things that they are doing.

There are, in fact, few idle men among democratic nations. Life there passes amid movement and noise, and men there are so occupied with acting that little time remains to them for thinking. What I want to note above all is that not only are they occupied, but they are passionate about their occupations. They are perpetually in action, and each one of their actions absorbs their soul; the heat that they bring to their affairs prevents them from catching fire about ideas.

I think that it is very difficult to excite the enthusiasm of a democratic people for any theory whatsoever that does not have a visible, direct and immediate connection to the daily conduct of life. So such a people does not easily abandon its ancient beliefs. For it is enthusiasm that hurls the human mind out of beaten paths and that creates great intellectual revolutions like great political revolutions.

Thus democratic peoples have neither the leisure nor the taste to go in search of new opinions. Even when they come to doubt those they possess, they nevertheless maintain them because it would require too much time Edition: current; Page: [1148] and investigation for them to change their opinions; they keep them, not as certain, but as established.

There are still other and more powerful reasons that are opposed to a great change taking place easily in the doctrines of a democratic people. I have already pointed it out at the beginning of this book.

If, within such a people, individual influences are weak and almost nonexistent, the power exercised by the mass on the mind of each individual is very great. I have given the reasons for it elsewhere. What I want to say at this moment is that you would be wrong to believe that this depended solely on the form of government, and that the majority there had to lose its intellectual dominion with its political power.

In aristocracies men often have a greatness and a strength that is their own. When they find themselves in contradiction with the greatest number of their fellows, they withdraw within themselves, sustain and console themselves apart. It is not the same among democratic peoples. Among them, public favor seems as necessary as the air that you breathe, and to be in disagreement with the mass is, so to speak, not to live. The mass does not need to use laws to bend those who do not think as it does. It is enough to disapprove of them. The sentiment of their isolation and of their powerlessness overwhelms them immediately and reduces them to despair.

Every time that conditions are equal, general opinion presses with an immense weight on the mind of each individual; opinion envelops, directs and oppresses it; that is due to the very constitution of the society much more than to its political laws. As all men resemble each other more, each one feels more and more weak in the face of all. Not finding anything that raises him very far above them and that distinguishes him from them, he mistrusts himself as soon as they fight him; not only does he doubt his strength, but he also comes to doubt his right, and he is very close to acknowledging that he is wrong, when the greatest number assert it. The majority does not need to constrain him; it convinces him.v

So in whatever way you organize the powers of a democratic society and Edition: current; Page: [1149] balance them, it will always be very difficult to believe in what the mass rejects and to profess what it condemns.

This marvelously favors the stability of beliefs.

When an opinion has taken root among a democratic people and has become established in the mind of the greatest number, it then subsists by itself and perpetuates itself without effort, because no one attacks it. Those who had at first rejected it as false end by receiving it as general, and those who continue to combat it at the bottom of their hearts reveal nothing; they are very careful not to become engaged in a dangerous and useless struggle.

It is true that, when the majority of a democratic people changes opinion, it can at will bring about strange and sudden revolutions in the intellectual world; but it is very difficult for its opinion to change, and almost as difficult to notice that it has changed.

It sometimes happens that time, events or the individual and solitary effort of minds, end by shaking or by destroying a belief little by little without anything being outwardly visible. It is not fought openly. Men do not gather together to make war on it. Its partisans leave it quietly one by one; but each day a few abandon it, until finally it is shared only by a small number.

In this state, it still reigns.

Since its enemies continue to be silent, or communicate their thoughts only surreptitiously, they themselves are for a long time unable to be sure that a great revolution has taken place, and in doubt they remain immobile. They observe and they are silent. [<They still tremble before the power that no longer exists and yield in a cowardly way to an imaginary authority.>] The majority no longer believes; but it still has the appearance of believing, and this empty phantom of public opinion is enough to chill innovators and to keep them in silence and respect.

[≠That is seen in all centuries but particularly in democratic centuries.

Take liberty of the press away from a democratic nation and the human mind falls asleep.≠]

We live in a period that has seen the most rapid changes take place in the mind of men. It could happen, however, that soon the principal human Edition: current; Page: [1150] opinions will be more stable than they have been in the preceding centuries of our history; this time has not come, but perhaps it is approaching.

As I examine more closely the natural needs and instincts of democratic peoples, I am persuaded that, if equality is ever established in a general and permanent way in the world, great intellectual and political revolutions will become very difficult and rarer than we suppose.w

Because the men of democracies appear always excited, uncertain, breathless, ready to change will and place, [<thoughts, careers]> you imagine that they are suddenly going to abolish their laws, to adopt new beliefs and to take up new mores. You do not consider that, if equality leads men to change, it suggests to them interests and tastes that need stability in order to be satisfied; it pushes them and, at the same time, stops them; it spurs them on and ties them to the earth; it inflames their desires and limits their strength.

This is what is not revealed at first. The passions that push citizens away from each other in a democracy appear by themselves. But you do not notice at first glance the hidden force that holds them back and gathers them together.

Will I dare to say it amid the ruins that surround me? What I dread most for the generations to come is not revolutions.x

If citizens continue to enclose themselves more and more narrowly within the circle of small domestic interests and to be agitated there without respite, you can fear that they will end by becoming as if impervious to these great and powerful public emotions that disturb peoples, but which develop and renew them. When I see property become so mobile, and the love of property so anxious and so ardent, I cannot prevent myself from fearing that men will reach the point of regarding every new theory as a danger, every innovation as an unfortunate trouble, every social progress as a first step toward a revolution, and that they will refuse entirely to move Edition: current; Page: [1151] for fear that they would be carried away. I tremble, I confess, that they will finally allow themselves to be possessed so well by a cowardly love of present enjoyments, that the interest in their own future and that of their descendants will disappear, and that they will prefer to follow feebly the course of their destiny, than to make, if needed, a sudden and energetic effort to redress it.

You believe that the new societies are going to change face every day, and as for me, I fear that they will end by being too invariably fixed in the same institutions, the same prejudices, the same mores; so that humanity comes to a stop and becomes limited; that the mind eternally turns back on itself without producing new ideas; that man becomes exhausted in small solitary and sterile movements, and that, even while constantly moving, humanity no longer advances.

[At the end of the manuscript of this chapter:

This piece interrupted the natural course of ideas. Put it in a note.y

<It is not only the results of revolutions that frighten democratic peoples. The extreme violence of revolutionary methods is repugnant to them.>[*]

I showed how equality of conditions, by making men alike, interested them mutually in their miseries and made their mores milder.

These habits of private life are found again in public life and prevent political passions [v: hatreds] from being too cruel and too implacable.

Here you must not confuse revolutions that are made to establish equality Edition: current; Page: [1152] with those that take place after equality is established, and you must be very careful about applying to the second the character of the first.

Revolutions that are made to establish equality are almost always cruel because the struggle takes place between men who are already equal enough to be able to make war on each other and who are dissimilar enough to strike each other without pity.z

This harshness of sentiments no longer exists from the moment when citizens have become equal and alike. Among a democratic people the general and permanent mildness of mores imposes a certain restraint on the most intense political hatreds. Men willingly allow a revolution to go as far as injustice, but not as far as cruelty. The confiscation of property is repugnant to them, the sight of human blood is offensive to them; they allow you to oppress, but they do not want you to kill.

This softening of political passions is seen clearly in the United States. America is, I believe, the only country in the world where for the last fifty years not a single man has been condemned to death for a political offense. There have, nonetheless, been a few great political crimes; there has been no scaffold. It is true that several times in the United States and above all in more recent times, you have seen the population give itself to horrible excesses against Blacks and concerning slavery. But even that proves what I am asserting. The political passions of the Americans become barbaric only when an aristocratic institution is found (this is good but has already been said previously).]

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chapter 22a: Why Democratic Peoples Naturally Desire Peace and Democratic Armies Naturally Desire War

The same interests, the same fears, the same passions that divert democratic peoples from revolutions distance them from war; the military spirit and the revolutionary spirit grow weaker at the same time and for the same reasons.b

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The ever-increasing number of property owners friendly to peace, the development of personal wealth, which war so rapidly devours, this leniency of morals, this softness of heart, this predisposition toward pity that equality inspires, this coldness of reason that makes men hardly sensitive to the poetic and violent emotions which arise among arms, all these causes join together to extinguish military spirit.

I believe that you can accept as a general and constant rule that, among civilized peoples, warrior passions will become rarer and less intense, as conditions will be more equal.

War, however, is an accident to which all peoples are subject, democratic peoples as well as others. Whatever taste these nations have for peace, they must clearly keep themselves ready to repulse war, or in other words, they must have an army.

Fortune, which has done such distinctive things to favor the inhabitants of the United States, placed them in the middle of a wilderness where they have, so to speak, no neighbors. A few thousand soldiers are sufficient for them, but this is American and not democratic.

Equality of conditions, and the mores as well as the institutions that derive from it, do not release a democratic people from the obligation to maintain armies, and its armies always exercise a very great influence on its fate. So it is singularly important to inquire what the natural instincts are of those who compose its armies.

Among aristocratic peoples, among those above all in which birth alone determines rank, inequality is found in the army as in the nation; the officer is the noble, the soldier is the serf. The one is necessarily called to command, the other to obey. So in aristocratic armies, the ambition of the soldier has very narrow limits.

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Nor is that of the officers unlimited.

An aristocratic body is not only part of a hierarchy; it always contains an internal hierarchy; the members who compose it are placed some above the others, in a certain way that does not vary. This one is naturally called by birth to command a regiment, and that one a company; having reached the extreme limits of their hopes, they stop on their own and remain satisfied with their lot.

There is first of all one great cause that in aristocracies tempers the desire of the officer for advancement.

Among aristocratic peoples, the officer, apart from his rank in the army, still occupies an elevated rank in society; the first is almost always in his eyes only an accessory to the second; the noble, by embracing the career of arms, obeys ambition less than a sort of duty that his birth imposes on him. He enters the army in order to employ honorably the idle years of his youth, and in order to be able to bring back to his household and to his peers a few honorable memories of military life; but his principal objective there is not to gain property, consideration and power; for he possesses these advantages on his own and enjoys them without leaving home.

In democratic armies, all the soldiers can become officers, which generalizes the desire for advancement and extends the limits of military ambition almost infinitely.

On his side, the officer sees nothing that naturally and inevitably stops him at one rank rather than at another, and each rank has an immense value in his eyes, because his rank in society depends almost always on his rank in the army.

Among democratic peoples, it often happens that the officer has no property except his pay, and can expect consideration only from his military honors. So every time he changes offices, he changes fortune and is in a way another man. What was incidental to existence in aristocratic armies has thus become the main thing, everything, existence itself.

Under the old French monarchy,c officers were given only their title of Edition: current; Page: [1156] nobility. Today, they are given only their military title. This small change in the conventions of language is sufficient to indicate that a great revolution has taken place in the constitution of society and in that of the army.

Within democratic armies, the desire to advance is almost universal; it is ardent, tenacious, continual; it increases with all the other desires, and is extinguished only with life. Now, it is easy to see that, of all the armies of the world, those in which advancement must be slowest in time of peace are democratic armies. Since the number of ranks is naturally limited, the number of competitors almost innumerable, and the inflexible law of equality bears on all, no one can make rapid progress, and many cannot budge. Thus the need to advance is greater, and the ease of advancing less than elsewhere.d

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All of the ambitious men contained in a democratic army therefore wish vehemently for war, because war empties places and finally allows violation of the right of seniority, which is the only privilege natural to democracy.

We thus arrive at this singular consequence that, of all armies, the ones that most ardently desire war are democratic armies, and that, among peoples, those who most love peace are democratic peoples; and what really makes the thing extraordinary is that it is equality which produces these opposite effects simultaneously.

Citizens, being equal, conceive daily the desire and discover the possibility of changing their condition and of increasing their well-being; that disposes them to love peace, which makes industry prosper and allows each Edition: current; Page: [1158] man to push his small enterprises tranquilly to their end; and from the other side, this same equality, by augmenting the value of military honors in the eyes of those who follow the career of arms, and by making honors accessible to all, makes soldiers dream of battlefields. From both sides, the restlessness of heart is the same, the taste for enjoyments is as insatiable, ambition is equal; only the means to satisfy it is different.

These opposing predispositions of the nation and of the army make democratic societies run great dangers.

When the military spirit deserts a people, the military career immediately ceases to be honored, and men of war fall to the lowest rank of public officials. They are little esteemed and no longer understood. Then the opposite of what is seen in aristocratic centuries happens. It is no longer the principal citizens who enter the army, but the least. Men give themselves to military ambition only when no other is allowed. This forms a vicious circle from which it is difficult to escape. The elite of the nation avoids the military career, because this career is not honored; and it is not honored, because the elite of the nation no longer enters it.

[≠Although the military man has in general a better-regulated and milder existence in democratic times than in all the others, he nonetheless experiences an unbearable uneasiness there; his body is better nourished, better clothed, but his soul suffers.≠]

So you must not be astonished if democratic armies often appear restless, muttering, and poorly satisfied with their lot, even though the physical condition there is usually very much milder and discipline less rigid than in all the others. The soldier feels himself in an inferior position, and his wounded pride ends by giving him the taste for war, which makes him necessary, or the love of revolutions, during which he hopes to conquer, weapons in hand, the political influence and the individual consideration that others deny him.

The composition of democratic armies makes this last danger very much to be feared.

In democratic society, nearly all citizens have some property to preserve; but democratic armies are led, in general, by proletarians. Most among them have little to lose in civil disturbances. The mass of the nation naturally Edition: current; Page: [1159] fears revolutions more than in centuries of aristocracy; but the leaders of the army fear them much less.

Moreover, since among democratic peoples, as I have said before, the wealthiest, most educated, most capable citizens hardly enter the military career, it happens that the army, as a whole, ends up becoming a small nation apart, in which intelligence is less widespread and habits are cruder than in the large nation. Now, this small uncivilized nation possesses the weapons, and it alone knows how to use them.

What, in fact, increases the danger that the military and turbulent spirit of the army presents to democratic peoples is the pacific temperament of the citizens; there is nothing so dangerous as an army within a nation that is not warlike; the excessive love of all the citizens for tranquillity daily puts the constitution at the mercy of soldiers.

So you can say in a general way that, if democratic peoples are naturally led toward peace by their interests and their instincts, they are constantly drawn toward war and revolutions by their armies.

Military revolutions, which are almost never to be feared in aristocracies, are always to be feared in democratic nations. These dangers must be ranked among the most formidable of all those that their future holds; the attention of statesmen [v: of good citizens] must be applied unrelentingly to finding a remedy for them.

When a nation feels itself tormented internally by the restless ambition of its army, the first thought that presents itself is to give war as a goal for this troublesome ambition.

I do not want to speak ill of war; war almost always enlarges the thought of a people and elevates the heart. There are cases where it alone can arrest the excessive development of certain tendencies that arise naturally from equality, and where war must be considered as necessary for certain inveterate illnessese to which democratic societies are subject.

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War has great advantages; but it must not be imagined that war decreases the danger that has just been indicated. It only defers it, and it comes back more terrible after the war, for the army bears peace much more impatiently after having tasted war. War would only be a remedy for a [democratic] people who always wanted glory.

[Napoleon often let it be understood that he would have willingly stopped in the middle of his triumphs if the passions of his soldiers had not, so to speak, compelled him to throw himself constantly into new endeavors.]f

I foresee that all the warrior princes who arise within great democratic nations will find that it is much easier for them to conquer with their army than to make the army live in peace after the victory. There are two things that a democratic people will always have a great deal of difficulty doing: beginning a war and ending it.g

If, moreover, war has particular advantages for democratic peoples, on the other hand it makes them run certain dangers that aristocracies do not have to fear to the same degree. I will cite only two of them.

If war satisfies the army, it hinders and often drives to despair that innumerable crowd of citizens whose small passions daily need peace to be satisfied. So it risks bringing about in another form the disorder that it should prevent.

There is no long war that, in a democratic country, does not put liberty at great risk. It is not that you must fear precisely to see, after each victory, conquering generals seize sovereign power by force, in the manner of Sylla or of Caesar.h The danger is of another kind. War does not always deliver democratic peoples to military government; but it cannot fail to increase immensely, among these peoples, the attributions of the civil government; Edition: current; Page: [1161] it almost inevitably centralizes in the government’s hands the direction of all men and the use of everything. If it does not lead suddenly to despotism by violence, it goes there softly by habits.j

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All those who seek to destroy liberty within a democratic nation should know that the surest and shortest means to succeed in doing so is war. That is the first axiom of the science.

A remedy seems to offer itself when the ambition of officers and of soldiers comes to be feared; it is to increase the number of places available, by augmenting the army. This relieves the present evil, but mortgages the future even more.

To augment the army can produce a lasting effect in an aristocratic society, because in these societies military ambition is limited to a single type of men, and stops, for each man, at a certain limit; so that you can manage to satisfy almost all of those who feel military ambition.

But among a democratic people, nothing is gained by increasing the army, because the number of ambitious men always increases in exactly the same proportion as the army itself. Those whose wishes you have fulfilled by creating new posts are immediately replaced by a new crowd that you cannot satisfy, and the first soon begin to complain again; for the same agitation of spirit that reigns among the citizens of a democracy shows itself in the army;k what men want there is not to gain a certain rank, but always to advance. If the desires are not very vast, they are reborn constantly. So a democratic people that augments its army only softens, for a moment, Edition: current; Page: [1163] the ambition of men of war; but soon it becomes more formidable, because those who feel it are more numerous.m

I think, for my part, that a restless and turbulent spirit is an evil inherent in the very constitution of democratic armies, and that we must give up on curing it. The legislators of democracies must not imagine finding a military organization that by itself has the strength to calm and to contain men of war; they would exhaust themselves in vain efforts before attaining it.

It is not in the army that you can find the remedy for the vices of the army, but in the country.

Democratic peoples naturally fear trouble and despotism. It is only a matter of making these instincts into thoughtful, intelligent and stable tastes. When citizens have finally learned to make peaceful and useful use of liberty and have felt its benefits; when they have contracted a manly love of order and have voluntarily yielded to the established rule, these same citizens, while entering into the career of arms, bring these habits and these mores to the army without knowing it and as if despite themselves. The general spirit of the nation, penetrating the particular spirit of the army, tempers the opinions and the desires that arise from the military state, or by the omnipotent force of public opinion, it suppresses them. Have enlightened, well-ordered, steady and free citizens, and you will have disciplined and obedient soldiers.

Every law that, while repressing the turbulent spirit of the army, would tend to diminish, within the nation, the spirit of civil liberty and to obscure Edition: current; Page: [1164] the idea of law and of rights would therefore go against its purpose. It would favor the establishment of a military tyranny much more than it would harm it.

After all, and no matter what you do, a great army within a democratic people will always be a great danger; and the most effective means of decreasing this danger will be to reduce the army; but it is a remedy that not all peoples are able to use.n

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chapter 23a: Which Class, in Democratic Armies, Is the Most Warlike and the Most Revolutionary

It is the essence of a democratic army to be very numerous, relative to the people who furnish it; I will talk about the reasons further along.

On the other hand, the men who live in democratic times scarcely ever choose the military career.

So democratic peoples are soon led to renounce voluntary recruitment in order to resort to compulsory enlistment.b The necessity of their condition obliges them to take this last measure, and you can easily predict that all will adopt it.

Since military service is compulsory, the burden is shared indiscriminately and equally by all citizens. That again follows necessarily from the condition of these peoples and from their ideas. The government can more or less do what it wants provided that it addresses itself to everyone at the Edition: current; Page: [1166] same time; it is the inequality of the burden and not the burden itself that ordinarily makes you resist.

Now, since military service is common to all citizens, the clear result is that each of them remains in the service only a few years.

Thus in the nature of things the soldier is in the army only in passing, while among most aristocratic nations, the military state is a profession that the soldier takes or that is imposed on him for life.

This has great consequences. Among the soldiers who make up a democratic army, some become attached to military life; but the greatest number, brought in spite of themselves into the service and always ready to return to their homes, do not consider themselves seriously engaged in the military career and think only about getting out of it. The latter do not contract the needs and only half-share the passions that arise from this career. They comply with their military duties, but their soul remains attached to the interests and the desires that occupied it in civilian life. So they do not take on the spirit of the army; instead they bring into the army the spirit of the society and preserve it there. Among democratic peoples, it is the simple soldiers who most remain citizens; national habits retain the greatest hold and public opinion the most power over them. It is through the soldiers above all that you can hope to make the love of liberty and respect for rights, which you knew how to inspire among the people themselves, penetrate into a democratic army. The opposite happens among aristocratic nations, in which the soldiers end up having nothing at all in common with their fellow citizens, living among them like strangers and often like enemies.

In aristocratic armies, the conservative element is the officer, because the officer alone has kept close ties to civilian society and never gives up the will to resume sooner or later his position there; in democratic armies, it is the soldier and for entirely similar reasons.

It often happens, on the contrary, that in these same democratic armies, the officer contracts tastes and desires entirely separate from those of the nation. That is understandable.

Among democratic peoples, the man who becomes an officer breaks all Edition: current; Page: [1167] the ties that attached him to civilian life; he emerges from it forever and he has no interest in returning to it. His true country is the army, since he is nothing except by the rank that he occupies there; so he follows the fortune of the army, grows or declines with it, and it is toward the army alone that from now on he directs his hopes. Since the officer has needs very distinct from those of the country, it can happen that he ardently desires war or works for a revolution at the very moment when the nation aspires most to stability and peace.

Nonetheless there are causes that temper the warrior and restless temperament in him. If ambition is universal and continuous among democratic peoples, we have seen that it is rarely great there. The man who, coming out of the secondary classes of the nation, has arrived, through the lower ranks of the army, at the rank of officer, has already taken an immense step. He has entered into a sphere superior to the one he occupied within civilian society, and he has acquired rights there that most democratic nations will always consider as inalienable.1 He stops willingly after this great effort, and thinks about enjoying his conquest. The fear of compromising what he possesses already softens in his heart the desire to acquire what he does not have. After having overcome the first and the greatest obstacle that stopped his progress, he resigns himself with less impatience to the slowness of his march. This cooling of ambition increases as, rising higher in rank, he finds more to lose from risks. If I am not mistaken, the least warlike as well as the least revolutionary part of a democratic army will always be the head.

What I have just said about the officer and the soldier is not applicable to a numerous class that, in all armies, occupies the intermediary place between them; I mean the non-commissioned officers.

This class of non-commissioned officers, which before the present century had not yet appeared in history, is henceforth called, I think, to play a role.

Just like the officer, the non-commissioned officer has broken in his thought all the ties that attached him to civilian society; just like him, he Edition: current; Page: [1168] has made the military life his career and, more than the officer perhaps, he has turned all of his desires solely in this direction; but unlike the officer he has not yet reached an elevated and solid place where it is permissible for him to stop and to breathe comfortably, while waiting to be able to climb higher.

By the very nature of his functions that cannot change, the non-commissioned officer is condemned to lead an obscure, narrow, uneasy and precarious existence. So far he sees only the perils of the military life. He knows only privations and obedience, more difficult to bear than the perils. He suffers all the more from his present miseries, because he knows that the constitution of society and that of the army allow him to free himself from these miseries; from one day to the next, in fact, he can become an officer. Then he commands, has honors, independence, rights, enjoyments; not only does this object of his hopes seem immense to him, but before grasping it, he is never sure of attaining it. There is nothing irrevocable about his rank; he is left each day entirely to the arbitrariness of his leaders; the needs of discipline require imperatively that it be so. A slight fault, a caprice, can always make him lose, in a moment, the fruit of several years of work and efforts. Until he has reached the rank he covets, he has therefore done nothing.d Only then does he seem to enter into the career. With a man thus incited constantly by his youth, his needs, his passions, the spirit of his times, his hopes and his fears, a desperate ambition cannot fail to catch fire.

So the non-commissioned officer wants war, he wants it always and at any price, and if you refuse him war, he desires revolutions which suspend the authority of the rules; in the midst of these revolutions he hopes, by means of confusion and political passions, to expel his officer and take his place; and it is not impossible for him to bring about revolutions, because he exercises a great influence over the soldiers by shared origins and habits, even though he differs greatly from them by passions and desires.

You would be wrong to believe that these various predispositions of the Edition: current; Page: [1169] officer, of the non-commissioned officer and of the soldier depend on a time or a country. They will appear in all periods and among all democratic nations.

In every democratic army, it will always be the non-commissioned officer who will least represent the pacific and regular spirit of the country, and the soldier who will best represent it. The soldier will bring to the military career the strength or the weakness of national mores; there he will manifest the faithful image of the nation. If the nation is ignorant and weak, he will allow himself to be carried away to disorder by his leaders, without his knowing or despite himself. If the nation is enlightened and energetic, he will keep them in order himself.

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chapter 24a: What Makes Democratic Armies Weaker Than Other Armies While Beginning a Military Campaign and More Formidable When the War Is Prolongedb

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Every army that begins a military campaign after a long peace risks being defeated; every army that has waged war for a long time has great chances to win: this truth is particularly applicable to democratic armies.

In aristocracies, the military life, being a privileged career, is honored even in times of peace. Men who have great talents, great enlightenment and a great ambition embrace it; the army is, in everything, at the level of the nation; often it even surpasses it.

We have seen how, on the contrary, among democratic peoples, the elite of the nation moves little by little away from the military career in order to seek, by other roads, consideration, power and above all wealth. After a long peace, and in democratic times periods of peace are long, the army is always inferior to the country itself. War finds it in this state;c and until war has changed it, there is a danger for the country and for the army.

I showed how, in democratic armies and in times of peace, the right of seniority is the supreme and inflexible law for advancement. That follows Edition: current; Page: [1172] not only, as I said, from the constitution of these armies, but also from the very constitution of the people, and will always be found.

Moreover, since among these peoples the officer is something in the country only because of his military position, and since he draws all his consideration and all his comfort from it, he only withdraws or is excluded from the army at the very end of life.

The result of these two causes is that when, after a long peace, a democratic people finally takes up arms, all the leaders of its army are found to be old men. I am not speaking only about the generals, but about the subordinate officers, most of whom have remained immobile, or have been able to move only step by step. If you consider a democratic army after a long peace, you see with surprise that all the soldiers are not far from childhood and all the leaders are in their waning years; so that the first lack experience; and the second, vigor.

That is a great cause of reverses; for the first condition to conduct war well is to be young; I would not have dared to say it, if the greatest captain of modern times had not said so.

These two causes do not act in the same way on aristocratic armies.

Since you advance there by right of birth much more than by right of seniority, you always find in all the ranks a certain number of young men who bring to war all the first energy of body and soul.

Moreover, as men who seek military honors among an aristocratic people have an assured position in civilian society, they rarely wait in the army for the approach of old age to surprise them. After devoting to the career of arms the most vigorous years of their youth, they withdraw and go to spend the remainder of their mature years at home.

A long peace not only fills democratic armies with old officers, it also gives to all the officers habits of body and mind that make them little suited to war. The man who has lived for a long time amid the peaceful and halfhearted atmosphere of democratic mores yields with difficulty at first to the hard work and austere duties that war imposes. If he does not absolutely Edition: current; Page: [1173] lose the taste for arms, he at least takes on ways of living that prevent him from winning.

Among aristocratic peoples, the softness of civilian life exercises less influence on military mores, because among these peoples the aristocracy leads the army. Now, an aristocracy, however immersed in delights it may be, always has several other passions than that of well-being, and it readily makes the temporary sacrifice of its well-being in order to satisfy those passions better.

I showed how in democratic armies, in times of peace, the delays in advancement are extreme. The officers at first bear this state of things with impatience; they become agitated, restless and despairing; but in the long run, most of them resign themselves to it. Those who have the most ambition and resources leave the army; the others, finally adjusting their tastes and their desires to their mediocre lot, end up considering the military life from a civilian perspective. What they value most about it is the comfort and the stability that accompany it; on the assurance of this small fortune, they base the entire picture of their future, and they ask only to be able to enjoy it peacefully.

Thus, not only does a long peace fill democratic armies with old officers, but it often gives the instincts of old men even to those who are still at a vigorous age.d

I have equally shown how among democratic nations, in times of peace, the military career was little honored and not much followed.

This public disfavor is a very heavy burden that weighs on the spirit of the army. Souls are as if bent down by it; and when war finally arrives, they cannot regain their elasticity and their vigor in a moment.

A similar cause of moral weakness is not found in aristocratic armies. Edition: current; Page: [1174] [<Among aristocratic peoples the career of arms is always honored, whatever the current of public opinion might otherwise be.>] Officers there never find themselves lowered in their own eyes and in those of their fellows, because apart from their military grandeur, they are great by themselves.

If the influence of peace made itself felt in the two armies in the same way, the results would still be different.

When the officers of an aristocratic army have lost the warrior spirit and the desire to raise themselves by the profession of arms, they still keep a certain respect for the honor of their order and an old habit of being first and giving the example. But when the officers of a democratic army no longer have love of war and military ambition, nothing remains.

So I think that a democratic people who undertakes a war after a long peace risks being defeated much more than another; but it must not allow itself to be easily demoralized by reverses, for the chances of its army increase with the very duration of the war.

When war, by continuing, has finally torn all citizens away from their peaceful labors and made all their small undertakings fail, it happens that the same passions that made them attach so much value to peace turn toward arms. War, after destroying all industries, becomes itself the great and sole industry, and then the ardent and ambitious desires given birth by equality are directed from all sides toward it alone. This is why these same democratic nations that are so hard to drag onto the field of battle sometimes do such prodigious things there, once you have finally succeeded in having them take up arms.

As war more and more draws all eyes toward the army, as you see it create in a short time great reputations and great fortunes, the elite of the nation takes up the career of arms; all the naturally enterprising, proud and warlike spirits produced not only by the aristocracy, but by the entire country, are drawn in this direction.

Since the number of competitors for military honors is immense, and since war pushes each man roughly into his place, great generals always end up being found. A long war brings about in a democratic army what a revolution brings about in the people itself. It breaks the rules and makes all the extraordinary men appear suddenly. The officers whose soul and Edition: current; Page: [1175] body have become old during the peace are pushed aside, retire or die. In their place presses a crowd of young men whom the war has already hardened and whose desires it has expanded and inflamed. The latter want to grow greater at any price and constantly; after them come others who have the same passions and the same desires; and after those, others still, without finding any limits except those of the army. Equality allows ambition to all, and death takes care of providing chances to all ambitions. Death constantly opens ranks, empties places, closes and opens careers.

There is, moreover, a hidden connection between military mores and democratic mores that war exposes.

Men of democracies naturally have the passionate desire to acquire quickly the goods that they covet and to enjoy them easily. Most of them adore chance and fear death much less than pain. In this spirit they conduct commerce and industry; and this same spirit, carried by them onto the fields of battle, leads them readily to risk their lives in order to assure, in one moment, the rewards of victory. No greatness is more satisfying to the imagination of a democratic people than military greatness, a brilliant and sudden greatness that is obtained without work, by risking only your life.

Thus, while interest and tastes move the citizens of a democracy away from war, the habits of their soul prepare them to wage war well; they easily become good soldiers as soon as you have been able to tear them away from their affairs and their well-being.

If peace is particularly harmful to democratic armies, war therefore assures them advantages that other armies never have; and these advantages, although not very noticeable at first, cannot fail, in the long run, to give them victory.e

An aristocratic people who, fighting against a democratic nation, does not succeed in destroying it immediately with the first military campaigns, always greatly risks being defeated by it.

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18. Portrait of Gustave de Beaumont, 1837 (with kind permission from the Beinecke Library, Yale University).

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19. A page from the working manuscript of Democracy (with kind permission from the Beinecke Library, Yale University).

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chapter 25a: Of Discipline in Democratic Armies

It is a very widespread opinion, above all among aristocratic peoples, that the great social equality that reigns within democracies makes the soldier independent of the officer in the long run and thus destroys the bond of discipline.

It is an error. There are, in fact, two types of discipline that must not be confused.

When the officer is the noble and the soldier the serf; the one the rich man, and the other the poor man; when the first is enlightened and strong, and the second ignorant and weak, it is easy to establish between these two men the closest bond of obedience. The soldier has yielded to military discipline before entering the army, so to speak, or rather military discipline is only a perfecting of social servitude. In aristocratic armies, the soldier ends up easily enough being as though indifferent to everything except to the order of his leaders. He acts without thinking, triumphs without ardor, and dies without complaining. In this state, he is no longer a man, but more a very fearsome animal trained for war.

Democratic peoples must give up hope of ever obtaining from their soldiers this blind, scrupulous, resigned and totally constant obedience that aristocratic peoples impose on their soldiers without difficulty. The state of society does not prepare their soldiers for it; democratic peoples risk losing their natural advantages by wanting to gain that obedience artificially. Edition: current; Page: [1177] Among democratic peoples, military discipline must not try to obliterate the free impulse of souls; it can only aspire to direct it; the obedience that it creates is less exact, but more impetuous and more intelligent. Its root is in the very will of the man who obeys; it rests not on his instinct alone, but on his reason; consequently discipline often grows tighter on its own as danger makes it more necessary. The discipline of an aristocratic army readily relaxes in war, because this discipline is based on habits, and because war disturbs these habits. The discipline of a democratic army, on the contrary, becomes firmer before the enemy, because each soldier then sees very clearly that to conquer he must remain silent and obey.

The peoples who have done the most considerable things by war have known no other discipline than the one I am talking about. Among the ancients, only free men and citizens, who differed little from each other and were accustomed to treating each other as equals, were received in the armies. In this sense, you can say that the armies of antiquity were democratic, although they came from the aristocracy; consequently in those armies a sort of fraternal familiarity reigned between the officer and the soldier. You will be convinced by reading Plutarch’s Lives of the Great Captains. The soldiers there speak constantly and very freely to their generals, and the latter listen willingly to the speeches of their soldiers and respond to them. It is by these words and these examples, much more than by compulsion and punishments that they lead them. You would say they were companions as much as leaders.

I do not know if Greek and Roman soldiers ever perfected to the same degree as the Russiansb the small details of military discipline; but that did not prevent Alexander from conquering Asia, and Rome, the world.

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chapter 26a: Some Considerations on War in Democratic Societies

[<War exercises such a prodigious influence on the fate of all peoples that you will pardon me, I hope, for not abandoning the subject that deals with it without trying to exhaust it.>]

When the principle of equality develops not only in one nation, but at the same time among several neighboring nations, as is seen today in Europe, the men who inhabit these various countries, despite the disparity of languages, customs and laws, are nevertheless similar on this point that they equally fear war and conceive the same love for peace.1 In vain does Edition: current; Page: [1179] ambition or anger arm princes; a sort of apathy and universal benevolence pacifies them in spite of themselves and makes them drop the sword from their hands. Wars become rarer.

As equality, developing at the same time in several countries, simultaneously pushes the men who inhabit them toward industry and commerce, not only are their tastes similar, but also their interests mingle and become entangled, so that no nation can inflict harm on others that does not come back on itself, and all end by considering war as a calamity almost as great for the victor as for the defeated.

Thus, on the one hand, it is very difficult in democratic centuries to bring peoples to fight with each other, but, on the other hand, it is almost impossible for two of them to make war in isolation. The interests of all are so intertwined, their opinions and their needs so similar, that no people can keep itself at rest when the others are agitated. So wars become rarer; but when they arise, they are on a field more vast.

Democratic peoples who are neighbors do not become similar only on a few points, as I have just said; they end by resembling each other in nearly everything.2

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Now this similitude of peoples has very important consequences concerning war.

When I ask myself why the Helvetic confederation of the XVth century made the largest and most powerful nations of Europe tremble, while today its power is in exact proportion to its population, I find that the Swiss have become similar to all the men who surround them, and those men to the Swiss; so that, since numbers alone make the difference between them, victory necessarily belongs to the biggest battalions. One of the results of the democratic revolution taking place in Europe is therefore to make the force of numbers prevail on every battlefield, and to compel all the small nations to become incorporated into the large ones, or at least to take part in the policy of the latter.c

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[≠This must necessarily make wars rarer and greater.

This resemblance that the citizens of different peoples have with each other has still many other consequences.≠]

Since the determining factor for victory is numbers, the result is that each people must with all its efforts strain to bring the most men possible onto the field of battle.

When you could enroll under the colors a type of troops superior to all the others, such as the Swiss infantry or the French cavalry of the XVIth century, you did not consider that you had the need to levy very large armies; but it is not so when all soldiers are equally valuable.

The same cause that gives birth to this new need also provides the means to satisfy it. For, as I said, when all men are similar, they are all weak. The social power is naturally much stronger among democratic peoples than anywhere else. So these peoples, at the same time that they feel the desire to call all the male population to arms, have the ability to assemble them there; this means that, in centuries of equality, armies seem to grow as the military spirit fades.d

In the same centuries, the manner of making war is also changed by the same causes.

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Machiavellie says in his book The Prince “that it is much more difficult to subjugate a people who have a prince and barons for leaders than a nation which is led by a prince and slaves.” Let us put, in order not to offend anyone, public officials in the place of slaves and we will have a great truth, very applicable to our subject.

It is very difficult for a great aristocratic people to conquer its neighbors and to be conquered by them. It cannot conquer them, because it can never gather all its forces and hold men together for a long time; and it can never be conquered, because the enemy finds everywhere small centers of resistance that stop it. I will compare war in an aristocratic country to war in a country of mountains; the defeated find at every instant the occasion to rally in new positions and to hold firm there.

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Precisely the opposite makes itself seen among democratic nations.

The latter easily bring all their available forces to the field of battle, and when the nation is rich and numerous, it easily becomes victorious; but once it has been defeated and its territory has been penetrated, few resources remain to it, and if it gets to the point of having its capital taken, the nation is lost. That is very easily explained; since each citizen is individually very isolated and very weak, no one can either defend himself or offer a point of support to others. In a democratic country only the State is strong; since the military strength of the State is destroyed by the destruction of its army and its civil power paralyzed by the taking of its capital, the rest forms nothing more than a multitude without rule and without strength that cannot struggle against the organized power that attacks it. I know that you can reduce the danger by creating liberties and, consequently, provincial entities, but this remedy will always be insufficient.

Not only will the population then no longer be able to continue the war, but it is to be feared that it will not want to try.

[≠The greatest difficulty that a democratic population finds is not to defend itself with weapons in hand, but to want to defend itself in such a way.≠]f

According to the law of nations adopted by civilized nations, wars do not have as a purpose to appropriate the goods of individuals, but only to seize political power. Private property is destroyed only accidentally and in order to attain the second objective.

When an aristocratic nation is invaded after the defeat of its army, the nobles, although they are at the same time the rich, prefer to continue to defend themselves individually rather than to submit; for if the conqueror remained master of the country, he would take away their political power to which they are even more attached than to their property; so they prefer combat to conquest, which is for them the greatest misfortune, and they easily carry the people with them, because the people have contracted the long custom of following and obeying them, and besides have almost nothing to risk in war.

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In a nation where equality of conditions reigns,g each citizen takes, on the contrary, only a small part in political power, and often takes no part at all; on the other hand, everyone is independent and has property to lose; so that there conquest is feared much less and war much more than among an aristocratic people. It will always be very difficult to cause a democratic population to take up arms when war is brought to its territory.h This is why it is necessary to give to these peoples rights and a political spirit that suggests to each person some of the interests that cause nobles to act in aristocracies.

It is very necessary that princes and other leaders of democratic nations remember: only the passion and the habit of liberty can, with advantage, combat the habit and the passion of well-being. I imagine nothing better prepared for conquest, in case of reverses, than a democratic people who does not have free institutions.

Formerly you began military campaigns with few soldiers; you fought small battles and conducted long sieges. Now you fight great battles, and as soon as you can march freely ahead, you race toward the capital in order to end the war with one blow.

Napoleon, it is said, invented this new system. It did not depend on one man, whoever he was, to create such a system. The manner in which Napoleon made war was suggested to him by the state of society of his time, and it succeeded for him because it was marvelously suited to this state and because he put it to use for the first time. Napoleon is the first to have traveled at the head of an army the path to all the capitals. But it is the ruin of feudalj society that had opened this road to him. It is to be believed that, if this extraordinary man had been born three centuries ago, he would not have gathered the same fruits from his method, or rather he would have had another method.

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I will add only one more word about civil wars, for I am afraid of tiring the patience of the reader.

Most of the things I have said concerning foreign wars apply with stronger reason to civil wars [<and it is there above all that the strength of the State and the weakness of individuals are revealed>]. Men who live in democratic countries do not naturally have the military spirit; they sometimes take it on when they are dragged, despite themselves, onto the fields of battle. But to rise up by himself, in a body, and to expose himself willingly to the miseries that war and above all civil war bring, is a choice that the man of democracies does not make. Only the most adventurous citizens agree to throw themselves into such a risk; the mass of the population remains immobile.

Even when the mass of the population would like to act, it does not easily succeed in doing so; for it does not find within it ancient and well-established influences to which it wishes to submit, no already known leaders to gather the malcontents, to regulate and to lead them; no political powers placed below the national power, which effectively come to support the resistance put up against the nation’s power.

In democratic countries, the moral power of the majority is immense, and the material forces at its disposal are out of proportion with those that, at first, it is possible to unite against it. The party in the majority’s seat, which speaks in its name and uses its power, triumphs therefore, in one moment and without difficulty, over all particular resistances. It does not even allow them the time to be born; it crushes them in germ.

So those who, among these peoples, want to make a revolution by arms, have no other resources than to seize unexpectedly the already functioning machine of the government, which can be carried out by a surprise attack rather than by a war; for from the moment when a war is official, the party which represents the State is almost always sure to win.

The only case in which a civil war could arise would be the one in which, the army being divided, one portion raised the banner of revolt and the other remained faithful. An army forms a very tightly bound and very hardy small society which is able to be self-sufficient for a while. The war could be bloody, but it would not be long; for either the army in revolt would draw the government to its side just by showing its strength or by its first Edition: current; Page: [1186] victory, and the war would be over; or the battle would begin, and the portion of the army not supported by the organized power of the State would soon disperse on its own or be destroyed.

So you can accept, as a general truth, that in the centuries of equality, civil wars will become much rarer and shorter.3

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Fourth Parta ]
Of the Influence That Democratic Ideas and Sentiments Exercise on Political Societyb

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Je remplirais mal l’objet de ce livre si, après avoir montré les idées et les sentiments que l’égalité suggère, je ne faisais voir, en terminant, quelle est l’influence générale que ces mêmes sentiments et ces mêmes idées peuvent exercer sur le gouvernement des sociétés humaines.

Pour y réussir, je serai obligé de revenir souvent sur mes pas. Mais j’espère que le lecteur ne refusera pas de me suivre, lorsque des chemins qui lui sont connus le conduiront vers quelque vérité nouvelle.

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After having shown the ideas and the sentiments suggested by equality, I would badly fulfill the purpose of this book if, while concluding, I did not show what general influence these same sentiments and these same ideas can exercise on the government of human societies.

To succeed in doing that, I will often be obliged to retrace my steps. But I hope that the reader will not refuse to follow me when roads that he knows lead him toward some new truth.

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chapter 1: Equality Naturally Gives Men the Taste for Free Institutions

Equality, which makes men independent of each other, makes them contract the habit and the taste to follow only their will in their personal actions. This complete independence, which they enjoy continually vis-à-vis their equals and in the practice of private life, disposes them to consider all authority with a discontented eye, and soon suggests to them the idea and the love of political liberty. So men who live in these times march on a natural slope that leads them toward free institutions. Take one of them at random; go back, if possible, to his primitive instincts; you will discover that, among the different governments, the one that he conceives first and that he prizes most, is the government whose leader he has elected and whose actions he controls.a

Of all the political effects that equality of conditions produces, it is this love of independence that first strikes our attention and that timid spirits fear even more; and we cannot say that they are absolutely wrong to be afraid, for anarchy has more frightening features in democratic countries than elsewhere.b Since citizens have no effect on each other, at the instant Edition: current; Page: [1192] when the national power that keeps them all in their place becomes absent, it seems that disorder must immediately be at its height and that, with each citizen on his own, the social body is suddenly going to find itself reduced to dust.

I am convinced nevertheless that anarchy is not the principal evil that democratic centuries must fear, but the least.

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Equality produces, in fact, two tendencies: one leads men directly to independence and can push them suddenly as far as anarchy; the other leads them by a longer, more secret, but surer road toward servitude.

Peoples easily see the first and resist it; they allow themselves to be carried along by the other without seeing it; it is particularly important to show it.

As for me,c far from reproaching equality for the unruliness that it inspires, I praise it principally for that. I admire equality when I see it deposit deep within the mind and heart of each man this obscure notion of and this instinctive propensity for political independence. In this way equality prepares the remedy for the evil to which it gives birth. It is from this side that I am attached to it.

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chapter 2a: That the Ideas of Democratic Peoples in Matters of Government Naturally Favor the Concentration of Powersb

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[The principal notions that men form in the matter of government are not entirely arbitrary. They are born in each period out of the social state, and the mind receives them rather than creating them.]c

The idea of secondary powers, placed between the sovereign and the subjects, presented itself naturally to the imagination of aristocratic peoples, because these powers included within them individuals or familiesthat birth, enlightenment, wealth kept unrivaled and that seemed destined to command. This same idea is naturally absent from the minds of men in centuries of equality because of opposite reasons; you can only introduce it to their minds artificially, and you can only maintain it there with difficulty; while without thinking about it, so to speak, they conceive the idea of a unique and central power that by itself leads all citizens.

In politics, moreover, as in philosophy and in religion, the minds of democratic peoples receive simple and general ideas with delight. They are repulsed by complicated systems, and they are pleased to imagine a great nation all of whose citizens resemble a single model and are directed by a single power.

After the idea of a unique and central power, the one that presents itself most spontaneously to the minds of men in centuries of equality is the idea of a uniform legislation. As each one of them sees himself as little different from his neighbors, he understands poorly why the rule that is applicable to one man would not be equally applicable to all the others. The least privileges are therefore repugnant to his reason. The slightest dissimilarities in the political institutions of the same people wound him, and legislative uniformity seems to him to be the first condition of good government.

I find, on the contrary, that the same notion of a uniform rule, imposed equally on all the members of the social body, is as if foreign to the human mind in aristocratic centuries. It does not accept it, or it rejects it.

These opposite tendencies of the mind end up, on both sides, by becoming such blind instincts and such invincible habits, that they still direct actions, in spite of particular facts. Sometimes, despite the immense variety Edition: current; Page: [1196] of the Middle Ages, perfectly similar individuals were found; this did not prevent the legislator from assigning to each one of them diverse duties and different rights. And, on the contrary, in our times, governments wear themselves out in order to impose the same customs and the same laws on populations that are not yet similar.

As conditions become equal among a people, individuals appear smaller and society seems larger; or rather, each citizen, having become similar to all the others, is lost in the crowd, and you no longer notice anything except the vast and magnificent image of the people itself.d

This naturally gives men of democratic times a very high opinion of the privileges of the society and a very humble idea of the rights of the individual.e They easily agree that the interest of the one is everything and that the interest of the other is nothing. They grant readily enough that the power that represents the society possesses much more enlightenment and wisdom than any one of the men who compose it, and that its duty, as well as its right, is to take each citizen by the hand and to lead him.f

If you really want to examine our contemporaries closely, and to penetrate to the root of their political opinions, you will find a few of the ideas that I have just reproduced, and you will perhaps be astonished to find so much agreement among men who are so often at war with each other.

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The Americans believe that, in each state,TN8 social power must emanate directly from the people; but once this power is constituted, they imagine, so to speak, no limits for it; they readily recognize that it has the right to do everything.

As for the particular privileges granted to cities, to families or to individuals, they have lost even the idea. Their minds have never foreseen that the same law could not be applied uniformly to all the parts of the same state and to all the men who inhabit it.

[≠In Europe we reject the dogma of sovereignty of the people that the Americans accept; we give power another origin.≠]g

These same opinions are spreading more and more in Europe; they are being introduced within the very heart of nations that most violently reject the dogma of sovereignty of the people. These nations give power a different origin than the Americans; but they envisage power with the same features. Among all nations, the notion of intermediary power is growing dim and fading.h The idea of a right inherent in certain individuals is disappearing rapidly from the minds of men; the idea of the all-powerful and so to speak unique right of society is coming to take its place. These ideas take root and grow as conditions become more equal and men more similar; equality gives birth to them and they in their turn hasten the progress of equality.j

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In France, where the revolution I am speaking about is more advanced than in any other people of Europe, these same opinions have entirely taken hold of the mind. When you listen attentively to the voices of our different parties, you will see that there is not one of them that does not adopt them. Most consider that the government acts badly; but all think that the government must act constantly and put its hand to everything. Even those who wage war most harshly against each other do not fail to agree on this point. The unity, ubiquity, omnipotence of the social power, the uniformity of its rules, form the salient feature that characterizes all the political systems born in our times. You find them at the bottom of the most bizarre utopias.k The human mind still pursues these images when it dreams.

If such ideas present themselves spontaneously to the mind of individuals, they occur even more readily to the imagination of princes.

While the old social state of Europe deteriorates and dissolves, sovereigns develop new beliefs about their abilities and their duties; they understand for the first time that the central power that they represent can and must, by itself and on a uniform plan, administer all matters and all men. This opinion, which, I dare say, had never been conceived before our time by the kings of Europe, penetrates the mind of these princes to the deepest Edition: current; Page: [1199] level; it remains firm there amid the agitation of all the other opinions.m [A few perceive it very clearly, everyone glimpses it.]n

So the men of today are much less divided than you imagine; they argue constantly in order to know into which hands sovereignty will be placed; but they agree easily about the duties and about the rights of sovereignty. All conceive the government in the image of a unique, simple, providential and creative power.

All the secondary ideas in political matters are in motion; that one remains fixed, inalterable; it never changes.o Writers and statesmen adopt it; the crowd seizes it avidly; the governed and those who govern agree about pursuing it with the same ardor; it comes first; it seems innate.

So it does not come from a caprice of the human mind, but it is a natural condition of the present state of men.

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chapter 3: That the Sentiments of Democratic Peoples Are in Agreement with Their Ideas for Bringing Them to Concentrate Powera

If, in centuries of equality, men easily perceive the idea of a great central power, you cannot doubt, on the other hand, that their habits and their sentiments dispose them to recognize such a power and to lend it support.b Edition: current; Page: [1201] The demonstration of this can be done in a few words, since most of the reasons have already been given elsewhere.

Men who inhabit democratic countries, having neither superiors, nor inferiors, nor habitual and necessary associates, readily fall back on themselves and consider themselves in isolation. I have had the occasion to show it at great length when the matter was individualism.

So these men never, except with effort, tear themselves away from their particular affairs in order to occupy themselves with common affairs; their natural inclination is to abandon the care of these affairs to the sole visible and permanent representative of collective interests, which is the State.

Not only do they not naturally have the taste for occupying themselves with public matters, but also they often lack time to do so. Private life is so active in democratic times, so agitated, so full of desires, of work, that hardly any energy or leisure is left to any man for political life.

It is not I who will deny that such inclinations are not invincible, since my principal goal in writing this book has been to combat them. I maintain only that, today, a secret force develops them constantly in the human heart, and that it is enough not to stop them for those inclinations to fill it up.

I have equally had the occasion to show how the growing love of well-being and the mobile nature of property made democratic peoples fear material disorder. The love of public tranquillity is often the only political passion that these peoples retain, and it becomes more active and more powerful among them, as all the others collapse and die; that naturally disposes citizens to give new rights constantly to or to allow new rights to be taken by the central power, which alone seems to them to have the interest and the means to defend them from anarchy while defending itself.c

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[<For they do not see around them either individual or corps that is by itself strong enough and lasting enough to defend itself and to defend them.>]

Since, in centuries of equality, no one is obliged to lend his strength to his fellow, and no one has the right to expect great support from his fellow, each man is independent and weak at the very same time. These two states, which must not be either envisaged separately or confused, give the citizen of democracies very contradictory instincts. His independence fills him with confidence and pride among his equals, and his debility makes him, from time to time, feel the need for outside help which he cannot expect from any of his equals, since they are all powerless and cold. In this extreme case, he turns his eyes naturally toward this immense being that alone rises up amidst the universal decline. His needs and, above all, his desires lead him constantly toward this being, and he ends by envisaging it as the sole and necessary support for individual weakness.1

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This finally makes understandable what often occurs among democratic peoples, where you see men, who endure superiors with such difficulty, patiently suffer a master, and appear proud and servile at the very same time.

The hatred that men bring to privilege increases as privileges become rarer and smaller, so that you would say that democratic passions become more inflamed at the very time when they find the least sustenance.d I have already given the reason for this phenomenon. No inequality, however great, offends the eye when all conditions are unequal; while the smallest dissimilarity seems shocking amid general uniformity; the sight of it becomes more unbearable as uniformity is more complete. So it is natural that love of equality grows constantly with equality itself; by satisfying it, you develop it.

This immortal and more and more burning hatred, which animates democratic peoples against the least privileges, singularly favors the gradual concentration of all political rights in the hands of the sole representative of the State. The sovereign, necessarily and without dispute above all citizens, Edition: current; Page: [1204] does not excite the envy of any one of them, and each one believes that all the prerogatives that he concedes to the sovereign are taken away from his equals.

[<In centuries of equality, each man, living independent of all of his fellows, becomes accustomed to directing his private affairs without constraint. When these same men are united in common, they naturally conceive the idea of and the taste for administering themselves by themselves. So equality leads men toward administrative decentralization, but creates at the same time powerful instincts which turn them away from it.>]e

The man of democratic centuries obeys only with an extreme repugnance his neighbor who is his equal; he refuses to acknowledge in him an enlightenment superior to his own; he mistrusts his neighbor’s justice and regards his power with jealousy; he fears and despises him; he loves to make him feel at every instant the common dependence that they both have on the same master.

Every central power that follows these natural instincts loves equality and favors it; for equality [(of conditions)] singularly facilitates the action of such a power, extends it and assures it.

You can say equally that every central government adores [legislative] uniformity; uniformityf spares it from the examination of an infinity of details with which it would have to be concerned, if the rule had to be made for men, rather than making all men indiscriminately come under the same rule. Thus, the government loves what the citizens love, and it naturally hates what they hate. This community of sentiments, which, among democratic nations, continually unites in the same thought each individual and the sovereign power, establishes between them a secret and permanent sympathy. Edition: current; Page: [1205] You pardon the government its faults in favor of its tastes; public confidence abandons the government only with difficulty amid its excesses and its errors, and returns as soon as it is called back. Democratic peoples often hate the agents of the central power; but they always love this power itself. [<Because they consider it as the most powerful instrument that they could use as needed to help them make everyone who escapes from the common rule come back to it.>

I said that in times of equality the idea of intermediary powers set between simple individuals and the government did not naturally present itself to the human mind. I add that men who live in these centuries envisage such powers only with distrust and submit to them only with difficulty.]

Thus, I have come by two different roads to the same end. I have shown that equality suggested to men the thought of a unique, uniform and strong government. I have just shown that it gives them the taste for it; so today nations are tending toward a government of this type. The natural inclination of their mind and heart leads them to it, and it is enough for them not to hold themselves back in order to reach it.

I think that, in the democratic centuries that are going to open up, individual independence and local liberties will always be a product of art. Centralization will be the natural government.

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chapter 4a: Of Some Particular and Accidental Causes That End up Leading a Democratic People to Centralize Power or That Turn Them Away from Doing Sob

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If all democratic peoples are carried instinctively toward centralization of powers, they are led there in an unequal manner. It depends on particular circumstances that can develop or limit the natural effects of the social state. These circumstances are in very great number; I will only speak about a few.

Among men who have lived free for a long time before becoming equal, the instincts that liberty gave combat, up to a certain point, the tendencies suggested by equality; and although among those men the central power increases its privileges, the individuals there never entirely lose their independence.

But when equality happens to develop among a people who have never known or who, for a long time, have no longer known liberty, as is seen on the continent of Europe, and when the old habits of the nation come to combine suddenly and by a sort of natural attraction with the new habits and doctrines that arise from the social state, all powers seem to rush by themselves toward the center; they accumulate there with a surprising rapidity, and the State all at once attains the extreme limits of its strength, while the individuals allow themselves to fall in a moment to the lowest degree of weakness.

The English who came, three centuries ago, to establish a democratic society in the wilderness of the New World were all accustomed in the mother country to take part in public affairs; they knew the jury; they had freedom of speech and freedom of the press, individual liberty, [added: independent courts], the idea of right and the custom of resorting to it. They carried these Edition: current; Page: [1209] free institutions and these manly mores to America, and these institutions and mores sustained them against the invasions of the State.

Among the Americans, it is therefore liberty that is old; equality is comparatively new. The opposite happens in Europe where equality, introduced by absolute power and under the eyes of the kings, had already penetrated the habits of the people long before liberty entered their ideas.

I have said that, among democratic peoples, government naturally presented itself to the human mind only under the form of a unique and central power, and that the notion of intermediary powers was not familiar to it. That is particularly applicable to democratic nations that have seen the principle of equality triumph with the aid of a violent revolution. Since the classes that directed local affairs [<served as intermediary between the sovereign and the people>] disappear suddenly in this tempest, and the confused mass that remains still has neither the organization nor the habits that allow it to take in hand the administration of these same affairs, you see nothing except the State itself which can take charge of all the details of government. Centralization becomes in a way a necessary fact.c

Napoleon [{the national Convention}]d must be neither praised nor Edition: current; Page: [1210] blamed for having concentrated in his hands alone all administrative powers; for, after the abrupt disappearance of the nobility and of the upper bourgeoisie, these powers came to him by themselves; it would have been as difficult for him to reject them as to take them. [<He must be reproached for the tyrannical use that he often made of his power, rather than for his power.>]e Such a necessity has never been felt by the Americans, who, not having had a revolution and being from the beginning governed by themselves, have never had to charge the State with temporarily serving them as tutor.f

Thus, among a democratic people, centralization develops not only according to the progress of equality, but also according to the manner in which this equality is established.g

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[When conditions have become equal among a nation only following a long and difficult social effort, the sentiments that led to the democratic revolution and those given birth by it subsist for a long time after the revolution. The memory of privileges is joined with the privileges themselves. The trace of former ranks is perpetuated. The people still see the destroyed remnants with hatred and envy, and the nobles envisage the people with terror. You find former adversaries around you on both sides, and you outdo each other throwing yourselves into the arms of the government for fear of falling under the oppression of your neighbors.

This is how the political tendencies that equality imparts are that much stronger among a people as conditions have been more unequal and as equality has had more difficulty becoming established.

The Americans arrived equal on the soil that they occupy. They never had privileges of birth or fortune to destroy. They naturally feel no hatred of some against others. So they subject themselves readily to the administration of those close at hand, because they neither hate nor fear them.]h

At the beginning of a great democratic revolution, and when the war between the different classes has only begun, the people try hard to centralize public administration in the hands of the government, in order to tear the direction of local affairs away from the aristocracy. Toward the end of this same revolution, on the contrary, it is ordinarily the vanquished aristocracy which attempts to deliver to the State the direction of all [{local}] affairs, because it fears the petty tyranny of the people, who have become its equal and often its master.

Thus, it is not always the same class of citizens that applies itself to increasing the prerogatives of power; but as long as the democratic revolution lasts, a class, powerful by numbers or by wealth, is always found in the nation that is led to centralize the public administration by special passions and particular interests, apart from hatred of the government of the neighbor, which is a general and permanent sentiment among democratic peoples. You can see today that it is the lower classes of England that work Edition: current; Page: [1212] with all their strength to destroy local independence and to carry the administration of all points from the circumference to the center, while the upper classes try hard to keep this same administration within its ancient limits. I dare to predict that a day will come when you will see an entirely opposite spectacle.j

What precedes makes it well understood why, among a democratic people who has arrived at equality by a long and difficult social effort, the social power must always be stronger and the individual weaker than in a democratic society where, from the beginning, citizens have always been equal. This is what the example of the Americans finally proves.

The men who inhabit the United States have never been separated by any privilege; they have never known the reciprocal relation of inferior and master, and since they do not fear and do not hate one another, they have never known the need to call upon the sovereign to direct the details of their affairs.k The destiny of the Americans is singular; they took from the aristocracy of England the idea of individual rights and the taste for local liberties; and they were able to preserve both, because they did not have to combat aristocracy.

If in all times enlightenment is useful to men for defending their independence, Edition: current; Page: [1213] that is above all true in democratic centuries. It is easy, when all men are similar, to establish a unique and omnipotent government; instincts are sufficient. But men need a great deal of intelligence, science and art, in order to organize and to maintain, in the same circumstances, secondary powers, and in order to create, amid the independence and individual weakness of citizens, free associations able to struggle against tyranny without destroying order [{and in order to replace the individual power of a few families with free associations of citizens}].

So concentration of powers and individual servitude will grow, among democratic nations, not only in proportion to equality, but also by reason of ignorance.m

It is true that, in centuries less advanced in knowledge, the government often lacks the enlightenment to perfect despotism, as the citizens lack the enlightenment to escape it. But the effect is not equal on the two sides.

However uncivilized a democratic people may be, the central power that directs it is never completely without enlightenment, because it easily attracts what little enlightenment there is in the country, and because, as needed, it goes outside to seek it. So among a nation that is ignorant as well as democratic, a prodigious difference between the intellectual capacity of the sovereign power and that of each one of its subjects cannot fail to manifest itself. The former ends by easily concentrating all powers in its hands. Edition: current; Page: [1214] The administrative power of the State expands constantly, because only the State is skillful enough to administer.n

Aristocratic nations, however little enlightened you suppose them, never present the same spectacle, because enlightenment there is distributed equally between the prince and the principal citizens.

The Pasha who reigns today over Egypt found the population of the country composed of very ignorant and very equal men, and to govern it he appropriated the science and the intelligence of Europe. The particular enlightenment of the sovereign thus coming to combine with the ignorance Edition: current; Page: [1215] and the democratic weakness of his subjects, the farthest limit of centralization has been attained without difficulty, and the prince has been able to make the country into his factory and the inhabitants into his workers.o

I believe that the extreme centralization of political power ends by enervating society and thus by weakening the government itself in the long run. But I do not deny that a centralized social force is able to execute easily, in a given time and at a determined point, great enterprises.p That is above all true in war, when success depends much more on the ease that you find in bringing all your resources rapidly to a certain point, than even on the extent of those resources. So it is principally in war that peoples feel the desire and often the need to increase the prerogatives of the central power. All warrior geniuses love centralization, which increases their forces, and all centralizing geniuses love war, which obliges nations to draw all powers into the hands of the State. Thus, the democratic tendency which leads Edition: current; Page: [1216] men constantly to multiply the privileges of the State and to limit the rights of individuals is much more rapid and more continuous among democratic peoples who are subject by their position to great and frequent wars, and whose existence can often be put in danger, than among all others.

I have said how the fear of disorder and the love of well-being imperceptibly led democratic peoples to augment the attributions of the central government, the sole power that seems to them by itself strong enough, intelligent enough, stable enough to protect them against anarchy. I hardly need to add that all the particular circumstances that tend to make the state of a democratic society disturbed and precarious increase this general instinct and lead individuals, more and more, to sacrifice their rights to their tranquillity.

So a people is never so disposed to increase the attributions of the central power than when emerging from a long and bloody revolution that, after tearing property from the hands of its former owners, has shaken all beliefs, filled the nation with furious hatreds, opposing interests and conflicting factions. The taste for public tranquillity then becomes a blind passion, and citizens are subject to becoming enamored with a very disordered love of order.

I have just examined several accidents, all of which contribute to aiding the centralization of power. I have not yet spoken about the principal one.

The first of all the accidental causes which, among democratic peoples, can draw the direction of all affairs into the hands of the sovereign is the origin of the sovereign himself and his inclinations.

Men who live in centuries of equality love the central power naturallyq and willingly expand its privileges; but if it happens that this same Edition: current; Page: [1217] power faithfully represents their interests and exactly reproduces their instincts, the confidence that they have in it has hardly any limits, and they believe that they are granting to themselves all that they are giving away.r

Drawing administrative powers toward the center will always be less easys and less rapid with kings who are still attached at some point to the old aristocratic order than with new princes, self-made men, who seem to be tied indissolubly to the cause of equality by birth, prejudices, instincts and habits. I do not want to say that the princes of aristocratic origin who live in the centuries of democracy do not seek to centralize. I believe that they apply themselves to that as diligently as all the others. For them, the only advantages of equality are in this direction; but their opportunities are fewer, because the citizens, instead of naturally anticipating their desires, often lend themselves to those desires only with difficulty. In democratic societies, centralization will always be that much greater as the sovereign is less aristocratic: there is the rule.

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[I do not believe in the hereditary and imprescriptible rights of princes, and I know how difficult it is to maintain the old families of kings in the midst of new ideas. Ancient dynasties have some particular advantages in centuries of equality, however, that I want to acknowledge.]t

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When an old race of kings directs an aristocracy, since the natural prejudices of the sovereign are in perfect accord with the natural prejudices of the nobles, the vices inherent in aristocratic societies develop freely and find no remedy. The opposite happens when the offshoot of a feudal branch is placed at the head of a democratic people. The prince is inclined each day by his education, his habits and his memories, toward sentiments that inequality of conditions suggests; and the people tend constantly, by its social state, toward the mores to which equality gives birth. So it often happens that the citizens seek to contain the central power, much less as tyrannical than as aristocratic; and that they firmly maintain their independence, not only because they want to be free, but above all because they intend to remain equal. [It is in this sense that you can say that old dynasties lead aristocratic peoples to despotism and democratic nations to liberty.

<It is difficult for such a struggle to last for long without leading to a revolution, but as long as it lasts, you cannot deny that it powerfully serves the political education of the democracy.>]

A revolution that overturns an old family of kings, in order to place new men at the head of a democratic people, can temporarily weaken the central power; but however anarchic it seems at first, you must not hesitate to predict that its final and necessary result will be to expand and to assure the prerogatives of this very power.

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The first, and in a way the only necessary condition for arriving at centralization of the public power in a democratic society is to love equality or make people believe that you do. Thus, the science of despotism, formerly so complicated, is simplified; it is reduced, so to speak, to a unique principle.u

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chapter 5: That among the European Nations of Today the Sovereign Power Increases Although Sovereigns Are Less Stablea

If you come to reflect on what precedes, you will be surprised and frightened to see how, in Europe, everything seems to contribute to increasing indefinitely the prerogatives of the central power and each day to make individual existence weaker, more subordinate and more precarious.

The democratic nations of Europe have all the general and permanent tendencies that lead the Americans toward centralization of powers, and moreover they are subject to a multitude of secondary and accidental causes that the Americans do not know. You would say that each step that they take toward equality brings them closer to despotism.

It is enough to look around us and at ourselves to be convinced of it.

During the aristocratic centuries that preceded ours, the sovereigns of Europe had been deprived of or had let go of several of the rights inherent in their power. Not yet one hundred years ago, among most European nations, almost independent individuals or bodies were found that administered justice, called up and maintained soldiers, collected taxes, and often even made or explained the law. Everywhere the State has, for itself alone, taken back these natural attributions of sovereign power; in everything that relates to government, it no longer puts up with an intermediary between it and the citizens, and it directs the citizens by itself in general affairs. I Edition: current; Page: [1222] am very farb from censuring this concentration of power; I am limiting myself to showing it.

In the same period, a great number of secondary powers existed in Europe that represented local interests and administered local affairs. Most of these local authorities have already disappeared; all are tending rapidly to disappear or to fall into the most complete dependency. From one end of Europe to the other, the privileges of lords, the liberties of cities, the provincial administrations are destroyed or are going to be.

Europe has experienced, for a half-century, many revolutions and counter-revolutions that have moved it in opposite directions.c But all these movements are similar on one point: all have shaken or destroyed secondary powers. Local privileges that the French nation had not abolished in countries conquered by it have finally succumbed under the efforts of the princes who defeated France. These princes rejected all the novelties that the [French] Revolution had created among them, except centralization. It is the only thing that they have agreed to keep from it.

What I want to note is that all these diverse rights that in our time have been successively taken away from classes, corporations, men, have not served to raise new secondary powers on a more democratic foundation, but have been concentrated on all sides in the hands of the sovereign. Everywhere the State arrives more and more at directing by itself the least citizens and at alone leading each one of them in the least affairs.1

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Nearly all the charitable establishments of old Europe were in the hands of individuals or of corporations; they have all more or less fallen into dependence on the sovereign, and in several countries they are governed by the sovereign. It is the State that has undertaken almost alone to give bread to those who are hungry, relief and a refuge to the sick, work to those without it; it has made itself the almost unique repairer of all miseries.

Education, as well as charity, has become a national affair among most of the peoples of today. The State receives and often takes the child from the arms of its mother in order to entrust it to its agents; it is the State that takes charge of inspiring sentiments in each generation and providing each generation with ideas. Uniformity reigns in studies as in all the rest; there diversity, like liberty, disappears each day.

Nor am I afraid to advance that, among nearly all the Christian nations of today, Catholic as well as Protestant, religion is threatened with falling into the hands of the government.e It is not that sovereigns show themselves very eager to fix dogma themselves;f but more and more they are taking hold of the will of the one who explains dogma; they take away from the cleric his property, assign him a salary, deflect and use for their sole profit the influence that the priest possesses; they make him one of their officials Edition: current; Page: [1224] and often one of their servants, and with him they penetrate to the deepest recesses of the soul of each man.2

But that is still only one side of the picture.

Not only has the power of the sovereign expanded, as we have just seen, into the entire sphere of old powers; this is no longer enough to satisfy it; it overflows that sphere on all sides and spreads over the domain that until now has been reserved to individual independence. A multitude of actions which formerly escaped entirely from the control of society has been subjected to it today, and their number increases constantly.g

Among aristocratic peoples, the social power usually limited itself to directing and to overseeing citizens in everything that had a direct and visible connection to the national interest; it willingly abandoned them to their free will in everything else. Among these peoples, the government seemed often to forget that there is a point at which the failings and the miseries Edition: current; Page: [1225] of individuals compromise universal well-being, and that sometimes preventing the ruin of an individual must be a public matter.

Democratic nations of our time lean toward an opposite extreme.

It is clear that most of our princes do not want only to direct the whole people; you would say that they consider themselves responsible for the actions and for the individual destiny of their subjects,h that they have undertaken Edition: current; Page: [1226] to lead and to enlighten each one of them in the different acts of his life, and as needed, to make him happy despite himself.j

On their side, individuals more and more envisage the social power in the same way; they call it to their aid in all their needs, and at every moment they set their sight on it as on a tutor or on a guide.

I assert that there is no country in Europe in which the public administration has not become not only more centralized, but also more inquisitorial and more detailed; everywhere it penetrates more than formerly into private affairs; it regulates in its own way more actions and smaller actions, and every day it establishes itself more and more beside, around and above each individual in order to assist him, advise him and constrain him.k

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Formerly, the sovereign lived from the revenue of his lands or from tax income. It is no longer the same today now that his needs have grown with his power. In the same circumstances in which formerly a prince established a new tax, today we resort to a loan. Little by little the State thus becomes the debtor of most of the rich, and it centralizes in its hands the largest capital.m

It attracts the smallest capital in another way.

As men mingle and conditions become equal, the poor man has more resources, enlightenment and desires. He conceives the idea of bettering his lot, and he seeks to succeed in doing so by savings. So savings give birth each day to an infinite number of small accumulations of capital, slow and successive fruits of work; they increase constantly. But the greatest number would remain unproductive if they stayed scattered. That has given birth to a new philanthropic institution which will soon become, if I am not mistaken, one of our greatest political institutions. Charitable men conceived the thought of gathering the savings of the poor and utilizing the Edition: current; Page: [1228] earnings. In some countries, these benevolent associations have remained entirely distinct from the State; but in almost all they tend visibly to merge with it, and there are even a few in which the government has replaced them and undertaken the immense task of centralizing the daily savings of several million workers in a single place and of turning those savings to good account by its hands alone.

Thus, the State draws to itself the money of the rich by borrowing, and by savings banks it disposes as it wills of the pennies of the poor. The wealth of the country rushes constantly toward it and into its hand; wealth accumulates there all the more as equality of conditions becomes greater [{the country is more democratic}]; for among a democratic nation, only the State inspires confidence with individuals, because only it alone seems to them to have some strength and some duration.3

Thus, the sovereign power does not limit itself to directing public fortune; it also gets into private fortunes;n it is the leader of each citizen and often his master, and moreover, it becomes his steward and his cashier.

Not only does the central power alone fill the entire sphere of old powers, expand and go beyond it, but it moves there with more agility, strength and independence than it ever did formerly.

All the governments of Europe have in our time prodigiously perfected administrative science;o they do more things, and they do each thing with Edition: current; Page: [1229] more order, rapidity and with less expense; they seem to enrich themselves constantly with all the enlightenment which they have taken from individuals. Each day the princes of Europe hold their delegated agents in a more narrow dependence, and they invent new methods to direct them more closely and to oversee them with less difficulty. It is not enough for them to conduct all affairs by their agents; they undertake to direct the conduct of their agents in all their affairs; so that the public administration depends not only on the same power, it draws itself more and more into the same place and becomes concentrated in fewer hands. The government centralizes its actions at the same time that it increases its prerogatives: double cause of strength.

When you examine the constitution that the judicial power formerly had among most of the nations of Europe, two things are striking: the independence of this power and the extent of its attributions.

Not only did the courts of justice decide nearly all the quarrels among individuals; in a great number of cases, they served as arbiters between each individual and the State.

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I do not want to speak here about the administrative and political attributions that the courts had usurped in some countries, but about the judicial attributions that they possessed in all. Among all the peoples of Europe, there were and there still are many individual rights, most related to the general right of property, which were placed under the safeguard of the judge and which the State could not violate without the permission of the former.

It is this semi-political power which principally distinguished the courts of Europe from all the others; for all peoples have had judges, but all have not given judges the same privileges.

If we now examine what is happening among the democratic nations of Europe which are called free, as well as among the others, we see that on all sides, alongside these courts, other more dependent ones are being created, whose particular purpose is to decide in exceptional instances the litigious questions that can arise between the public administration and the citizens. The old judicial power is left with its independence, but its jurisdiction is narrowed, and more and more the tendency is to make it only an arbiter between particular interests.p

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The number of these special courts increases constantly, and their attributions grow. So the government escapes more every day from the obligation to have its will and its rights sanctioned by another power. Not able to do without judges, it wants, at least, to choose its judges itself and to hold them always in its hand; that is to say, between it and individuals, it places still more the image of justice rather than justice itself.q

Thus, it is not enough for the State to draw all affairs to itself; it also ends more and more by deciding all of these by itself without control and without recourse.4

There is among the modern nations of Europe one great cause that, apart from all those that I have just pointed out, contributes constantly to expand the action of the sovereign power or to augment its prerogatives; we have not taken enough notice of it. This cause is the development of industry, which the progress of equality favors.r

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[<The goods created by industry are rightly regarded by all enlightened nations as particularly appropriate to be taxed. Thus, as industry develops, you see new taxes arise, and these taxes are in general more complicated, more difficult and more exacting to collect than all the others.s

It must be remarked on the other hand that . . .>]t

Industry usually gathers a multitude of men in the same place; it establishes new and complicated relationships among them. It exposes them to great and sudden shifts between abundance and poverty, during which public tranquillity is threatened. It can happen finally that these works compromise the health and even the lives of those who profit from them or of those who devote themselves to them. Thus, the industrial class has more need to be regulated, supervised and restrained than all the other classes, and it is natural that the attributions of the government grow with it.

This truth is generally applicable; but here is what relates more particularly to the nations of Europe.

In the centuries that have preceded those in which we live, the aristocracy possessed the land and was able to defend it. So landed property was surrounded by guarantees, and its owners enjoyed a great independence. That created laws and habits that have been perpetuated despite the division of lands and the ruin of the nobles; and today the landowners and farmers are still, of all citizens, those who escape most easily from the control of the social power.

In these same aristocratic centuries, where all the sources of our history are found, personal property had little importance and its owners were despised and weak; the industrialists formed an exceptional class in the middle of the aristocratic world. Since they did not have assured patronage, they were not protected, and often they were not able to protect themselves.u

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So it became a habit to consider industrial property as a property of a particular nature, which did not merit the same guarantees as property in general, and to consider the industrialists as a small, separate class in the social order, whose independence had little value, and as a class that it was fitting to abandon to the regulatory passion of princes. If, in fact, you open the codes of the Middle Ages, you are astonished to see how, in these centuries of individual independence, industry was constantly regulated by kings, up to the smallest details; on this point, centralization is as active and as detailed as it could be.

Since this time, a great revolution has taken place in the world; industrial property, which was only in germ, has developed; it covers Europe; the industrialv class has expanded; it has enriched itself from the remnants of all the others; it has grown in number, in importance, in wealth; it grows constantly; nearly all those who are not part of it are connected to it, at least at some point; after having been the exceptional class, it threatens to become the principal class and, so to speak, the sole class;w but the political ideas and habits to which it formerly gave birth have remained. These ideas and these habits have not changed, because they are old, and then because they are in perfect harmony with the new ideas and general habits of the men of our times.x

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So industrial property does not augment its rights with its importance. The industrial class does not become less dependent by becoming more numerous; but you would say, on the contrary, that it carries despotism within it, and that despotism expands naturally as it develops.5

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In proportion as the nation becomes more industrial, it feels a greater need for roads, canals, ports and other works of a semi-public nature, which facilitate the acquisition of wealth; and in proportion as the nation is more democratic, individuals experience more difficulty in executing such works, and the State more ease in doing them. I am not afraid to assert that the manifest tendency of all the sovereigns of our time is to undertake alone the execution of such enterprises; in that way, they enclose populations each day within a more narrow dependence.

On the other hand, as the power of the State increases and as its needs augment, the State itself consumes an always greater quantity of industrial products, which it fabricates ordinarily in its arsenals and its factories. In this way, in each kingdom, the sovereign power becomes the greatest industrialist;z it draws to and retains in its service a prodigious number of engineers, architects, mechanics and artisans.a

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It is not only the first of industrialists; it tends more and more to make itself the leader or rather the master of all the others.b

Since citizens have become weak while becoming more equal,c they can do nothing in industry without associating; now, the public power naturally wants to place these associations under its control.

It must be recognized that these kinds of collective beings, which are called associations, are stronger and more formidable than a simple individual can be, and that they have less responsibility than the latter for their own actions; the result is that it seems reasonable to allow to each one of them less independence from the social power than would be allowed for an individual.

Sovereigns have that much more inclination to act in this way since it suits their tastes. Among democratic peoples it is only by association that Edition: current; Page: [1239] the resistance of citizens to the central power can come about; consequently the latter never sees associations that are not under its control except with disfavor; and what is very worth noting is that, among democratic peoples, citizens often envisage these same associations, which they need so much, with a secret sentiment of fear and jealousy which prevents them from defending them. The power and the duration of these small particular societies, amid the general weakness and instability, astonishes them and worries them, and citizens are not far from considering as dangerous privileges the free use that each association makes of its natural powers.

All these associations that are arising today are, moreover, so many new persons, for whom time has not consecrated rights and who enter into the world at a period when the idea of particular rights is weak, and when the social power is without limits; it is not surprising that associations lose their liberty at birth.

Among all the peoples of Europe, there are certain associations that can be formed only after the State has examined their statutes and authorized their existence. Among several, efforts are being made to extend this rule to all associations. You see easily where the success of such an undertaking would lead.

If the sovereign power had once the general right to authorize, on certain conditions, associations of all types, it would not take long to claim that of overseeing them and of directing them, so that the associations would not able to evade the rule that it had imposed on them. In this way, the State, after making all those who desire to associate dependent on it, would make all those who have associated dependent as well, that is to say, nearly all the men who are alive today.

The sovereign powers thus appropriate more and more, and put to their use the greatest part of this new force that industry creates today in the world. Industry leads us, and they lead industry.d

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[As for those who still work alone in the industrial world, their number and above all their importance is constantly decreasing; and for a long time, moreover, the government has exercised the right to regulate them as it pleases and has imposed on them each day new laws of which the government itself alone is the administrator and the interpreter.

<≠Perhaps you will find that I have expanded too much on this last part. Its importance will be my excuse.

The progress of equality and the development of industry are the two greatest facts of our times.

I wanted to show how both contributed to enlarge the sphere of the central power and to restrict individual independence each day within the narrowest limits.≠>]e

I attach so much importance to all that I have just said that I am tormented with the fear of having detracted from my thought by wanting to make it clearer.

So if the reader finds that the examples cited to support my words are insufficient or badly chosen; if he thinks that in some place I have exaggerated the progress of the social power, and that on the contrary I have limited beyond measure the sphere in which individual independence still moves, I beg him to abandon the book for a moment and to consider in his turn by himself the matters that I have undertaken to show him. Let him examine attentively what is happening each day among us and beyond us; let him question his neighbors; let him finally consider himself; I am very much mistaken if he does not arrive, without a guide and by other paths, at the point where I wanted to lead him.

[He will discover that the various rights that today have been successively wrested from classes, corporations, men, instead of serving to raise new secondary powers on another more democratic foundation, have almost all collected in the sole hands of the sovereign, that everywhere the public administration has become more clever, more intelligent and stronger, that the individual has become more isolated, more inexperienced, and weaker relative to the public administration, and that finally the State, whatever Edition: current; Page: [1242] its representative, has placed itself more every day next to and above each citizen in order to instruct him, guide him, aid him and constrain him.]f

He will notice that, during the half-century that has just gone by, centralization has grown everywhere in a thousand different fashions. Wars, revolutions, conquests have served its development; all men have worked to increase it.g During this same period, when men have with a prodigious rapidity succeeded each other at the head of affairs, their ideas, their interests, their passions have varied infinitely; but all have wanted to centralize in some ways. The instinct for centralization has been like the sole immobile point amid the singular mobility of their existence and their thoughts.h

And when the reader, after examining this detail of human affairs, will want to embrace the vast picture as a whole, he will remain astonished.

On the one hand, the firmest dynasties are shaken or destroyed; on all sides peoples escape violently from the dominion of their laws; they destroy Edition: current; Page: [1243] or limit the authority of their lords or of their princes; all the nations that are not in revolution seem at least restless and unsettled; the same spirit of revolt animates them. And, on the other, in this same time of anarchy and among these same peoples so unruly, the social power constantly increases its prerogatives; it becomes more centralized, more enterprising, more absolute, more extensive. The citizens fall under the control of the public administration at every instant; they are carried imperceptibly and as if without their knowledge to sacrifice to the public administration some new parts of their individual independence, and these same men who from time to time overturn a throne and trample kings underfoot, bow more and more, without resistance, to the slightest will of a clerk.

So therefore, two revolutions seem to be taking place today in opposite directions: one continually weakens power, and the other constantly reinforces it. In no other period of our history has it appeared either so weak or so strong.

But when you finally come to consider the state of the world more closely, you see that these two revolutions are intimately linked to each other, that they come from the same source, and that, after having had a different course, they finally lead men to the same place.

I will not be afraid again to repeat one last time what I have already said or pointed out in several places of this book. We must be very careful about confusing the very fact of equality with the revolution that finally introduces it into the social state and into the laws; that is the reason for nearly all the phenomena that astonish us.

All the ancient political powers of Europe, the greatest as well as the least, were established in the centuries of aristocracy, and they more or less represented or defended the principle of inequality and of privilege. To make the new needs and interests suggested by growing equality prevail in the government, it was therefore necessary for the men of our times to overturn or restrain the ancient powers. That has led them to make revolutions and has inspired in a great number of them this wild taste for disorder and for independence to which all revolutions, whatever their objective, always give birth.

I do not believe that there is a single country in Europe where the development of equality has not been preceded or followed by some violent Edition: current; Page: [1244] changes in the state of property and of persons, and almost all these changes have been accompanied by a great deal of anarchy and license, because they were done by the least civilized portion of the nation against the portion that was most civilized.

From that have come the two opposite tendencies that I previously showed. As long as the democratic revolution was in its heat, the men occupied with destroying the ancient aristocratic powers that fought against it appeared animated by a great spirit of independence; and as the victory of equality became more complete, they abandoned themselves little by little to the natural instincts that arose from this same equality, and they reinforced and centralized the social power. They had wanted to be free in order to be able to make themselves equal; and as equality became more established with the help of liberty, it made liberty more difficult for them.

These two states have not always been successive. Our fathers have shown how a people could organize an immense tyranny within itself at the very moment when it escaped from the authority of the nobles and braved the power of all the kings, teaching the world at the same time the way to conquer its independence and to lose it.

The men of today notice that the old powers are collapsing on all sides; they see all the old influences dying, all the old barriers falling; that disturbs the judgment of the most able; they pay attention only to the prodigious revolution which is taking place before their eyes, and they believe that humanity is going to fall forever into anarchy. If they considered the final consequences of this revolution, they would perhaps imagine other fears.

As for me, I do not trust, I confess, the spirit of liberty which seems to animate my contemporaries; I see well that the nations of today are turbulent; but I do not find clearly that they are liberal, and I am afraid that at the end of these agitations, which make all thrones totter, sovereigns will find themselves stronger than they were [I am afraid finally that in this century of license, everything is being prepared for the enslavement of the generations to come].

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chapter 6: What Type of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Feara

I had noticed during my stay in the United States that a democratic social state similar to that of the Americans could offer singular opportunities for the establishment of despotism,b and I had seen on my return to Europe how most of our princes had already made use of the ideas, sentiments and Edition: current; Page: [1246] needs that arose from that social state, in order to expand the circle of their power.

That led me to believe that Christian nations would end perhaps by suffering some oppression similar to that which weighed formerly on several of the peoples of antiquity.c

A more detailed examination of the subject and five years of new meditations have not lessened my fears, but they have changed their object.

We have never in past centuries seen a sovereign so absolute and so powerful that he undertook to administer by himself, and without the help of secondary powers, all the parts of a great empire; there is none who attempted to subject all his subjects indiscriminately to the details of a uniform rule, or who descended to the side of each one of his subjects in order to rule over him and to lead him. The idea of such an undertaking had never occurred to the human mind, and if a man ever happened to imagine it, the insufficiency of enlightenment, the imperfection of administrative procedures, and above all the natural obstacles that inequality of conditions created would have soon stopped him in the execution of such a vast design.

We see that in the time of the greatest power of the Caesars, the different peoples who inhabited the Roman world had still kept diverse customs and mores. Although subjected to the same monarch, most of the provinces were administered separately; they were full of powerful and active municipalities, and although all the government of the empire was concentrated in the hands of the emperor alone, and although he remained always, as needed, the arbiter of all things, the details of social life and of individual existence ordinarily escaped his control.

The emperors possessed, it is true, an immense power without counterbalance, which allowed them to give themselves freely to their bizarre inclinations and to use the entire strength of the State to satisfy them; they Edition: current; Page: [1247] often happened to abuse this power in order arbitrarily to take away a citizen’s property or his life. Their tyranny weighed prodigiously on a few; but it did not extend to a great number; it was tied to a few great principal matters and neglected the rest; it was violent and limited.d

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It seems that, if despotism came to be established among the democratic nations of today, it would have other characteristics; it would be more extensive and milder, and it would degrade men without tormenting them.

I do not doubt that, in centuries of enlightenment and equality such as ours, sovereigns might have succeeded more easily in uniting all public powers in their hands alone, and in penetrating more habitually and more deeply into the circle of private interests, than any of those of antiquity were ever able to do. But this same equality, which facilitates despotism, tempers it; we have seen how, as men are more similar and more equal, public mores become more humane and milder; when no citizen has a great power or great wealth, tyranny lacks, in a way, opportunity and theater. Since all fortunes are mediocre, passions are naturally contained, imagination limited, pleasures simple. This universal moderation moderates the sovereign himself and stops within certain limits the disordered impulse of his desires.

Apart from these reasons drawn from the very nature of the social state, I could add many others that would take me beyond my subject; but I want to keep myself within the limits that I have set for myself.

Democratic governments will be able to become violent and even cruel in certain moments of great agitation and great dangers; but these crises will be rare and passing.

When I think about the petty passions of the men of our times, about the softness of their mores, about the extent of their enlightenment, about the purity of their religion, about the mildness of their morality, about their painstaking and steady habits, about the restraint that they nearly all maintain in vice as in virtue, I am not afraid that they will find in their leaders tyrants, but rather tutors.

So I think that the type of oppression by which democratic peoples are threatened will resemble nothing of what preceded it in the world; our contemporaries cannot find the image of it in their memories. I seek in vain myself for an expression that exactly reproduces the idea that I am forming of it and includes it; [<the thing that I want to speak about is new, and men have not yet created the expression which must portray it.>] the old words Edition: current; Page: [1249] of despotism and of tyranny do not work. The thing is new, so I must try to define it, since I cannot name it.e

I want to imagine under what new features despotism could present itself to the world; I see an innumerable crowd of similar and equal men who spin around restlessly, in order to gain small and vulgar pleasures with which they fill their souls.f Each one of them, withdrawn apart, is like a stranger to the destiny of all the others; his children and his particular friends form Edition: current; Page: [1250] for him the entire human species;g as for the remainder of his fellow citizens, he is next to them, but he does not see them; he touches them without feeling them; he exists only in himself and for himself alone, and if he still has a family, you can say that at least he no longer has a country.h

Above those men arises an immense and tutelary power that alone takes charge of assuring their enjoyment and of looking after their fate. It is absolute, detailed, regular, far-sighted and mild. It would resemble paternal power if, like it, it had as a goal to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary it seeks only to fix them irrevocably in childhood; it likes the citizens to enjoy themselves, provided that they think only about enjoying themselves.j It works willingly for their happiness; but it wants to be the Edition: current; Page: [1251] unique agent for it and the sole arbiter; it attends to their security, provides for their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, settles their estates, divides their inheritances;k how can it not remove entirely from them the trouble to think and the difficulty of living?

This is how it makes the use of free will less useful and rarer every day; how it encloses the action of the will within a smaller space and little by little steals from each citizen even the use of himself.m Equality has prepared men for all these things; it has disposed men to bear them and often even to regard them as a benefit.

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After having thus taken each individual one by one into its powerful hands, and having molded him as it pleases, the sovereign power extends its arms over the entire society; it covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated, minute, and uniform rules, which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot break through to go beyond the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; [<≠in certain moments of great passions and great dangers, the sovereign power becomes suddenly violent and arbitrary. Habitually it is moderate, benevolent, regular and humane≠>] it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.n

I have always believed that this sort of servitude, regulated, mild and peaceful, of which I have just done the portrait, could be combined better than we imagine with some of the external forms of liberty, and that it Edition: current; Page: [1253] would not be impossible for it to be established in the very shadow of the sovereignty of the people.o

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[I suppose that a democratic nation, after destroying within it all the secondary powers, establishes in its midst a very inquisitorial, very extensive, very centralized, very powerful executive power, that it confers on this power the right to conduct all the details of public affairs and to lead a part of private affairs, that it put [sic ] individuals in a strict and daily dependence on this power, but that it makes this executive power itself depend on an elected legislature which, without governing, traces the principal rules of the government.

<I go still further and I suppose that the administration, instead of being Edition: current; Page: [1255] alongside the legislative chambers, is in the very legislature, as was seen in France at the time of the Convention, so that the same elected power makes the law and executes it even in its smallest details.>

All that means, if I am not mistaken, that after allowing the sovereign power as a master to direct each citizen [v: particular wills] and to bend him every day as it pleases, the sovereign itself is subjected from time to time to the general will [volontés générales: (Translator)] of the nation.]

Our contemporaries are incessantly tormented by two hostile passions: they feel the need to be led and the desire to remain free. Unable to destroy either the one or the other of these opposite instincts, they work hard to satisfy both at the same time. They imagine a unique, tutelary, omnipotent power, but elected by the citizens. They combine centralizationp and sovereignty of the people. That gives them some relief. They console themselves about being in tutelage by thinking that they have chosen their tutors themselves. Each individual endures being bound, because he sees that it is not a man or a class, but the people itself that holds the end of the chain.

In this system, the citizens emerge for a moment from dependency in order to indicate their master, and return to it.q

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There are many men today who accommodate themselves very easily to this type of compromise between administrative despotism and sovereignty of the people, and who think they have guaranteed the liberty of individuals when it is to the national power that they deliver that liberty. That is not enough for me. The nature of the master is much less important to me than the obedience.

I will not deny, however, that such a constitution is infinitely preferable to one that, after concentrating all powers, would put them in the hands of an unaccountable man or body. Of all the different forms that democratic despotism could take, the latter would assuredly be the worst.

When the sovereign is elected or closely supervised by a legislature truly elected and independent, the oppression that it can make individuals suffer is sometimes greater; but the oppression is always less degrading because each citizen, when he is being hindered and when he is reduced to powerlessness, can still imagine that by obeying he is only submitting to himself, and that it is to one of his desires that he is sacrificing all the rest.r

I understand equally that, when the sovereign represents the nation and depends on it, the strength and the rights that are taken from each citizen do not serve only the leader of the State, but profit the State itself, and that individuals gain some advantage from the sacrifice of their independence that they have made to the public.

[I understand also that when public opinion draws certain limits and can keep the sovereign power within them, tyranny properly speaking is Edition: current; Page: [1257] little to be feared, or at least it can never become general. Thus it is not the tyranny of the social power that is the most to fear, but its regular use.]s

To create a national representation in a very centralized country, is therefore to diminish the evil that extreme centralization can produce, but not to destroy it.t

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I see clearly that, in this way, individual intervention is kept in the most important affairs; but it is no less suppressed in the small ones and the particular ones.u We forget that it is dangerous, above all, to enslave men Edition: current; Page: [1259] in the detail. I would, for my part, be led to believe liberty less necessary in the great things than in the least, if I thought that the one could ever be assured without possessing the other.

Subjection in small affairs manifests itself every day and makes itself felt indiscriminately by all citizens. It does not drive them to despair; but it thwarts them constantly and leads them to relinquish the use of their will [and finally to give up on themselves]. It thus extinguishes their spirit little by little, and enervates their souls; while the obedience that is due only in a small number of very grave, but very rare circumstances, displays servitude only now and then, and makes it weigh only on certain men. In vain will you charge these same citizens, whom you have made so dependent on the central power, with choosing from time to time the representatives of this power; this use so important, but so short and so rare, of their free will, will not prevent them from losing little by little the ability to think, to feel and to act by themselves, and from thus falling gradually below the level of humanity.v

I add that they will soon become incapable of [properly] exercising the great and sole privilege remaining to them. Democratic peoples who have introduced liberty in the political sphere, at the same time that they increased despotism in the administrative sphere, have been led to very strange peculiarities.w If small affairs, in which simple good sense can suffice, Edition: current; Page: [1260] must be managed, they consider that the citizens are incapable of it; if it is a matter of the government of the whole State, they entrust these citizens with immense prerogatives; they make them alternately the playthings of the sovereign and its masters, more than kings and less than men. After having exhausted all the different systems of election, without finding one that suits them, they are surprised and still search; as if the evil that they notice were not due to the constitution of the country much more than to that of the electoral body.

It is, in fact, difficult to imagine how men who have entirely given up the habit of directing themselves, could succeed in choosing well those who should lead them; and it cannot be believed that a liberal, energetic and wise government can ever come out of the votes of a people of servants.x

A constitution that would be republican at the head, and ultra-monarchical in all the other parts has always seemed to me an ephemeral monster. The vices of those who govern and the imbecility of the governed Edition: current; Page: [1261] would not take long to lead them to ruin; and the people, tired of its representatives and of itself, would create freer institutions, or would soon return to stretching out at the feet of a single master.y

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chapter 7a: Continuation of the Preceding Chapters

I believe that it is easier to establish an absolute and despotic government among a [democratic] people where conditions are equal than among another, and I think that, if such a government were once established among such a people, not only would it oppress men, but in the long run it would rob from each of them some of the principal attributes of humanity.b

So despotism seems to me particularly to be feared in democratic ages.

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I would, I think, have loved liberty in all times; but I feel myself inclined to adore it in the times in which we live.

I am persuaded, on the other hand, that in the centuries which we are entering, all those who try to base liberty on privilege and on aristocracy will fail. All those who want to attract and keep authority within a single class will fail. There is today no sovereign power clever enough and strong enough to establish despotism by reestablishing permanent distinctions among its subjects;c nor is there any legislator so wise and so powerful who Edition: current; Page: [1264] is able to maintain free institutions if he does not take equality as first principle and as symbol. So all those among our contemporaries who want to create or to assure the independence and dignity of their fellows must appear as friends of equality; and the only means worthy of them of appearing so is to be so: the success of their holy enterprise depends on it.d

Thus, it is not a matter of reconstructing an aristocratic society, but of making liberty emerge from within the democratic society in which God makes us live.

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These two first truths seem to me simple, clear and fertile, and they lead me naturally to consider what type of free government can be established among a people in which conditions are equal.

It results from the very constitution of democratic nations and from their needs that, among them, the power of the sovereign must be more uniform, more centralized, more extensive, more penetrating, more powerful than elsewhere.e Society there is naturally more active and stronger; the individual, more subordinate and weaker. The one does more; the other less; that is inevitable.f

So in democratic countries you must not expect the circle of individual independence ever to be as wide as in countries of aristocracy. But that is not to be desired; for among aristocratic nations, society is often sacrificed to the individual, and the prosperity of the greatest number to the grandeur of a few.

It is at the very same time necessary and desirable that the central power that directs a democratic people be active and powerful. It is not a matter of making it weak or indolent, but only of preventing it from abusing its agility and strength.g

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What contributed the most to assure the independence of individuals in aristocratic centuries is that the sovereign power did not take charge alone of governing and administering the citizens; it was obliged to leave a part of this concern to the members of the aristocracy; so that the social power, always divided, never weighed entirely and in the same way on every man.h

Not only did the sovereign power not do everything by itself, but most of the officers who acted in its place, since they drew their power from the fact of their birth and not from it, were not constantly in its hand. It could not at any moment create them or destroy them, depending on its caprices, and bend them all uniformly to its least desires. That also guaranteed the independence of individuals.

I also understand that today you cannot resort to the same means, but I see democratic procedures that replace them.j

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Instead of giving to the sovereign alone all the administrative powers that were taken from the corporation or from the nobles, you can entrust a part of them to secondary bodies formed temporarily out of simple citizens; in this way, the liberty of individuals will be surer, without their equality being less.

The Americans, who are not as attached as we to words, have kept the name of county for the largest of their administrative districts; but they have in part replaced the county by a provincial assemblyk [chosen freely by the inhabitants themselves].m

I will admit without difficulty that in a period of equality like ours, it would be unjust and unreasonable to institute hereditary officials; but nothing prevents substituting for them, to a certain measure, elected officials. Election is a democratic expedient that assures the independence of the official vis-à-vis the central power, as much as and more than heredity can do among aristocratic peoples.

Aristocratic countries are full of rich and influential individuals who know how to be self-sufficient and who are not easily or secretly oppressed; and the latter keep power within the general habits of moderation and restraint [<while in democratic countries each citizen taken in isolation cannot offer any resistance and does not ever succeed in Edition: current; Page: [1268] attracting the eyes of the public to the evils that tyranny makes him suffer.>]

I know well that democratic countries do not naturally present similar individuals; but there you can artificially create something analogous.

I believe firmly that you cannot establish an aristocracyn again in the world; but I think that simple citizens by associating together can constitute very wealthy, very influential, very strong beings, in a word aristocratic persons.o

[<Thus, in whatever direction I look, I discover association as the most powerful remedy for the evils with which equality threatens us.>]

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In this manner several of the greatest political advantages of aristocracy would be obtained, without its injustices or its dangers. A political, industrial, commercial, or even scientific and literary association is an enlightened and powerful citizen whom you cannot bend at will or oppress in the shadow, and who, by defending its particular rights against the demands of power, saves common liberties.

In times of aristocracy, each man is always bound in a very tight way to several of his fellow citizens, so that you cannot attack the former without the others running to his aid. In centuries of equality, each individual is naturally isolated; he has no hereditary friends whose help he can require, no class whose sympathies for him are assured; he is easily set apart, and he is trampled underfoot with impunity.p Today, a citizen who is oppressed has therefore only one means of defending himself; it is to address himself to the whole nation, and if it is deaf to him, to humanity; he has only one means to do it, it is the press. Thus liberty of the press is infinitely more precious among democratic nations than among all others; it alone cures most of the evils that equality can produce. Equality isolates and weakens men; but the press places beside each one of them a very powerful weapon, which the weakest and most isolated can use. Equality takes away from each individual the support of those close to him; but the press allows him to call to his aid all his fellow citizens and all those similar to him. Printing hastened the progress of equality, and it is one of its best correctives.

I think that men who live in aristocracies can, if necessary, do without liberty of the press; but those who inhabit democratic countries cannot do so. [<For the latter, between independence and servitude, I see hardly anything except the press.>] To guarantee the personal independence of the latter, I do not trust great political assemblies, parliamentary prerogatives, the proclamation of sovereignty of the people.

All these things, up to a certain point, fit with individual servitude; but Edition: current; Page: [1270] this servitude cannot be complete if the press is free. The press is, par excellence, the democratic instrument of liberty.

I will say something analogous about the judicial power.q

It is the essence of the judicial power to occupy itself with particular interests and to fix its eyes on the small matters that are exposed to its view; it is also the essence of this power not to come by itself to the help of those who are oppressed, but to be constantly at the disposal of the most humble man among them. The latter, however weak you suppose him to be, can always force the judge to listen to his complaint and to respond to it: that results from the very constitution of the judicial power.

So such a power is especially applicable to the needs of liberty, in a time when the eye and the hand of the sovereign are introduced constantly into the most minute details of human actions, and when individuals, too weak to protect themselves, are too isolated to be able to count on the help of those like them. The strength of the courts has been, in all times, the greatest guarantee that can be offered to individual independence, but that is true above all in democratic centuries; particular rights and interests are always in danger there, if the judicial power does not grow and expand as conditions become equal.

Equality suggests to men several tendencies very dangerous for liberty, and the legislator must always keep his eyes open to them. I will only recall the principal ones.

Men who live in democratic centuries do not easily understand the utility of forms;r they feel an instinctive disdain for them. I spoke about the reasons for this elsewhere. Forms excite their scorn and often their hatred. Since they usually aspire only to easy and present enjoyments, they throw themselves impetuously toward the object of each one of their desires; the least delays lead them to despair. This temperament, which they bring to political life, sets them against forms which slow or stop them each day in some of their desires.

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This disadvantage that men of democracies find in forms is, however, what makes the latter so useful to liberty, their principal merit being to serve as a barrier between the strong and the weak, those who govern and the governed, to slow the first and to give to the second the time for them to figure things out. Forms are more necessary as the sovereign power is more active and more powerful and as individuals become more indolent and more feeble. Thus democratic peoples naturally need forms more than other peoples, and naturally they respect them less.s That merits very serious attention.

There is nothing more miserable than the superb disdain of most of our contemporaries for questions of forms; for today the smallest questions of forms have acquired an importance that they had not had until now. Several of the greatest interests of humanity are connected with it.

I think that, if the statesmen who lived in aristocratic centuries could sometimes scorn forms with impunity and often rise above them, those who lead peoples today must consider the least form with respect and neglect it only when an imperious necessity forces them to do so. In aristocracies, you had superstition for forms; we must have an enlightened and thoughtful cult of them.

Another instinct very natural to democratic peoples, and very dangerous, is that which leads them to scorn individual rights and to take them into little account.

Men are in general attached to a right and show it respect by reason of its importance or of the long use that they have made of it. Individual rights which are found among democratic peoples are ordinarily of little importance, very recent and very unstable; that means that they are often easily sacrificed and violated almost always without regrets.

Now it happens that, in this same time and among these same nations in which men conceive a natural scorn for the rights of individuals, the Edition: current; Page: [1272] rights of the society expand naturally and become stronger; that is to say that men become less attached to particular rights, at the moment when it would be most necessary to keep them and to defend the few of them that remain.t

So it is above all in the democratic times in which we find ourselves that the true friends of liberty and of human grandeur must, constantly, stand up and be ready to prevent the social power from sacrificing lightly the particular rights of some individuals to the general execution of its designs. In those times no citizen is so obscure that it is not very dangerous to allow him to be oppressed, or individual rights of so little importance that you can surrender to arbitrariness with impunity. The reason for it is simple. When you violate the particular right of an individual in a time when the human mind is penetrated by the importance and the holiness of the rights of this type, you do harm only to the one you rob. But to violate such a right today is to corrupt the national mores profoundly and to put the entire society at risk, because the very idea of these kinds of rights tends constantly among us to deteriorate and become lost.

[<I find as well and for entirely similar reasons that in democratic centuries, above all, sovereigns must watch themselves with the greatest care in order to repress the natural tendency which leads them to sacrifice a Edition: current; Page: [1273] particular right, however small it is, to the general execution to their designs.>]

There are certain habits, certain ideas, certain vices that belong to the state of revolution, and that a long revolution cannot fail to engender and to generalize, whatever its character, its objective and its theater are.

When whatever nation has several times in a short expanse of time changed leaders, opinions and laws, the men who compose it end by contracting the taste for movement and by becoming accustomed to all movements taking place rapidly and with the aid of force. They then naturally conceive a contempt for forms, whose impotence they see every day, and only with impatience do they bear the dominion of rules, which have been evaded so many times before their eyes.

Since the ordinary notions of equity and morality no longer suffice to explain and justify all the novelties to which the revolution gives birth each day, you latch onto the principle of social utility, you create the dogma of political necessity; and you become readily accustomed to sacrificing particular interests without scruples and to trampling individual rights underfoot, in order to attain more promptly the general goal that you propose.

These habits and these ideas, which I will call revolutionary,u because all revolutions produce them, manifest themselves within aristocracies as well Edition: current; Page: [1274] as among democratic peoples; but among the first they are often less powerful and always less durable, because there they encounter habits, ideas, flaws and failings that are contrary to them. So they fade away by themselves as soon as the revolution is finished, and the nation returns to its former political ways. It is not always so in democratic countries, where it is always to be feared that revolutionary instincts, becoming milder and more regular without dying out, will gradually turn into governmental mores and administrative habits.v

So I do not know of a country in which revolutions are more dangerous than democratic countries, because, apart from the accidental and passing evils that revolutions can never fail to produce, they always risk creating permanent and, so to speak, eternal ones.

I believe that there are honest acts of resistance and legitimate rebellions [v. revolutions]. So I am not saying, in an absolute way, that men of democratic times must never make revolutions; but I think that they are right to hesitate more than all the others before undertaking them, and that it is better for them to bear many of the inconveniences of the present state than to resort to such a perilous remedy.

I will conclude with a general idea that includes within it not only all the particular ideas that have been expressed in this present chapter, but also most of those that this book has the purpose of putting forth.

[What was above all to be feared formerly is no longer to be feared and new dangers have arisen that our fathers did not know.]w

In the centuries of aristocracy that preceded ours, there were very powerful individuals and a very feeble social authority. The very image of society was obscure and was constantly lost amid all the different powers that governed the citizens. The principal effort of the men of that time had to be to proceed to make the social power greater and to fortify it, to increase and to assure its prerogatives, and on the contrary, to restrict individual independence within more narrow limits, and to subordinate particular interest to the general interest.

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Other dangers and other concerns await the men of today.

Among most modern nations, the sovereign power, whatever its origin, its constitution and its name, has become almost omnipotent, and individuals fall more and more into the final degree of weakness and dependency.

Everything was different in the old societies. Unity and uniformity were found nowhere. In our societies, everything threatens to become so similar, that the particular figure of each individual will soon be lost entirely in the common physiognomy. Our fathers were always ready to abuse this idea that particular rights are worthy of respect, and we are naturally led to exaggerate this other, that the interest of one individual must always yield before the interest of several.

The political world is changing; from now on we must seek new remedies for new evils.

To fix for the social power extensive, but visible and immobile limits; to give to individuals certain rights and to guarantee to them the uncontested enjoyment of these rights; to preserve for the individual the little of independence, of strength and of originality that remain to him; to raise him up beside society and sustain him in the face of it: such seems to me to be the first goal of the legislator in the age we are entering.x

It could be said that the sovereigns of today only seek to create great things with men. I would like them to think a bit more about creating great men, to attach less value to the work and more to the worker,y and Edition: current; Page: [1276] to remember constantly that a nation cannot long remain strong when each man is individually weak, and that we have not yet found either social forms or political combinations that can create an energetic people by bringing together faint-hearted and soft citizens.z

I see among our contemporaries two opposite but equally fatal ideas.

Some see in equality only the anarchical tendencies that it engenders. They fear their free will; they are afraid of themselves.

The others, in smaller number, but better enlightened, have another view. Alongside the road that, starting at equality, leads to anarchy, they have finally found the path that seems to lead men invincibly toward servitude; they bend their soul in advance to this necessary servitude; and despairing of remaining free, they already adore at the bottom of their heart the master who must soon come.

The first abandon liberty because they consider it dangerous; the second because they judge it impossible.

If I had had this last belief, I would not have written the work that you Edition: current; Page: [1277] have just read; I would have limited myself to bemoaning in secret the destiny of my fellow men.

I wanted to put forth in full light the risks that equality makes human independence run, because I believe firmly that these risks are the most formidable as well as the least foreseen of all those that the future holds.a But I do not believe them insurmountable.

The men who live in the democratic centuries that we are entering naturally have the taste for independence.b Naturally they bear rules with impatience: the permanence of even the state they prefer wearies them. They love power; but they are inclined to scorn and to hate the one who exercises it, and they easily escape from between his hands because of their smallness and their very mobility.

These instincts will always be found, because they emerge from the core of the social state which will not change. For a long time they will prevent any despotism from being able to become established, and they will provide new weapons to each new generation that wants to fight in favor of the liberty of men.

So let us have for the future this salutary fear that makes us vigilant and combative, and not this sort of soft and idle terror that weakens and enervates hearts.c

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chapter 8a: General View of the Subjectb

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Before leaving forever the course that I have just covered, I would like to be able to encompass with a last look all the various features that mark the face of the new world, and finally to judge the general influence that equality Edition: current; Page: [1280] must exercise on the fate of men; but the difficulty of such an enterprise stops me; in the presence of such a great matter, I feel my sight fail and my reason falter.c

This new society, which I have sought to portray and which I want to judge, has only just been born. Time has not yet set its form; the great revolution that created it is still going on, and in what is happening today, it is nearly impossible to discern what must pass away with the revolution itself, and what must remain after it.

The world that is rising is still half caught in the ruins of the world that is falling, and amid the immense confusion presented by human affairs, no one can say which old institutions and ancient mores will remain standing and which will finally disappear.

Although the revolution that is taking place in the social state, the laws, the ideas, the sentiments of men, is still very far from being finished, already you cannot compare its works with anything that has been seen previously in the world. I go back century by century to the most distant antiquity; I notice nothing that resembles what is before our eyes. Since the past no longer clarifies the future, the mind moves in shadows.

But amid this picture so vast, so new, so confused, I already glimpse a few principal features which are becoming apparent and I point them out.

I see that the good and the bad are distributed equally enough in the world. Great wealth disappears; the number of small fortunes increases; desires and enjoyments multiply; there is no more extraordinary prosperity or irreversible poverty. Ambition is a universal sentiment; there are few vast ambitions. Each individual is isolated and weak; society is agile, far-sighted and strong; individuals do small things and the State immense ones.

Souls are not energetic; but mores are mild and legislation humane. If little great devotion, few very high, very brilliant, and very pure virtues are Edition: current; Page: [1281] found, habits are steady, violence is rare and cruelty almost unknown. The lives of men become longer and their property more secure. Life is not very ornate, but very comfortable and very peaceful. There are few very delicate and very coarse pleasures, little courtesy in manners and little brutality in tastes. You scarcely find very learned men or very ignorant populations. Genius becomes rarer and enlightenment more common. The human mind is developed by the small combined efforts of all men, and not by the powerful impulse of a few of them. There is less perfection, but more fecundity in works. All the bonds of race, class, country are loosening; the great bond of humanity is tightening.d

If among all these various features, I seek the one that seems to me the most general and the most striking, I come to see that what is noticeable in fortunes reappears again in a thousand other forms. Nearly all the extremes become softer and are blunted; nearly all the salient points are worn away to make way for something middling, which is at the very same time less high and less low, less brilliant and less obscure than what was seen in the world.e

I run my eyes over this innumerable crowd composed of similar beings, in which nothing either rises or falls. The spectacle of this universal uniformity [and of this mediocrity] saddens me and chills me, and I am tempted to regret the society that is no more.

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When the world was filled with very great and very small, very rich and very poor, very learned and very ignorant, [very fortunate and very miserable] men, I turned my eyes away from the second to fix them only on the first, and the latter delighted my sight. But I understand that this pleasure arose from my weakness; it is because I cannot see all that surrounds me at the same time that I am allowed to choose in this way and to separate, among so many objects, those that it pleases me to consider. It is not the same for the all-powerful and eternal Being, whose eyes necessarily take in the whole of things, and who sees all of humanity and each man distinctly, though at the same time.

It is natural to believe that what most satisfies the sight of this creator and preserver of men, is not the singular prosperity of a few, but the greatest well-being of all; so what seems to me decline, is in his eyes progress; what hurts me, agrees with him. Equality is perhaps less elevated; but it is more just, and its justice makes its grandeur and its beauty.

I try hard to enter into this point of view of God, and from there I seek to consider and to judge human things.f

No one, on the earth, can yet assert in an absolute and general way that the new state of societies is superior to the old state; but it is already easy to see that it is different.

There are certain vices and certain virtues that were attached to the constitution of aristocratic nations and that are so contrary to the genius of the new peoples that you cannot introduce those vices and virtues among them. There are good tendencies and bad instincts that were foreign to the first that are natural to the second; ideas that occur by themselves to the imagination of the first and that the mind of the second rejects. They are like two distinct humanities, each of which has its particular advantages and disadvantages, its good and its evil which are its own.g

So you must be very careful about judging the societies that are being Edition: current; Page: [1283] born by the ideas that you have drawn from those that are no longer. That would be unjust, for these societies, differing prodigiously from each other, are not comparable.

It would be scarcely more reasonable to ask of the men [v. democratic peoples] of today the particular virtues that resulted from the social state of their ancestors, since this social state itself has fallen, and since in its fall it swept away in a confused way all the good and all the bad that it carried with it.

But these things are still poorly understood today. I notice a great number of my contemporaries who undertake to make a choice among the institutions, the opinions, the ideas that arose from the aristocratic constitution of the former society; they would willingly abandon some, but they would still like to retain others and carry them with them into the new world.

I think that those men use up their time and their strength in an honest and sterile work.

It is no longer a matter of retaining the particular advantages that inequality of conditions gains for men, but of assuring the new advantages that equality can offer them.h We must not aim to make ourselves similar to our fathers, but to work hard to attain the type of grandeur and happiness that is appropriate to us.

As for me, having reached the final end of my journey, I discern from afar, but all at once, all the various matters that I had contemplated separately Edition: current; Page: [1284] while going along, and I feel full of fears and full of hopes.j I see great dangers that it is possible to avert, great evils that can be avoided or limited; and I become more and more confirmed in this belief that, to be honest and prosperous, it is still enough for democratic nations to want to be so.

I am not unaware that several of my contemporaries have thought that here below peoples are never masters of themselves, and that they obey necessarily I do not know what insurmountable and unintelligent force that arises from previous events, from race, from soil, or from climate.k

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Those are false and cowardly doctrines that can produce only weak men and pusillanimous nations. Providence has created humanity neither entirely independent nor completely slave. It traces around each man, it is true, a fatal circle out of which he cannot go; but within its vast limits, man is powerful and free; so are peoples.m

The nations of today cannot make conditions among them not be equal; but it depends on them whether equality leads them to servitude or liberty, to enlightenment or barbarism, to prosperity or misery.n

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Page 975

There are, however, aristocracies that have engaged in commerce with ardor and cultivated industry with success. The history of the world provides several striking examples. But in general it must be said that aristocracy is not favorable to the development of industry and of commerce. Only aristocracies of money are an exception to this rule.

Among the latter there is hardly any desire that does not need wealth to be satisfied. The love of wealth becomes, so to speak, the great highway for human passions. All the other passions lead to it or cross it.

The taste for money and the thirst for consideration and power then blend so well in the same souls that it becomes difficult to discern if it is out of ambition that men are greedy, or if it is out of greediness that they are ambitious. This is what happens in England, where you want to be rich in order to attain honors, and where you desire honors as the manifestation of wealth. The human spirit is then gripped on all sides and swept toward commerce and industry, which are the shortest roads that lead to opulence.

Moreover, this seems to me an exceptional and transitory fact. When wealth has become the only sign of aristocracy, it is very difficult for the rich to maintain themselves in power alone and to exclude all the others.

Aristocracy of birth and pure democracy are at the two extremes of the social and political state of nations; in the middle is found the aristocracy of money:a the latter is close to the aristocracy of birth in that it confers Edition: current; Page: [1287] great privileges on a small number of citizens; it is close to democracy in that the privileges can be successively acquired by all; it often forms like a natural transition between these two things, and you cannot say if it brings the reign of aristocratic institutions to an end, or if it already opens the new era of democracy.

Page 1050

I find in the journal of my trip the following piece, which will completely reveal the trials to which the women of America who agree to accompany their husbands into the wilderness are subjected. There is nothing that commends this picture to the reader except its great truth.b

. . . From time to time we came across new clearings. All these establishments were similar. I am going to describe the one where we stopped this evening; it will leave me with a picture of all the others.

The small bell that the pioneers carefully hang around the necks of the animals in order to find them in the woods announced to us from afar the approach to a clearing; soon we heard the sound of the ax that fells the trees of the forest. As we approach, signs of destruction announce to us the presence of civilized man. Cut branches cover the road; trunks half-charred by fire or mutilated by the ax still stand upright along our passage. We continue our march and we come to a woods in which all the trees seem to have been stricken by sudden death; in the middle of the summer, they present nothing more than the image of winter; examining them more closely we notice that in their bark a deep circle has been traced that, stopping the circulation of the sap, did not take long to make them die; we learn that this, in fact, is how the pioneer usually begins. Not able, during the first year, to cut all the trees that cover his new property, he sows corn under their branches and, by killing them, he prevents them from shading his crop. After this field, an incomplete beginning, a first step of civilization in the wilderness, we suddenly notice the cabin of the landowner; it is placed in the center of a ground more carefully cultivated than the rest, but Edition: current; Page: [1288] where man still sustains an unequal struggle against the forest. There the trees are cut, but not uprooted; their trunks still cover and clutter the ground that they formerly shaded. Around these dried-up remains, wheat, oak shoots, plants of all types, grasses of all kinds grow jumbled together and increase together on an intractable and half-wild ground. At the center of this vigorous and varied vegetation arises the house of the pioneer, or as it is called in this country, the log house. Like the field that surrounds it, this rustic dwelling announces a new and hurried work; its length does not seem to us to exceed thirty feet; its height, fifteen; its walls as well as the roof are formed from tree trunks not squared off, between which moss and earth have been placed to prevent the cold and the rain from penetrating the interior.

Since night was approaching, we determined to go to ask the owner of the log house for shelter.

At the sound of our steps, the children who were rolling around amid the debris of the forest get up precipitously and flee toward the house as if frightened at the sight of a man, while two large half-wild dogs, ears upright and muzzles elongated, emerge from their cabin and come growling to cover the retreat of their young masters. The pioneer himself appears at the door of his dwelling; he casts a rapid and searching glance at us, signals to his dogs to come back into the house; he serves as their example himself without showing that our sight excites his curiosity or his concern.

We enter the log house. The interior does not recall the cabins of the peasants of Europe; you find more of the superfluous and less of the necessary.

There is only a single window at which hangs a muslin curtain; on a hearth of beaten earth crackles a great fire that lights up the whole interior of the building; above this hearth you notice a beautiful rifle with a grooved barrel, a deer skin, eagle feathers; to the right of the chimney a map of the United States is spread which the wind flaps and agitates by coming through the chinks in the wall; near it, on a shelf made from a rough-hewn plank, are placed a few volumes. I notice the Bible, the first six cantos of Milton and two plays of Shakespeare. Along the walls are placed trunks instead of armoires; in the center is found a crudely worked table, whose Edition: current; Page: [1289] feet, made from wood still green and with the bark still on, seem to have grown by themselves out of the earth on the spot occupied by the table; I see on this table a teapot of English porcelain, some silver spoons, a few chipped cups and some newspapers.

The master of this dwelling has the angular features and slender limbs that distinguish the inhabitant of New England; it is clear that this man was not born in the wilderness where we meet him; his physical constitution is enough to announce that his first years were spent within an intellectual society, and that he belongs to this restless, reasoning and adventurous race that does coldly what only the ardor of the passions explains and which subjects itself for a time to uncivilized life the better to conquer and to civilize the wilderness.

When the pioneer sees that we are crossing the threshold of his dwelling, he comes to meet us and extends his hand, as is the custom; but his physiognomy remains rigid; he speaks first to interrogate us about what is happening in the world, and when he has satisfied his curiosity, he becomes silent; you would think him fatigued by troublesome individuals and by chatter. We interrogate him in turn, and he gives us all the information we need; then he occupies himself without eagerness but diligently with providing for our needs. Seeing him devote himself in this way to these kind attentions, why, despite ourselves, do we feel our gratitude cool? It is because he, while exercising hospitality, seems to be submitting to a painful necessity of his fate; he sees a duty that his position imposes on him, not a pleasure.

At the other end of the room is seated a woman who is rocking a young child on her knees. She nods to us without interrupting herself. Like the pioneer, this woman is in the prime of life; her appearance seems superior to her condition; her dress still announces even now a barely extinguished taste for finery; but her delicate limbs seem weakened; her features are tired; her eyes gentle and serious. You see spread over her whole physiognomy a religious resignation, a profound peace of the passions, and I do not know what natural and tranquil steadfastness that meets all the evils of life without fearing them or defying them.

Her children crowd around her; they are full of health, excitement, and energy; they are true sons of the wilderness. Their mother from time to Edition: current; Page: [1290] time gives them looks full of melancholy and joy. To see their strength and her weakness, you would say that she has exhausted herself by giving them life, and that she does not regret what they have cost her.

The house inhabited by the emigrants has no interior wall or attic. Into the single room that it contains, the entire family comes to find shelter at night. This dwelling by itself alone forms like a small world; it is the ark of civilization lost amid an ocean of leaves. One hundred steps further the eternal forest spreads its shadow and the wilderness begins again.

Page 1052

It is not equality of conditions that makes men immoral and irreligious. But when men are immoral and irreligious at the same time as being equal, the effects of immorality and irreligion occur in the open easily because men have little influence on each other and because no class exists that can take charge of keeping order in society. Equality of conditions never creates corruption of morals, but sometimes it allows it to happen.

Pages 1085-87

If you put aside all those who do not think and those who dare not say what they think, you will still find that the immense majority of Americans seem satisfied with the political institutions that govern them; and in fact, I believe that they are. I regard this cast of public opinion as an indication, but not as a proof of the absolute goodness of American laws. National pride, the satisfaction given by the laws to certain dominant passions, fortuitous events, unnoticed vices, and more than all of that the interest of a majority that silences those who oppose it, can for a long time delude an entire people as well as one man.

See England in the whole course of the XVIIIth century. Never did a nation lavish more praise on itself; no people was ever more perfectly content with itself; everything then was good in its constitution, everything Edition: current; Page: [1291] there was irreproachable, even its most visible faults. Today a multitude of Englishmen seems to be busy only with proving that this constitution was defective in a thousand places. Who was right, the English people of the last century, or the English people of today?

The same thing happened in France. It is certain that under Louis XIV the great mass of the nation was passionate about the form of government that then ruled society. They are very much mistaken who believe that the French character of that time was debased. In that century in France, there could be servitude in certain respects, but the spirit of servitude was certainly not found. The writers of the time felt a sort of real enthusiasm in raising the royal power above all others, and there was no one, even including the obscure peasant in his cottage, who did not take pride in the glory of the sovereign and who did not die with joy while crying: “Long live the King!” These same forms have become odious to us. Who was wrong, the French of Louis XIV, or the French of today?

So it is not only on the predispositions of a people that you must rely in order to judge its laws, since from one century to another they change, but on more elevated grounds and a more general experience.

The love that a people shows for its laws proves only one thing: that you must not hasten to change them.

Page 1169

In the chapter to which this note relates I have just shown one danger; I want to point out another rarer one, but one that, if it ever appeared, would be very much more to fear.

If the love of material enjoyments and the taste for well-being that equality naturally suggests to men, while taking hold of the spirit of a democratic people, came to fill them entirely, national mores would become so anti-pathetic to the military spirit that armies themselves would perhaps end up loving peace despite the particular interest that leads them to desire war. Placed in the middle of this universal softness, soldiers would come to think that it was indeed better to rise gradually, but comfortably and without efforts, in peace, than to buy a rapid advancement at the cost of the strains Edition: current; Page: [1292] and the miseries of camp life. In this spirit, the army would take up arms without zeal and would use them without energy; it would allow itself to be led to the enemy rather than marching there by itself.

You must not believe that this pacific inclination of the army would distance it from revolutions, for revolutions, and above all military revolutions, which are usually very quick, often carry great risks, but do not require extended efforts; they satisfy ambition at less cost than war; in revolutions you only risk your life, to which the men of democracies are less attached than to their comforts.

There is nothing more dangerous for the liberty and the tranquillity of a people than an army that is afraid of war, because, no longer seeking its grandeur and its influence on the fields of battle, it wants to find them elsewhere. So it could happen that the men who compose a democratic army would lose the interests of the citizen without gaining the virtues of the soldier, and that the army would cease to be warlike without ceasing to be turbulent.

I will repeat here what I already said above. The remedy for such dangers is not in the army, but in the country. A democratic people that maintains manly mores will always as needed find warrior mores in its soldiers.

Page 1200

Men put the grandeur of the idea of unity in the means; God, in the end; the result is that this idea of grandeur leads us to a thousand petty things. To force all men to march with the same step, toward the same purpose, that is a human idea. To introduce an infinite variety in actions, but to combine them so that all these actions lead by a thousand paths toward the accomplishment of a great design, that is a divine idea.

The human idea of unity is almost always sterile; that of God, immensely fruitful. Men think to attest to their grandeur by simplifying the means. It is the purpose of God which is simple, His means vary infinitely.c

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Page 1206

A democratic people is not only led by its tastes to centralize power; the passions of all those who lead it push it there constantly.

You can easily predict that almost all of the ambitious and capable citizens contained within a democratic country will work without let-up to expand the attributions of the social power, because all hope to direct it one day. It is a waste of time to want to prove to those men that extreme centralization can harm the State, since they are centralizing for themselves.

Among the public men of democracies, there are hardly any men except those who are very disinterested or very mediocre who want to decentralize power. The first are rare and the others powerless.

Page 1247

I have often asked myself what would happen if, amid the softness of democratic mores and as a result of the restless spirit of the army, a military government was ever established among some of the nations of today.

I think that the government itself would not be far from the portrait that I drew in the chapter to which this note relates, and that it would not reproduce the savage features of the military oligarchy.

I am persuaded that in this case there would be a kind of fusion between the habits of the clerk and those of the soldier. The administration would take on something of the military spirit, and the military some of the practices of the civil administration. The result of this would be a regular, clear, plain, absolute command; the people made into the image of the army, and society kept like a barracks.

Page 1260-61

You cannot say in an absolute and general way that the greatest danger of today is license or tyranny, anarchy or despotism. Both are equally to be Edition: current; Page: [1294] feared and can emerge as easily from the same single cause, which is general apathy, fruit of individualism; this apathy means that the day when the executive power gathers some strength, it is able to oppress, and that the day after, when a party can put thirty men in the field, the latter is equally able to oppress. Since neither the one nor the other is able to establish anything lasting, what makes them succeed easily prevents them from succeeding for long. They arise because nothing resists them, and they fall because nothing sustains them.

What is important to combat is therefore much less anarchy or despotism than apathy, which can create almost indifferently the one or the other.

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appendix 1: Journey to Lake Oneidaa

On July 8, 1831, at sunrise, we left the small village called Fort Brewerton, and we began to advance toward the northeast.

About one mile from the house of our host, a path opens in the forest; we hastened to take it. The heat was beginning to become uncomfortable. After a windy night had followed a morning without any cool breeze. Soon we found ourselves sheltered from the rays of the sun and in the middle of one of these deep forests of the New World whose somber and wild majesty grips the imagination and fills the soul with a sort of religious terror.

How to paint such a spectacle? On a marshy terrain where a thousand small streams, not yet imprisoned by the hand of man, run and are lost in liberty, nature has scattered pell-mell and with an incredible profusion the seeds of nearly all the plants that creep on the earth or rise above the soil.

Over our heads was spread as it were a vast dome of greenery. Under this thick veil and amid the humid depths of the woods, the eye saw an immense confusion; a sort of chaos. Trees of all ages, foliage of all colors, herbs, fruits, flowers of a thousand species, intermingled, intertwined in the same places. Generations of trees have followed each other there without Edition: current; Page: [1296] interruption for centuries, and the earth is covered with their remains. Some seem struck down yesterday; others, already half settled into the earth, present nothing more than a hollow and flat surface; others finally are reduced to dust and serve as fertilizer for their last shoots. In the midst of them a thousand diverse plants hasten to emerge in their turn. They slip between these immobile cadavers, creep along their surface, penetrate beneath their withered bark, lift up and scatter their powdery remains.b It is like a struggle between death and life. Sometimes, we happened to encounter an immense tree that the wind had uprooted, but the rows are so close together in the forest that, despite its weight, it was not able to make it to the ground. It still balanced its dry branches in the air.

A solemn silence reigned amid this solitude; you saw only a few or no animated creatures, man was missing and yet it was not a desert. Everything, on the contrary, showed a productive force in nature unknown elsewhere; everything was activity; the air seemed impregnated with an odor of vegetation. It seemed as if you heard an internal noise that revealed the work of creation and as if you saw sap and life circulating in always open channels.

It was amid this imposing solitude and in the light of an uncertain day that we walked for several hours, without hearing any noise other than that made by our horses trampling underfoot the leaves piled up by several winters or pushing with difficulty through the dry branches that covered the path. We kept silent ourselves, our souls were filled with the grandeur and the novelty of the spectacle. Finally we heard the echo of the first blows of an ax which announced in the distance the presence of a European. Felled trees, burned and blackened trunks, some plants useful to the life of man sown amid a confused mixture of a hundred various remnants, led us to the habitation of the pioneer. At the center of a rather narrow circle drawn Edition: current; Page: [1297] around it by iron and fire arose the crude house of the forerunner of European civilization. It was like the oasis in the middle of the desert.

After conversing a few moments with the inhabitant of this place, we resumed our course and a half-hour later we arrived at a fisherman’s cabin built on the very shores of the lake that we were coming to visit.

Lake Oneida is situated in the middle of low hills and at the center of still respectable forests. A belt of thick foliage surrounds it on all sides, and its waters moisten the roots of trees that are reflected in its transparent and tranquil surface. The isolated cabin of a fisherman rose alone on its shores. Moreover, no sail appeared on its entire surface; you did not even see smoke rise above its woods, for the European, without having completely taken possession of its banks, had already approached closely enough to exile the numerous and warlike tribe that had once given the lake its name.

About one mile from the shore on which we stood were two islands, oval in form and of equal length. These islands are covered by a wood so thick that it entirely conceals the earth that supports it; you would say two clumps of trees floating peacefully on the surface of the lake.

No road passes near this place; you do not see in these regions great industrial establishments, or places famous for their picturesque beauty. Yet it was not chance that had led us close to this solitary lake. It was on the contrary the goal and the end of our journey.

Already many years ago, a book entitled Journey to Lake Oneida had fallen into my hands.c The author told about a young Frenchman and his Edition: current; Page: [1298] wife, chased from their country by the storms of our first Revolution, who had come to seek a refuge on one of the islands that the lake surrounds with its waters.d There, separated from the entire universe, far from the tempests of Europe, and rejected by the society that gave them birth, these two unfortunates lived for each other, consoled each other in their misfortune.

The book had left a deep and lasting mark on my soul. Whether this effect on me was due to the talent of the author, to the real charm of events, or to the influence of age, I could not say; but the remembrance of the two French inhabitants of Lake Oneida had not faded from my memory. How many times had I not envied the tranquil delights of their solitude. The domestic happiness, the charms of the married state, love itself mingling in my mind with the image of the solitary island where my imagination had created a new Eden. This story, told to my traveling companion, had deeply moved him in turn. We often happened to talk about it, and we always ended up repeating either with laughter or with sadness: happiness in the world exists only on the shores of Lake Oneida. When events that were impossible for us to foresee posted us both to America, this memory returned to us with more force. We promised ourselves to go to visit our two French compatriots if they still existed, or at least to travel over to their dwelling-place. Admire here the strange power of the imagination over the mind of man; these wild places, this silent and immobile lake, these islands covered with greenery did not strike us as new objects; on the contrary, we seemed to see once again a place where we had passed part of our youth.

We hurried to enter the fisherman’s cabin. The man was in the woods. An old woman lived there alone. She came limping to greet us at the doorway of her house. “What do you call this green island that arises a mile from here in the middle of the lake?” we said to her. “It is called Frenchman’s Edition: current; Page: [1299] island,” she answered. “Do you know why it has been given that name?” “I am told it was named this because of a Frenchman who, many years ago, came there to live.” “Was he alone?” “No, he brought his young wife with him.” “Do they still live in this place?” “Twenty-one years ago, when I came to settle in this place, the French were no longer on the island.”e I recall that I had the curiosity to go to visit it. This island that appears so wild to you from here was then a beautiful place; its interior was carefully cultivated, the house of the French was placed in the middle of an orchard, surrounded by fruits and flowers. A large vinestock climbed up its walls and then surrounded it on all sides, but without an inhabitant, the house had already fallen into ruins. “So what became of the two French?” “The woman died, the man abandoned the island, and we don’t know what became of him since.” “Could you entrust us with the boat that is tied by your door in order to cross the part of the lake that separates us from the island?” “Very willingly, but it is a long way to row and the work is hard for men who are not used to it, and besides what could you see of interest in a place that has become wild again?”

Since we hastened, without answering her, to put the dingy in the water, she said, “I see what it is, you want to buy this island; the soil is good and land is not yet expensive in our district.” We answered her that we were travelers. “Then,” she started again, “you are undoubtedly relatives of the Frenchman, and he charged you with visiting his property.” “Even less,” we replied, “we do not even know his name.”f The good woman shook her head with incredulity and we, maneuvering the oars, began to advance rapidly toward Frenchman’s island.

During this short crossing, we kept a profound silence; our hearts were full of sweet and painful emotions. As we approached, it made less sense to us that this island could have been inhabited once, so wild were its surroundings. Edition: current; Page: [1300] Little was needed for us to believe ourselves the victims of a false report. Finally we reached its bank, and slipping under the immense branches that the trees projected over the lake, we began to penetrate further. We first crossed a circle of century-old trees that seemed to defend the approach to the place. Beyond the rampart of foliage we suddenly discovered another sight. A sparse undergrowth and a young cluster of trees filled the whole interior of the island. In the forests that we had crossed in the morning, we had often seen man struggling, hand to hand, against nature, and succeeding, though with difficulty, to remove its energetic and wild character in order to bend it to his laws. Here, on the contrary, we saw the forest reclaiming its dominion, marching once again toward the conquest of the wilderness, defying man and making the fleeting traces of his victory disappear rapidly.

It was easy to recognize that a diligent hand had once cleared the place now occupied in the center of the island by the young generation of trees that I spoke about. You did not find old trunks spread over the debris. Everything there, on the contrary, smacked of youth. It was clear that the surrounding trees had grown offshoots in the middle of the abandoned fields, weeds had grown in the place that formerly supported the crop of the exile, brambles and parasitic plants had come to retake possession of their former domain. Scarcely here and there did you find the trace of a fence or the sign of a field. For an hour we tried unsuccessfully to find a few vestiges of the abandoned house in the foliage of the woods and amid the undergrowth that cluttered the ground. This rural luxury that the wife of the fisherman had just described to us, the lawn, the flowerbed, the flowers, the fruits, these products of civilization that an ingenious tenderness had introduced into the middle of a wilderness, all had disappeared with the beings who had lived there. We were going to give up our effort, when we noticed an apple tree half dead of old age; this began to put us on the track. Near there a plant that we at first took for a creeper climbed along the highest trees intertwining with their slender trunks or hanging like a garland of foliage from their branches; examining it more closely, we recognized a vinestock. Then we were able to judge with certainty that we were on the very emplacement chosen, forty years ago, by our two unfortunate compatriots to make their last refuge. But barely by digging in the Edition: current; Page: [1301] thick bed of leaves that covered the soil, were we able to find a few remnants falling into rot that in a bit of time would have ceased to exist. As for the very remains of the woman who was not afraid to exchange the delights of civilized life for a tomb in a deserted island of the New World, it was impossible for us to find a trace. Had the exile left this precious trust in the wilderness? Had he, on the contrary, carried it to the place where he himself ended his life? No one could tell us that.

Perhaps those who will read these lines will not imagine the sentiments that they recount and will treat them as exaggeration and chimera? But I will say nonetheless that, with our hearts full of emotion, agitated by fears and hopes, and animated by a sort of religious sentiment, we devoted ourselves to this minute research and pursued the traces of these two beings whose name, family and, in part, whose story were unknown to us. They attracted our attention only because they had felt in these very places the sufferings and joys that have their source in all hearts and are therefore of interest to all hearts.g

Is there a misery greater than that of this man!

Here is an unfortunate man whom human society has offended; his fellows have rejected, banished him and forced him to renounce their company and then to flee from them into the wilderness. A single being attached herself to his steps, followed him into seclusion, came to dress the wounds of his soul and to substitute for the joys of the world the most penetrating emotions of the heart. There he is reconciled to his destiny. He has forgotten revolutions, parties, cities, his family, his rank, his fortune; he finally breathes. His wife dies. Death comes to strike her and it spares him. Unfortunate man! What is to become of him? Is he going to remain alone in the wilderness? Will he return to a society where he has been forgotten for a long time? He is no longer made either for seclusion or for the world; he would no longer know how to live either with men or without them; he is neither a savage nor a civilized man; he is nothing but a remnant similar to those trees of the American forest that the wind has had the strength to uproot, but not to pull down; he is upright, but he is no longer living.

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After traveling across the island in all directions, after visiting its slightest remnants, and after listening to the icy silence that now reigns beneath its shadows, we retook the road to the continent.h

Not without regret, I saw the vast rampart of greenery fade into the distance. It had for so many years known how to defend the two exiles against the European’s bullet and the savage’s arrow, but it was not able to hide their cottage from the invisible blows of death.j

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appendix 2: A Fortnight in the Wildernessa

Written aboard the steamboat “Superior.” Begun the first of August 1831.

One of the things that most intensely piqued our curiosity when coming to America was to travel across the farthest limits of European civilization and, if time permitted, even to visit a few of those Indian tribes that have preferred to flee into the most untamed wilderness than to yield to what whites call the delights of the life of society. But it is more difficult than you think to find the wilderness today. From New York, as we advanced toward the northwest, the goal of our journey seemed to flee before us. We traveled through some places famous in the history of the Indians; we encountered valleys that they named; we crossed rivers that still carry the name of their tribes, but everywhere the hut of the savage has given way to the house of the civilized man. The woods had fallen; the uninhabited places took on life.

We seemed, however, to follow in the footsteps of the natives. People said to us, ten years ago they were here; there, five years ago; there, two years ago. In the place where you see the most beautiful church of the village, a person told us, I cut down the first tree of the forest. Here, another told Edition: current; Page: [1304] us, the great council of the Iroquois confederation took place. “And what has become of the Indians,” I said? “The Indians,” our host replied, “they are beyond the Great Lakes, I do not know where. It is a race that is becoming extinct; they are not made for civilization: it kills them.”

Man becomes accustomed to everything. To death on the fields of battle, to death in hospitals, to kill and to suffer. He gets used to all sights. An ancient people, the first and the legitimate master of the American continent, melts away daily like snow in the rays of the sun and disappears before your eyes from the surface of the earth. In the same areas and in its place, another race increases with a still more surprising rapidity. By this race forests fall, swamps are drained; lakes like seas, immense rivers vainly resist its triumphant march. Uninhabited places become villages, villages become cities. The daily witness to these marvels, the American sees nothing in all of that to astonish him. This unbelievable destruction, this still more surprising increase seems to him the usual course of the events of this world. He becomes accustomed to it as if to the immutable order of nature.

Thus, always in search of savages and of the wilderness, we traveled across the 360 miles that separate New York from Buffalo.

The first object that struck our eyes was a large number of Indians who had gathered that day in Buffalo to receive payment for the lands they had surrendered to the United States.

I do not believe I have ever felt a more complete disappointment than at the sight of these Indians. I was full of memories of M. de Chateaubriandb and of Cooper, and I expected to see, in the natives of America, Edition: current; Page: [1305] savages on whose face nature had left the trace of some of those lofty virtues that the spirit of liberty brings forth. I thought I would find in them men whose bodies had been developed by hunting and war and who would lose nothing by being seen naked. You can judge my astonishment by comparing this portrait with the one that is about to follow:

The Indians that I saw that night were small in stature; their limbs, as much as you could judge them under their clothing, were spindly and a bit wiry; their skin, instead of presenting a tint of reddish copper, as is commonly believed, was of a bronze so dark at first glance it seemed to be very close to that of mulattos. Their black and shining hair fell with a singular straightness onto their necks and shoulders. Their mouths were in general Edition: current; Page: [1306] inordinately large, the facial expression ignoble and nasty. Their physiognomy proclaimed their profound depravity that only a long abuse of the benefits of civilization can give. You would have said men belonging to the lowest population of our great European cities. And yet they were still savages. With the vices that they got from us, was mingled something of the barbaric and uncivilized that made them a hundred times still more repulsive. These Indians did not carry weapons. They were covered by European clothes, but they did not use them in the same way we did.c You saw that they were not used to them and still found themselves imprisoned in their folds. With the ornaments of Europe, they joined products of a barbaric luxury, feathers, enormous earrings and shell necklaces. The movements of these men were rapid and disorderly, their voices shrill and discordant, their looks restless and savage. At first sight, you would have been tempted to see in each one of them only a beast of the forest to which education had been quite able to give the appearance of a man, but that had nonetheless remained an animal. These weak and depraved creatures belonged, however, to one of the most famous tribes of the former American world. We had before us, and it is pitiful to say so, the last remnants of the celebrated Confederation of the Iroquois whose manly wisdom was no less known than their courage and who for a long time held the balance between the two greatest European nations.

You would be wrong, however, to want to judge the Indian race on the basis of this ill-formed example, this lost offshoot of a wild tree that had grown up in the mire of our cities. That would be to repeat the error that we committed ourselves and that we had the occasion to recognize later.

That evening we left the city and a little distance from the last houses we saw an Indian lying along the road. It was a young man. He was motionless and we thought he was dead. A few stifled groans that escaped painfully from his chest let us know that he was still alive and was fighting one of those dangerous bouts of drunkenness caused by brandy. The sun had Edition: current; Page: [1307] already set; the ground was becoming more and more damp. Everything announced that this unfortunate young man would give up his last breath there, unless he were helped. It was the time when the Indians left Buffalo to go back to their village; from time to time a group of them happened to pass by near us. They approached, brutally turned over the body of their compatriot in order to see who he was and then began to walk again without deigning to respond to our comments. Most of these men were drunk themselves. Finally a young Indian woman came along who at first seemed to approach with a certain interest. I thought that it was the wife or the sister of the dying man. She looked at him attentively, called his name out loud, felt his heart and, being assured that he was alive, tried to draw him out of his lethargy. But since her efforts were futile, we saw her become furious with this inanimate body that lay before her. She struck his head, twisted his face with her hands, trampled on him. While abandoning herself to these acts of ferocity, she let out inarticulate and wild cries that, at this time, still seem to reverberate in my ears. Finally we believed that we had to intervene, and we ordered her peremptorily to withdraw. She obeyed, but we heard her let out a burst of barbaric laughter as she went away.

Back in the city, we told several people about the young Indian. We spoke about the imminent danger to which he was exposed; we even offered to pay his expenses at an inn. All of that was futile. We couldn’t get anyone to get involved. Some said to us: These men are used to drinking to excess and to sleeping on the ground. They do not die of such accidents. Others asserted that probably the Indian would die; but you read this half-expressed thought on their lips: What is the life of an Indian? That, deep down, was the general sentiment. Amidst this society so well-ordered, so prudish, so full of morality and virtue, you find a complete insensitivity; a sort of cold and implacable egoism when it concerns the natives of America. The inhabitants of the United States do not hunt the Indians with hounds and horn as the Spanish of Mexico did. But it is the same ruthless sentiment that animates the European race here as well as everywhere else.

How many times in the course of our travels did we not meet honest city dwellers who said to us in the evening, calmly seated in a corner of Edition: current; Page: [1308] their home: Each day the number of Indians is decreasing. It isn’t that we often wage war on them, but the brandy that we sell to them at a low cost removes more of them every year than we could do with our arms. This world belongs to us, they added; God, by denying its first inhabitants the ability to become more civilized, destined them in advance to an inevitable destruction. The true owners of the continent are those who know how to make the most of its riches.

Satisfied with his reasoning the American goes to church where he hears a minister of the Gospel repeat to him that men are brothers and that the eternal being, who made them all on the same model, gave to all of them the duty to help one another.

* * * * *

On July 19 at ten o’clock in the morning we boarded the steamboat Ohio, taking us toward Detroit. A very strong breeze blew from the northwest and gave the waters of Lake Erie all the appearance of the agitation of ocean waves. To the right spread a limitless horizon, to the left we kept close to the southern coasts of the lake which we often approached close enough to hear voices. These coasts were perfectly flat and differed from those of all the lakes that I had had the occasion to visit in Europe. Nor did they resemble the shores of the sea. Immense forests shaded them and formed a sort of thick and rarely broken belt around the lake.d From time to time, however, the country suddenly changes appearance. Coming around a woods, you notice the elegant spire of a church steeple, houses sparkling with whiteness and cleanliness, shops. Two steps further, the primitive and seemingly impenetrable forest regains its sway and again its foliage is reflected in the waters of the lake.

Those who have traveled throughout the United States will find in this picture a striking emblem of American society. Everything there is abrupt Edition: current; Page: [1309] and unexpected; everywhere extreme civilization and nature abandoned to itself are found together and, in a way, face to face. It is not what you imagine in France. As for me, in my traveler’s illusions—and what class of men does not have its own—I imagined something entirely different. I had noticed that in Europe, the more or less isolated state in which a province or a city was found, its wealth or its poverty, its small or large size exercised an immense influence on the ideas, the mores, the whole civilization of its inhabitants and often put the difference of several centuries between the various parts of the same territory.

I thought it was so with more reason in the New World, and that a country, populated in an incomplete and partial manner as America, had to present all the conditions of existence and offer the image of society across all the ages. So America, according to me, was the only country in which you could follow step by step all the transformations that the social state imposed on man and in which it was possible to see those transformations like a vast chain that descended link by link from the opulent patrician of the cities to the savage of the wilderness. There, in a word, I expected to find the entire history of humanity enclosed within a few degrees of longitude.

Nothing is true in this picture. Of all the countries in the world, America is the least appropriate for providing the spectacle that I was coming to find there. In America, still more than in Europe, there is only a single society.e It can be rich or poor, humble or brilliant, commercial or agricultural, but everywhere it is composed of the same elements. The leveling effect of an equal civilization has passed over it. The man that you have left in the streets of New York, you will find again in the middle of the nearly impenetrable wilderness; the same clothing, same spirit, same language, same habits, same pleasures. Nothing rustic, nothing naive, nothing that feels like the wilderness, nothing that even resembles our villages. The reason for this singular state of things is easy to understand. The portions of the territories populated earliest and most completely have achieved a high level of civilization, instruction has been lavished there profusely, the spirit of equality [{the republican spirit}] has given a singularly uniform color to the internal habits of life. Now, note it well, these are precisely the same men who go Edition: current; Page: [1310] each year to populate the wilderness. In Europe, each man lives and dies on the soil where he was born. In America, nowhere do you find representatives of a race that has multiplied in the wilderness after living there for a long time, unknown to the world and left to its own efforts. Those who inhabit these isolated places arrived there yesterday. They came with the mores, the ideas, the needs of civilization. They yield to savage life only what the imperious nature of things requires of them. From that the most bizarre contrasts result. You pass without transition from the wilderness to the street of a city, from the most wild scenes to the most pleasant pictures of civilized life. If night surprises you, do not force yourself to take shelter at the foot of a tree; you have a great chance of arriving in a village where you will find everything, even including French fashions and caricatures of boulevards. The merchant of Buffalo and of Detroit is as well supplied as that of New York; the mills of Lyons work for the one as for the other. You leave the main roads, you plunge along paths hardly cleared. You finally see a cleared field, a cabin made of logs half-hewn where daylight enters only by a narrow window; you finally believe you have reached the dwelling of the American peasant. Error. You penetrate the cabin that seems to be the home of all miseries, but the owner of this place wears the same clothes as you; he speaks the language of the cities. On the crude table are books and newspapers; the owner himself hastens to take you inside in order to know exactly what is happening in old Europe and to ask you for an accounting about what has struck you the most in his country. He will draw on paper a military campaign plan for the Belgians, and will teach you gravely what remains to be done for the prosperity of France. [≠He hastens to draw you away from the dramas of his country in order to talk to you about old Europe. He will say to you that the Poles have won [lost? (ed.)] at Ostrolenka and will inform you that a majority of one hundred votes has just destroyed the heredity peerage in the hereditary monarchy of France.≠] You would think you are seeing a rich landowner who has come to live temporarily for a few nights at a hunting camp. And in fact, the log cabin is for the American only a momentary shelter, a temporary concession made to the necessity of circumstances. When the fields that surround it are entirely in production and when the new owner has the leisure to occupy himself with Edition: current; Page: [1311] the pleasant things of life, a house more spacious and more appropriate to his needs will replace the log house and will serve as a shelter for the numerous children who one day will also go off to create a dwelling in the wilderness.

But, to come back to our journey, we navigated with difficulty all day long in sight of the coasts of Pennsylvania and later those of Ohio. We stopped for a moment at Presqu’Ile, today Erie. That is where the canal from Pittsburgh will end. By means of this work, whose complete execution is, they say, easy and now certain, the Mississippi will communicate with the River of the North and the riches of Europe will circulate freely across the five hundred leagues of land that separate the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean.

In the evening, the weather having become favorable, we headed rapidly toward Detroit by crossing the middle of the lake. The following morning, we were in sight of the small island called Middle Sister near where, in 1814, Commodore Perry won a famous naval victory over the English.

A little later, the even coasts of Canada seemed to approach rapidly and we saw the Detroit River opening before us and, appearing in the distance, the walls of Fort Malden. This place, founded by the French, still bears numerous traces of its origin. The houses have the form and the placement of those of our peasants. In the center of the hamlet arises the Catholic church tower surmounted by a cock. You would say a village around Caen or Evreux. While we considered, not without emotion, this image of France, our attention was diverted by the sight of a singular spectacle. To our right, on the river bank, a Scottish soldier mounted guard in full uniform. He wore the uniform that the fields of Waterloo have made so famous. The feathered cap, the jacket, nothing was missing; the sun made his uniform and his weapons glisten. To our left, and as if to provide a parallel for us, two entirely naked Indians, their bodies gaudy with colors, their noses pierced by rings, arrived at the same moment on the opposite bank. They climbed into a small bark canoe in which a blanket formed the sail. Abandoning this fragile, small boat to the work of the wind and current, they darted like an arrow toward our vessel, which they went around in an instant. Then they went calmly to fish near the English soldier who, Edition: current; Page: [1312] still glistening and immobile, seemed placed there like the representative of the brilliant and armed civilization of Europe.

We arrived at Detroit at three o’clock. Detroit is a small city of two or three thousand souls that the Jesuits founded in the middle of the woods in 1710 and that still contains a large number of French families.

We had crossed the entire State of New York and done one hundred leagues on Lake Erie; this time we touched upon the limits of civilization, but we did not know at all where we needed to head. To find out was not something as easy as you may believe. To travel through nearly impenetrable forests, to cross deep rivers, to face pestilential swamps, to sleep exposed to the dampness of the woods, these are the efforts that the American imagines without difficulty if it is a matter of earning a dollar; for that is the point. But that someone would do similar things out of curiosity, this does not occur to his mind. Add that living in the wilderness, he prizes only the work of man. He will gladly send you to visit a road, a bridge, a beautiful village. But that you attach a value to great trees and to a beautiful solitude, that is absolutely beyond him.f

So nothing is more difficult than to find someone able to understand you. You want to see the forest, our hosts said smilingly to us; go straight ahead of you, you will find what you want. In the vicinity there are as a matter of fact new roads and well-cleared paths. As for the Indians, you will see too many of them in our public squares and in our streets; there is no need to go farther for that. Those Indians at least are beginning to become civilized and have a less savage appearance. We didn’t take long to realize that it was impossible to obtain the truth from them by frontal assault and that we had to maneuver.

So we went to the official charged by the United States with the sale of the still unoccupied lands covering the district of Michigan; we presented ourselves to him as men who, without having a well-fixed intention of settling in the country, could nonetheless have a long-term interest in knowing the price of the lands and their situation. Major Biddle,g which was the Edition: current; Page: [1313] name of the official, understood marvelously this time what we wanted to do and immediately launched into a host of details that we listened to eagerly. This part, he says to us, showing us on the map the St. Joseph river, which after long twistings and turnings, discharges into Lake Michigan, seems to be the most suitable for meeting your plans; the land is good there; some beautiful villages have already been established, and the road that leads there is so well maintained that every day public coaches travel it. Good! we said to ourselves; we now know where we should not go unless we want to visit the wilderness by postal coach. We thanked Mr. Biddle for his advice and asked him, with an air of indifference and a kind of scorn, what was the portion of the district where until now the current of emigration made itself least felt. “Over here,” he says to us, without giving more value to his words than we to our question, “toward the northwest. Toward Pontiac and in the area surrounding this village some quite beautiful settlements have been recently founded. But you must not think about settling farther away; the country is covered by an almost impenetrable forest that extends endlessly toward the northwest, where you find only wild beasts and Indians. The United States plans to open a road there shortly; but as yet it has only been started and stops at Pontiac. I repeat to you, it is a part that you must not think about.” We again thanked Mr. Biddle for his good counsel and we left determined to do exactly the opposite.h We were beside Edition: current; Page: [1314] ourselves with joy at finally knowing a place that had not yet been reached by the torrent of European civilization.

The next day, July 23,j we hastened to rent two horses. Since we expected to keep them for ten days, we wanted to put a certain price in the hands of the owner; but he refused to accept it, saying that we would pay when we returned. He was not worried. Michigan is surrounded on all sides by lakes and wilderness; he let us loose in a kind of riding school, whose door he held. So after purchasing a compass as well as provisions, we got underway, rifle over the shoulder, with as much lack of concern about the future and as lightheartedly as two schoolboys who would be leaving school to go to spend their vacation at their father’s house.

If in fact we had only wanted to see the forest, our hosts of Detroit would have been right to tell us that it was not necessary to go very far, for one mile from the city the road entered into the forest never to emerge again. Edition: current; Page: [1315] The terrain on which the road is found is perfectly flat and often swampy. From time to time new clearings are found on the way. Since these settlements perfectly resemble each other, whether they are found deep in Michigan or at the door of New York, I am going to try to describe them here once and for all.k

The small bells that the pioneer carefully hangs around the necks of his animals in order to find them in the thick woods announce from afar the approach to a clearing. Soon you hear the sound of the ax that fells the trees of the forest and, as you approach, signs of destruction announce still more clearly the presence of man. Cut branches cover the road, trunks half-charred by fire or mutilated by iron, still stand upright along your passage. You continue your march and you come to a woods in which all the trees seem to have been stricken by sudden death. In the middle of summer their dry branches present nothing more than the image of winter. Examining them more closely, you notice that in their bark a deep circle has been traced that, stopping the circulation of sap, did not take long to make them die. This in fact is how the planter usually begins. Not able the first year to cut all the trees that cover his new property, he sows corn under their branches and, by killing them, he prevents them from shading his crop. After this field, an incomplete beginning, a first step of civilization in the wilderness, you suddenly see the cabin of the landowner. It is generally placed in the center of a ground more carefully cultivated than the rest, but where man still sustains an unequal battle against nature. There the trees have been cut, but not uprooted; their trunks still cover and clutter the ground that they formerly shaded. Around these dried-up remains, wheat, oak shoots, plants of all types, weeds of all kinds grow jumbled together and increase together on an intractable and still half-wild ground. At the center of this vigorous and varied vegetation arises the house of the planter, or as it is called in this country, the log house. Like the field around it, this rustic dwelling announces a new and Edition: current; Page: [1316] hurried work. Its length rarely exceeds 30 feet. It is 20 feet wide, 15 feet high. Its walls as well as the roof are formed from tree trunks not squared off, between which moss and earth have been placed to prevent the cold and the rain from penetrating the interior of the house. As the traveler approaches, the scene becomes more animated. Warned by the sound of his footsteps, the children who were rolling around in the surrounding debris, get up precipitously and flee toward the parental refuge, as though frightened at the sight of a man, while two large half-wild dogs, ears upright and muzzles elongated, emerge from the cabin and come growling to cover the retreat of their young masters.

Then the pioneer himself appears at the door of his dwelling; he casts a searching glance at the new arrival, signals to his dogs to come back into the house and hastens to serve as their example himself without exhibiting either curiosity or concern.

At the entry of the log house, the European cannot prevent himself from casting an astonished eye over the spectacle that it presents.

There is generally in this cabin only a single window at which a muslin curtain sometimes hangs; for in these places, where it is not rare to see necessities missing, superfluities are frequently found. On the hearth of beaten earth crackles a resinous fire that, better than the day, lights up the interior of the building. Above this rustic hearth, you see trophies of war or hunting; a long rifle with a grooved barrel, a deerskin, eagle feathers. To the right of the chimney a map of the United States is often spread, which the wind, coming through the chinks in the wall, flaps and agitates constantly. Near it, on a single shelf of rough hewn planks are placed a few random volumes: a Bible whose cover and edges are already worn by the piety of two generations, a book of prayers, and sometimes a canto of Milton or a Shakespeare tragedy [{a history of America, a few pious stories and some newspapers}]. Along the walls are placed a few crude seats, fruit of the owner’s industry, trunks instead of armoires, agricultural implements and some samples of the harvest. At the center of the room is a wobbly table whose legs, still covered with foliage, seem to have grown by themselves out of the earth on the spot occupied by the table. That is where the entire family gathers each day to take its meals. There you also see a teapot Edition: current; Page: [1317] of English porcelain, spoons usually of wood, a few chipped cups and some newspapers.

The appearance of the master of this dwelling is no less remarkable than the place that serves as his shelter.

Angular muscles, slender limbs make the inhabitant of New England recognizable at first glance. This man was not born in the wilderness where he lives. His constitution alone declares it. His first years were spent within an intellectual and reasoning society. It is his will that has thrown him into the wilderness undertakings for which he seems so little fit. But if his physical strength seems not up to his enterprise, on his features furrowed by the cares of life, there reigns an air of practical intelligence, of cold and persevering energy that is striking at first sight. His gait is slow and formal, his words measured and his appearance austere. Habit and, even more, pride have given his face this stoic rigidity that his actions belie. The pioneer scorns, it is true, what often agitates the heart of men most violently; his goods and his life will never follow the chance of a throw of the dice or the fortunes of a woman; but, to gain comfort, he has faced exile, solitude and the innumerable miseries of uncivilized life; he has slept on the bare ground; he has been exposed to forest fever and to the Indian’s tomahawk. He made this effort one day, he has duplicated it for years; he will do it perhaps for another twenty years, without discouragement and without complaint. [{In the pursuit of what he regards as the goal of his entire life, every competitor, every adversary will become an enemy to whom an implacable hatred will be attached as durable as the sentiment that gave birth to it. Is that a man without passions [v: cold and unfeeling]?}] Is a man who is capable of such sacrifices a cold and unfeeling being? Shouldn’t we, on the contrary, recognize in him one of those mental passions that are so ardent, so tenacious, so implacable? Concentrated on this sole goal of making a fortune, the emigrant has finished by creating an entirely individual existence; the sentiments of family have themselves merged into a vast egoism, and it is doubtful that in his wife and his children he sees anything other than a detached portion of himself. Deprived of habitual relationships with his fellows, he has learned to make solitude a pleasure. When you present yourself at the threshold of his isolated dwelling, the pioneer advances to meet you; he offers his hand as is the custom, but his physiognomy Edition: current; Page: [1318] expresses neither welcome nor joy. He speaks only to interrogate you; it is a need of the head and not of the heart that he is satisfying, and scarcely has he drawn from you the news that he desired to learn than he falls back into silence. You would think you were seeing a man who withdrew in the evening into his house fatigued by troublesome individuals and the chatter of the world. Interrogate him in turn; he will intelligently give you the information you lack; he will even provide for your needs; he will look to your safety as long as you are under his roof. But so much restraint and pride reign in all his conduct, you see in it such a profound indifference about even the result of his efforts, that you feel your gratitude cool. The pioneer is hospitable in his way, but his hospitality in no way touches you because he seems, while exercising it, to be submitting to a painful necessity of the wilderness. He sees in hospitality a duty that his position imposes on him, not a pleasure. This unknown man is the representative of a restless, reasoning and adventurous race that does coldly what only the ardor of the passions explains, who traffics in everything without exception, even morality and religion.

A nation of conquerors who submit to leading savage life without ever letting themselves be carried away by its sweet pleasures, who love civilization and enlightenment only when they are useful for well-being, and who shut themselves up in the wilderness of America with an ax and some newspapers; a people who, like all great peoples, has only one thought, and who advances toward the acquisition of wealth, the only goal of its efforts, with a perseverance and a scorn for life that you could call heroic, if the word was suitable for something other than the efforts of virtue. This wandering people, not stopped by rivers and lakes, before whom forests fall and prairies are covered with shade, will, after touching the Pacific Ocean, retrace its steps and destroy the societies that it will have formed behind it.

While speaking about the pioneer, you cannot forget the companion of his miseries and of his dangers. See at the other end of the room, this young woman who, while overseeing preparations for the meal, rocks her youngest son on her knees. Like the emigrant, this woman is in the prime of life, like him she can recall the comfort of her earliest years. Her dress still announces even now a barely extinguished taste for finery. But time has weighed Edition: current; Page: [1319] heavily on her. On her features faded before their time, on her weakened limbs, it is easy to see that existence has been a heavy burden for her. In fact this frail creature has already been exposed to incredible miseries. Hardly entered into life, she had to tear herself away from the tenderness of her mother and these sweet fraternal bonds that the young woman never abandons without shedding tears, even when she leaves them to go to share the opulent house of a new husband. The wife of the pioneer, removed in a moment and without hope of return from this innocent cradle of youth, has exchanged the charms of society and the joys of the domestic home for the solitude of the forests. Her nuptial bed was placed on the bare earth of the wilderness. To devote herself to her austere duties, to submit to privations that were unknown to her, to embrace an existence for which she was not made, such was the use of the best years of her life, such have been for her the sweet pleasures of the conjugal union. Deprivation, sufferings and boredom have altered her fragile structure, but not weakened her courage. Amid the profound sadness painted on her delicate features, you easily notice a religious resignation, a profound peace, and I do not know what natural and tranquil steadfastness that meets all the miseries of life without fearing or defying them.

Around this woman crowd half-dressed children, shining with health, unconcerned about tomorrow, true sons of the wilderness. Their mother from time to time gives them a look full of melancholy and joy; to see their strength and her weakness, you would say that she has exhausted herself by giving life to them, and that she does not regret what they have cost her.

The house inhabited by the emigrants has no interior walls or attic. Into the single room that it contains, the entire family comes at night to find shelter. This dwelling by itself alone forms like a small world. It is the ark of civilization lost amid an ocean of leaves, a sort of oasis in the desert. One hundred steps further the endless forest spreads its shadow and the wilderness begins again.

* * * * *

We arrived at Pontiac only after the sun went down and it was evening. Twenty very clean and exceedingly pretty buildings, forming as many well Edition: current; Page: [1320] supplied stores, a limpid stream, a clearing of a quarter league square, and the endless forest around it: there is the faithful picture of the village of Pontiac that in twenty years will perhaps be a city. The sight of this place reminded me of what Mr. Gallatin had said to me a month before in New York;m there are no villages in America, at least in the sense that we give to the word. Here the houses of the farmers are all spread out among the fields. People do not gather in one place except to establish a kind of market for the use of the surrounding population. You see in these so-called villages only men of law, printers or merchants.

We were directed to the most beautiful inn in Pontiacn (for there are two) and we were brought as is customary into what is called the bar room. It is a room where you are given drinks and where the simplest worker as well as the richest merchant of the place come to smoke, to drink, and to talk politics together on the most perfect outwardly equal footing. The master of the place or the landlord was, I will not say a large peasant, there are no peasants in America, but at least a very large man who wore on his face that expression of candor and simplicity that distinguishes Norman horse traders. He was a man who, for fear of intimidating you, never looked you in the face while speaking, but waited to look at you when he felt comfortable, while you were occupied conversing elsewhere. Moreover, a profound politician and, following American habits, an unrelenting questioner. This respected citizen, as well as the rest of the assembly, considered us at first with astonishment. Our travel clothes and our guns hardly announced business entrepreneurs, and to travel simply to see was something absolutely unaccustomed. In order to cut explanations short, we declared Edition: current; Page: [1321] right at the beginning that we came to buy land. Hardly were the words said, than we noticed that by trying to avoid one evil we had thrown ourselves into another very much more formidable one.

They ceased treating us, it is true, like extraordinary beings, but each one wanted to do business with us; to get rid of them and their farms, we said to our host that before concluding anything, we would like to obtain from him useful information about the price of land and about how to cultivate it. He immediately brought us into another room, with a fitting slowness spread a map of Michigan on the oak table that was in the middle of the room and, placing the candle between the three of us, waited in an impassive silence for what we had to say to him. The reader, without having like us the intention of settling in one of the uninhabited places of America, may nonetheless be curious to know how so many thousands of Europeans and Americans who come each year to find shelter there set about to do so. So I am going to transcribe here the information provided by our host from Pontiac. Often since, we have indeed been able to verify the perfect exactness of his information.o

“Here it is not like in France,” our host said to us after having calmly heard all our questions and snuffed out the candle; “in your country labor is cheap and land is expensive; here buying land costs nothing and the labor of men is beyond price. I am saying this in order to show you that, to settle in America as in Europe, capital is necessary, although it is used differently. Edition: current; Page: [1322] For my part, I would not advise anyone, no matter who it may be, to come to seek a fortune in our wilderness unless having at his disposition a sum of 150 to 200 dollars (800 to 1,000 francs). An acre in Michigan1 never costs more than 10 shillings (about 6 Fr., 50 c.) when the land is still uncultivated. So a worker can earn in one day what it takes to buy an acre. But the purchase made, the difficulty begins. Here is how you generally set about to overcome it. The pioneer goes to the place that he has just bought with a few animals, salted pork, two barrels of wheat and some tea. If he finds a cabin near, he goes there and receives temporary hospitality. In the opposite case he puts up a tent in the very middle of the woods that is to become his field. His first care is to cut down the nearest trees, with which he hastily builds the crude house whose structure you have already been able to examine. Among us, the maintenance of animals scarcely costs anything. The emigrant releases them into the forest after attaching a small iron bell to them. It is very rare for these animals, left to themselves in this way, to leave the area around their home. The greatest expense is that of clearing the land. If the pioneer arrives in the wilderness with a family able to aid him in his first efforts, his task is easy enough. But it is rarely so. In general the emigrant is young and, if he already has children, they are young. Then he must provide alone for all the first needs of his family or hire the services of his neighbors. It costs him from 4 to 5 dollars (from 20 to 25 francs) to have an acre cleared. Once the land is prepared, the new owner puts one acre in potatoes, the rest in wheat and corn. Corn is the providence of these wilderness areas; it grows in the water of our swamps and sprouts beneath the foliage of the forest better than under the rays of the sun.p It is corn that saves the family of the emigrant from an inevitable destruction, when poverty, illness or negligence have prevented him from sufficiently clearing the land during the first year. There is nothing more difficult to get through Edition: current; Page: [1323] than the first years that follow the clearing of the land. Later comes comfort, and then wealth.”

This is how our host spoke; as for us, we listened to these simple details with almost as much interest as if we had wanted to profit from them ourselves; and when he became silent, we said to him:

“The land of all these uninhabited forests is generally swampy and unhealthy; doesn’t the emigrant who exposes himself to the miseries of the wilderness at least fear for his life?” “All clearing of the land is a perilous undertaking,” replied the American, “and it is almost without example that the pioneer or his family escapes forest fever during the first year. Often when you travel in the autumn, you find all the inhabitants of the cabin suffering from the fever, from the emigrant to his youngest son.” “And what becomes of these unfortunates when Providence strikes them like that?” “They resign themselves while waiting for a better future.” “But do they hope for some help from their fellows?” “Almost none.” “Can they at least obtain help from medicine?” “The closest doctor often lives 60 miles from their house. They do as the Indians; they die or are cured depending on God’s pleasure.” We began again: “Does the voice of religion sometimes come to them?” “Very rarely; we have not yet been able to provide for anything in our woods to assure the public observation of a religion. Nearly every summer, it is true, a few Methodist preachers come to travel through the new settlements. Word of their arrival spreads with an incredible rapidity from cabin to cabin; it is the great news of the day. At the time appointed, the emigrant, his wife and his children, head along the paths scarcely cleared through the forest toward the indicated meeting place. People come there from 50 miles around. The faithful do not gather in a church but in the open, under the leaves of the forest. A pulpit made from rough-hewn trunks, large trees turned over to serve as pews, these are the adornments of this rustic church. The pioneers and their families camp in the woods that surround it; there for three days and three nights the crowd practices religious exercises rarely interrupted. You have to see how ardently these men give themselves to prayer, with what reverence they listen to the solemn voice of the preacher. It is in the wilderness that they show themselves famished for religion.” “A final question. It is generally believed among us that the Edition: current; Page: [1324] wilderness of America is populated with the help of European emigration. So how is it that since we have been traveling through your forests, we haven’t happened to meet a single European?” A smile of superiority and satisfied pride was written on the features of our host upon hearing this question:

It is only Americans, he answered emphatically, who can have the courage to submit to such miseries and who know how to buy comfort at such a price. The European emigrant stops in the large cities that are on the coast or in the districts surrounding them. There, he becomes artisan, farm laborer, valet. He leads a more pleasant life than in Europe and appears satisfied to leave the same inheritance to his children. The American on the contrary takes possession of the land and, with it, he seeks to create a great future for himself.

After uttering these final words, our host stopped. He let an immense column of smoke escape from his mouth and seemed ready to listen to what we had to say to inform him about our plans.

We thanked him first for his valuable advice and for his wise counsel from which we assured him we would profit some day, and we added: “Before settling in your district, my dear host, we have the intention of going to Saginaw and we want to consult you on this point.” At the word Saginaw a singular transformation took place in the physiognomy of the American; it seemed that we had dragged him violently out of real life to push him into the domains of the imagination; his eyes dilated, his mouth gaped and a look of the most profound astonishment was written on all his features: “You want to go to Saginaw,” he cried, “to Saginaw Bay! Two reasonable men, two cultivated foreigners want to go to Saginaw Bay? It is scarcely believable.” “And so why not?” we replied. “But do you know clearly,” our host began again, “what you are proposing? Do you know that Saginaw is the last inhabited point until the Pacific Ocean? That from here to Saginaw you find nothing more than a wilderness and uncleared empty spaces? Have you considered that the woods are full of Indians and of mosquitoes? That you will have to bed down at least one night in the dampness of the forest shade? Have you thought about the fever? Will you know how to get out of difficulty in the wilderness and not get lost in the Edition: current; Page: [1325] labyrinth of our forests?” After this tirade he paused in order to judge better the impression he had made. We resumed: “All that is perhaps true. But we will leave tomorrow morning for Saginaw Bay.” Our host reflected a moment, nodded his head, and said in a slow and positive way: “Only a great interest could lead two foreigners to such an undertaking: you have almost certainly figured, very wrongly, that it was advantageous to settle in the places most remote from all competition?” We did not respond. He resumed: “Perhaps you have been charged as well by the fur trading company of Canada with establishing a relationship with the Indian tribes of the frontier?” Same silence. Our host had run out of conjectures and he was quiet, but he continued to reflect deeply about the strangeness of our plan.

“Have you never been to Saginaw?” we said. “Me,” he answered, “I have been there five or six times, to my sorrow, but I had a reason to do so and no reason can be found for you.” “But don’t lose sight, my worthy host, of the fact that we are not asking you if we must go to Saginaw, but only what is needed to manage to do so easily.” Thus led back to the question, our American regained all his composure and all the clarity of his ideas; he explained to us in a few words and with an admirable practical good sense the way in which we had to proceed in order to cross the wilderness, entered into the smallest details, and foresaw the most unlikely circumstances. At the end of his instructions he paused again in order to see if we would not finally reveal the secret of our journey, and noticing that on both sides we had nothing more to say, he took the candle, led us to a room and, very democratically shaking our hands, went away to finish the evening in the common room.

We got up with the day and prepared to leave. Our host was soon afoot himself. Night had not revealed to him what made us stick to behavior that was so extraordinary in his eyes. Since we appeared absolutely decided to act contrary to his counsel, however, he dared not return to the charge, but constantly circled around us. From time to time he repeated half-aloud: “I can imagine with difficulty what can lead two foreigners to go to Saginaw.” He repeated this sentence several times, until finally I said to him putting my foot in the stirrup: “There are many reasons that lead us to do so, my dear host.” He stopped short upon hearing these words, and looking me Edition: current; Page: [1326] in the face for the first time, he seemed to prepare himself to hear the revelation of a great mystery. But, calmly mounting my horse, I gave him a sign of friendship as a concluding gesture and moved away at a fast trot. When I was fifty steps away, I turned my head; I saw him still planted like a haystack before his door. A little later he went back inside shaking his head. I imagine that he still said: “I have difficulty understanding what two foreigners are going to do in Saginaw.”

* * * * *

We had been advised to address ourselves to a Mr. Williamsq who, having traded for a long time with the Chippewa Indians and having a son settled at Saginaw, could provide us with useful information. After going several miles in the woods and afraid that we had already missed the house of our man, we encountered an old man busy working in a small garden. We approached him. It was Mr. Williams himself. He received us with great kindness and gave us a letter for his son. We asked him if we had anything to fear from the Indian bands whose territory we were going to cross. Mr. Williams rejected this idea with a kind of indignation: “No! No!,” he said, “you can go without fear. For my part, I would sleep more tranquilly among Indians than among whites.” I note this as the first favorable impression that I had received about the Indians since my arrival in America. In very inhabited regions they are only spoken about with a mixture of fear and scorn, and I believe that there in fact they deserve these two feelings. You could see above what I thought about them myself when I met the first of them at Buffalo. As you advance in this journal and as you follow me amid the European population of the frontier and amid the Indian tribes themselves, you will conceive a more honorable and, at the very same time, more accurate idea of the first inhabitants of America.

After leaving Mr. Williams we continued our route through the woods. Edition: current; Page: [1327] From time to time a small lake (this district is full of them) appeared like a sheet of silver beneath the forest foliage. It is difficult to imagine the charm that surrounds these lovely places where man has not settled and where a profound peace and an uninterrupted silence still reign. I have traveled in the Alps through dreadful, isolated areas where nature rejects the labor of man, but displays even in its very horrors a grandeur that transports and grips the soul. Here the solitude is not less profound, but it does not produce the same impressions. The only sentiments that you feel while traveling through these flowered wilderness areas where, as in Milton’s Paradise, everything is prepared to receive man, are a tranquil admiration, a mild melancholy, a vague disgust with civilized life; a sort of wild instinct that makes you think with pain that soon this delicious solitude will have changed face. Already in fact the white race advances across the surrounding woods and, in a few years, the European will have cut the trees that are reflected in the clear waters of the lake and forced the animals that populate its shores to withdraw toward new wilderness areas.

Always on the move, we came to a country with a new appearance. The land there was not level, but cut by hills and valleys. Several of these hills presented the most wild appearance. It was in one of these picturesque passages that, turning ourselves around suddenly to contemplate the imposing spectacle that we were leaving behind us, we noticed to our great surprise near the hindquarters of our horses an Indian who seemed to follow us step by step. He was a man about thirty years old, large and admirably proportioned as nearly all of them are. His black and shining hair fell to his shoulders except for two braids that were tied up at the top of his head. His face was daubed with black and red. He was covered with a type of very short blue blouse. He wore red mittas; these are a type of pants that go only to the top of the thigh, and his feet were covered with moccasins. At his side hung a knife. In his right hand he held a long carbine and in his left two birds that he had just killed. The first sight of this Indian made a not very pleasant impression on us. The place was poorly chosen for resisting an attack. To our right a pine forest rose to an immense height, to our left extended a deep ravine at the bottom of which among Edition: current; Page: [1328] the rocks flowed a small stream hidden from our sight by the obscurity of the foliage and toward which we descended blindly! Putting our hands on our rifles, turning and putting ourselves in the path opposite the Indian took only a moment. He stopped as well. We remained in silence for a half-minute. His face presented all the characteristic features that distinguish the Indian race from all others. In his perfectly black eyes gleamed the savage fire that still animates the look of the half-breed and is lost only with the second or third generation of white blood. His nose was hooked in the middle, slightly flat at the end, his cheekbones very prominent, and his strikingly wide mouth showed two rows of glistening white teeth that proved well enough that the savage, cleaner than his neighbor the American, did not spend his day chewing tobacco leaves. I said that at the moment when we had turned ourselves around putting our hands on our weapons, the Indian stopped. He underwent the rapid examination that we made of his person with an absolute impassivity, a steady and unchanging look. Since he saw that we had on our side no hostile sentiment, he began to smile; probably he saw that we were alarmed. It was the first time that I was able to observe to what extent the expression of gaiety completely changes the physiognomy of these savage men. I have since had the occasion a hundred times to make the same remark. A serious Indian and a smiling Indian are two entirely different men. There reigns in the immobility of the first a savage majesty that imposes an involuntary sentiment of terror. If this same man begins to smile, his entire face takes on an expression of innocence and of kindness that gives him a real charm.

When we saw our man brighten, we addressed some words to him in English. He let us speak as much as we wanted, then gestured that he did not understand. We offered him a bit of brandy, which he accepted without hesitation and without thanks. Speaking always by signs, we asked him for the birds that he carried and he gave them to us in return for a small coin. Having thus made his acquaintance, we saluted him and left at a fast trot. At the end of a quarter hour of a rapid march, turning around again, I was surprised to see the Indian still behind the hindquarters of my horse. He ran with the agility of a wild animal, without saying a single word or appearing to lengthen his stride. We stopped; he stopped. We started again; Edition: current; Page: [1329] he started again. We raced at full speed. Our horses, raised in the wilderness, easily overcame all obstacles. The Indian doubled his pace; I saw him sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left of my horse, leaping over bushes and coming back down to earth noiselessly. You would have said one of those wolves of Northern Europe that follow riders with the hope that they will fall from their horses and can be more easily devoured. The sight of this constant figure that seemed to hover at our sides, sometimes becoming lost in the obscurity of the forest, sometimes reappearing clearly, ended up becoming disturbing to us. Not able to imagine what led this man to follow us at such a hurried pace—and perhaps he had been doing so for a very long time when we discovered him for the first time—the idea occurred to us that he was leading us into an ambush. We were occupied with these thoughts when we noticed in the woods before us the end of another carbine. Soon we were next to the man who carried it. We took him at first for an Indian; he was covered by a sort of frock coat, close-fitted around the small of his back, delineating a narrow and neat waist; his neck was naked and his feet covered by moccasins. When we came near him and he raised his head, we immediately recognized a European and we stopped.r He came up to us, shook our hands cordially and entered into conversation with us: “Do you live in the wilderness?” “Yes, here is my house”; amid the leaves he showed us a hut much more miserable than the usual log houses. “Alone?” “Alone.” “And so what do you do here?” “I wander through these woods and, to the right and left, I kill the game that I meet along the way, but it is not going well now.” “And this kind of life pleases you?” “More than any other.” “But aren’t you afraid of the Indians?” “Afraid of the Indians! I prefer to live amid them than in the society of whites. No! No! I am not afraid of the Indians. They are worth more than we are, at least as long as we have not brutalized them with our liquors, the poor creatures!” We then showed our new acquaintance the man who followed us so obstinately and who had then stopped a few steps away and remained as unmoving as a statue. “He is a Chippewa,” he said, “or as the French call them Edition: current; Page: [1330] a Sauteur. I wager that he is returning from Canada where he received the annual presents from the English. His family must not be far from here.” Having said this, the American gestured to the Indian to approach and began to speak to him in his language with an extreme facility. It was a remarkable thing to see the pleasure that these two men, so different by birth and mores, found in exchanging their ideas. The conversation turned evidently on the respective merit of their weapons. The white, after very attentively examining the rifle of the savage: “That is a beautiful carbine,” he said, “the English almost certainly gave it to him to use against us and he won’t fail to do so at the first war. That is how the Indians draw upon their heads all the misfortunes that burden them. But they won’t know it for long, the poor fellows.” “Do the Indians use these long and heavy rifles with skill?” “There are no marksmen like the Indians,” our new friend resumed energetically with a tone of the greatest admiration. “Examine the small birds he sold to you, Sir, they are pierced by a single bullet, and I am very sure that he fired only two shots to take them. Oh!” he added, “there is nothing happier than an Indian in the regions where we have not yet made the game flee. But the large animals sense us at more than three hundred miles, and by withdrawing they create before us like a desert where the poor Indians can no longer live if they do not cultivate the earth.”

As we retook our path: “When you pass by again,” our new friend cried to us, “knock on my door. It is a pleasure to meet white faces in these places.”

I have related this conversation, which in itself contains nothing remarkable, in order to show a kind of man that we met very frequently at the limits of inhabited lands. They are Europeans who, despite the habits of their youth, have ended up finding in the liberty of the wilderness an inexpressible charm. Attached to the uninhabited places of America by their taste and their passions, to Europe by their religion, their principles, and their ideas, they mix the love of savage life with the pride of civilization and prefer the Indians to their compatriots without, however, recognizing them as their equals.

So we resumed our journey and, advancing always with the same rapidity, at the end of a half-hour we reached the house of a pioneer. Before the Edition: current; Page: [1331] door of this cabin an Indian family has set up a temporary dwelling. An old woman, two young girls, several children crouched around a fire to whose heat the remains of a whole deer were exposed. A few steps from there on the grass, a completely nude Indian warmed himself in the rays of the sun while a small child rolled around near him in the dust. There our silent companion stopped; he left us without taking our leave and sat down gravely amid his compatriots. What had been able to lead this man to follow the path of our horses in this way for two leagues? That is what we were never able to find out. After eating in this place, we remounted our horses and continued our march through a not very thick cluster of high trees. The thicket had been burned previously as could be seen by the charred remnants of a few trees that were lying on the grass. The ground is covered today by ferns that are spread as far as you can see beneath the forest covering.


20. Bird painted at Pontiac, original watercolor by Gustave de Beaumont (with kind permission from the Beinecke Library, Yale University).


21. Saginaw Forest, original pencil sketch by Gustave de Beaumont (with kind permission from the Beinecke Library, Yale University).

Forêt de Saginaw. Esquisse au crayon par Gustave de Beaumont (avec l’aimable autorisation de la Beinecke Library, Yale University).

A few leagues further my horse lost his shoe, which caused us intense concern. Near there fortunately, we met a planter who managed to reshoe it. Without this meeting I doubt that we would have been able to go further, for we were then approaching the extreme limit of cleared lands. This same man who had enabled us to continue our journey, urged us to hurry up; day was beginning to fade and two long leagues still separated us from Flint River where we wanted to go to sleep.

Soon, in fact, a profound darkness began to surround us. We had to march. The night was calm but freezing. Such a profound silence and such a complete calm reigned in the depths of these forests that you would have said that all the forces of nature were as if paralyzed there. You heard only the uncomfortable buzzing of mosquitoes and the noise of the steps of our horses. From time to time you noticed in the distance an Indian fire before which an austere and immobile profile was outlined in the smoke. At the end of an hour we arrived at a place where the road divided. Two paths opened at this spot. Which one to take? The choice was delicate; one of them led to a small stream whose depth we did not know, the other to a clearing. The rising moon then showed before us a valley full of debris. Further off we noticed two houses. It was so important not to get lost in Edition: current; Page: [1332] such a place and at this hour that we resolved to get some information before going further. My companion remained to hold the horses, and throwing my rifle over my shoulder, I descended into the small valley. Soon I noticed that I was going into a very recent clearing; immense trees not yet stripped of their branches covered the ground. I managed by jumping from one to another to reach the houses rapidly enough, but the same stream that we had already encountered separated me from them. Fortunately [{the new proprietor of the place, probably wanting to establish a mill, had thrown trees into the stream to stop its flow}] its flow was hampered at this place by large oaks that the pioneer’s ax had probably hurled there. I succeeded in sliding along these trees and I finally reached the other side. I approached these two houses with caution, fearing that they were Indian wigwams; they were still not finished; I found the doors open and no voice responded to mine. I returned to the banks of the stream where I could not help myself from admiring for several minutes the sublime horror of this place. The valley seemed to form an immense arena surrounded on all sides by the foliage of the woods like a black curtain, and at the center the light of the moon, breaking through, created a thousand fantastic images that played in silence amid the debris of the forest. Moreover, no noise whatsoever, no sound of life arose from this solitude. I finally thought of my companion and I cried out loudly to let him know the result of my search, to get him to cross the stream and to come to find me. My voice echoed for a long time amid the solitude that surrounded me. But I got no response. I cried out again and listened again. The same silence of death reigned in the forest. Worry seized me, and I ran along the stream to find the path that crossed its course farther down. Reaching there, I heard in the distance the step of horses and soon after I saw Beaumont himself. Astonished by my long absence, he had taken the gamble of advancing toward the stream; he was already in the shallows when I had called him. My voice had not been able to reach him. He told me that on his side he had made all efforts to make himself heard and, like me, had been frightened not to receive a response. Without the ford that served as our point of reunion, we would perhaps Edition: current; Page: [1333] have searched for each other a large part of the night. We retook our route promising each other indeed not to separate again, and three quarters of an hour from there we finally noticed a clearing, two or three cabins, and what pleased us most, a light.s The river that extended like a purple thread to the end of the valley conclusively proved to us that we had arrived at Flint River. Soon in fact the barking of dogs made the woods echo, and we found ourselves before a log house separated from us by a single fence. As we prepared to cross it, the moon revealed to us on the other side a large black bear standing upright on its paws and pulling on its chain, indicating as clearly as it could its intention to give us a very fraternal embrace. “What the devil is this country,” I said, “where you have bears as watchdogs.” “We must call,” my companion replied to me. “If we try to cross the fence, we will have difficulty explaining the reason to the gatekeeper.” So we shouted out so loudly and so well that a man finally appeared at the window. After examining us in the moonlight: “Come in, Sirs,” he said to us; “Trinc, go lie down. To your kennel, I tell you. They are not robbers.” The bear waddled away and we entered. We were half-dead with fatigue. We asked our Edition: current; Page: [1334] host if we could have some oats. Surely, he said; he immediately began to reap the closest field with all American calm and doing it as he would have in full day. During this time we unsaddled our mounts and, not having a stable, tied them to the fences that we had just crossed. Having thus considered our travel companions, we began to think about our shelter. There was only one bed in the house. Since it went to Beaumont by lot, I wrapped myself in my coat and, lying on the floor, slept as profoundly as is suitable for a man who has just done fifteen leagues on horseback.

* * * * *

The next day, July 25, our first concern was to ask about a guide. A wilderness of fifteen leagues separates Flint River from Saginaw, and the road that leads there is a narrow path, scarcely recognizable by sight. Our host approved our plan and soon after he brought in two Indians in whom, he assured us, we could have complete confidence. One was a child, thirteen or fourteen years old. The other a young man of eighteen.t The body of the latter, without yet having the vigorous forms of mature age, already gave the idea of agility combined with strength. He was of average height, his stature was straight and slim, his limbs flexible and well-proportioned. Long braids fell from his bare head. In addition he had carefully painted on his face black and red lines in the most symmetrical manner. A ring passed through the septum of his nose; a necklace and earrings completed his outfit. His war gear was no less remarkable. On one side a battle ax, the famous tomahawk; on the other, a long sharp knife with which the savages remove the scalp of the defeated. Around his neck was suspended a bull’s horn that served as his powder flask, and he held a carbine with a grooved barrel in his right hand. As with most Indians, his look was fierce and his smile benevolent. Next to him, as if to complete the picture, walked a dog with upright ears, elongated muzzle, much more like a fox than any other Edition: current; Page: [1335] type of animal, and whose fierce appearance was in perfect harmony with the countenance of the man leading it. After examining our new companion with an attention that he did not appear to notice for a single moment, we asked him what he wanted from us as the price for the service that he was going to give us. The Indian answered with a few words in his language and the American, hastening to speak, informed us that what the savage asked could be evaluated at two dollars. “Since these poor Indians,” our host added charitably, “do not know the value of money, you will give me the dollars and I will gladly take charge of providing him the equivalent.” I was curious to see what the worthy man called the equivalent of two dollars, and I followed him quietly into the place where the market was. I saw him deliver to our guide a pair of moccasins and a pocket handkerchief, objects whose total value certainly did not amount to half of the sum. The Indian withdrew very satisfied and I fled silently, saying like La Fontaine: Ah! if lions knew how to paint!

Moreover, it is not only Indians that the American pioneers take for fools. We ourselves were victims every day of their extreme greed for profit. It is very true that they do not steal. That have too much enlightenment to commit something so imprudent, but nonetheless I have never seen an innkeeper of a large city overcharge with more shamelessness than these inhabitants of the wilderness among whom I imagined to find primitive honesty and the simplicity of patriarchal mores.

Everything was ready. We mounted our horses and, fording the stream that forms the extreme limit between civilization and the wilderness, we entered for good into the empty forest.

Our two guides walked or rather leapt like wild cats over the obstacles in our path. If we happened to encounter a fallen tree, a stream, a swamp, they pointed with their finger to the best path, went by and did not even turn back to see us get by the difficulty; used to counting only on himself, the Indian conceives with difficulty that another man needs help. He knows how to serve you as needed, but no one has yet taught him the art of improving the service by consideration and concern. This way of acting would nonetheless have led to some comments on our part, but it was impossible Edition: current; Page: [1336] to make a single word understood by our companions. And then! we felt completely in their power. There in fact the tables were turned; plunged into a perfect darkness, reduced to his own resources, civilized man walked blind, incapable, not only of finding his own way in the labyrinth that he was going through, but even of finding the means to sustain his life. It is amid these same difficulties that the savage triumphed; for him the forest had no veil, he found himself as if in his own country; he walked there with his head high, guided by an instinct surer than the compass of the navigator. At the top of the tallest trees, beneath the thickest foliage, his eye found the prey that the European would have passed and repassed in vain a hundred times.

From time to time our Indians stopped; they put their finger to their lips to indicate to us to be quiet and gestured to us to dismount. Guided by them, we came to a place where you could see game. It was a singular sight to see the disdainful smile with which they led us by the hand like children and brought us finally near the object that they had seen for a long time.u

But as we advanced, the last traces of man faded. Soon everything ceased even to announce the presence of the savage, and we had before us the spectacle that we had been chasing for such a long time, the interior of a virgin forest.

In the middle of a not very dense thicket, through which objects at a fairly great distance could be seen, a tall cluster of trees composed almost totally of pines and oaks arose in a single burst. Forced to grow on a very limited terrain almost entirely without the rays of the sun, each of these trees goes up rapidly in order to find air and light. As straight as the mast of a ship, each tree does not take long to rise above everything that surrounds it. Having reached an upper region, it then tranquilly spreads its branches and surrounds itself with their shade. Others soon follow it into this elevated sphere and, intertwining their branches, all form like an immense Edition: current; Page: [1337] canopy above the earth that supports them. Beneath this humid and unchanging vault, the appearance changes and the scene takes on a new character. A majestic order reigns above our heads. Near the earth everything presents on the contrary the image of confusion and of chaos. Some trunks, incapable of bearing their branches any longer, have split halfway from the top and no longer present anything to view except a sharp and broken tip. Others, shaken for a long time by the wind, have been thrown whole onto the ground; torn out of the earth, their roots form like so many natural ramparts behind which several men could easily take shelter. Immense trees, held up by the branches that surround them, rest suspended in air and fall into dust without touching the earth. Among us, there is no country, no matter how unpopulated, in which a forest is left alone enough for the trees, after tranquilly following their course, to fall finally due to decrepitude.v It is man who strikes them in their prime and who rids the Edition: current; Page: [1338] forest of their remains. [≠Our woods always present the image of youth or of strength. In the forests of the New World, on the contrary, you see trees of all ages, from the weakest shoot to the hundred-year-old oak.≠]In the uninhabited areas of America, nature in its omnipotence is the sole agent of ruin, as well as the sole power of reproduction. Just as in forests subjected to the dominion of man, death strikes here constantly; but no one takes responsibility for clearing the remains that death has caused. Every day adds to the amount. They fall, they accumulate on each other; time cannot reduce them to dust quickly enough to prepare new places. There side by side several generations of dead trees are found lying together. Some at the last stage of decay no longer offer anything to view except a long line of red dust drawn on the grass. But others, already half-consumed by time, still preserve their forms. There are some finally that, just fallen, still spread their long branches on the ground and halt the steps of the traveler with an obstacle that he had not expected. Amid these divers remains, the work of reproduction goes on without ceasing. Shoots, climbing plants, weeds of all types grow up across all the obstacles. They creep along the fallen trunks; they worm into their dust; they lift up and break the bark that still covers them. [They slip between these immobile cadavers, creep along their surface, penetrate beneath their withered bark, lift up and scatter their powdery remains.] Life and death here are as if face to face; they seem to have wanted to mix and mingle their work.w

We often happened to admire one of those calm and serene evenings at sea, when the sails, flapping peacefully along the masts, leave the sailors not knowing from which direction the breeze will come. All of nature at rest is no less imposing in the uninhabited areas of the New World than on the immensity of the sea. When at midday the rays of the sun beat down on the forest, you often hear echoing in its depths something like a long moan, Edition: current; Page: [1339] a plaintive cry that lingers in the distance. It is the final effort of the wind that is expiring. Then everything around you falls into a silence so profound, an immobility so complete that your soul feels penetrated by a sort of religious terror. The traveler stops, he looks around. Pressed together, intertwined in their branches, the trees of the forest seem to form only a single whole, an immense and indestructible edifice, under whose vaults reigns an eternal darkness. In no matter which direction he looks, he sees only a field of violence and destruction. Broken trees, torn trunks, everything announces that here the elements are perpetually at war. But the struggle is interrupted. You would say that at the order of a supernatural power, movement is suddenly halted. Half-broken branches still seem to hold on by a few hidden bonds to the trunk that no longer offers them support; trees already uprooted have not had the time to come to earth and remain suspended in the air. The traveler listens, he holds his breath with fear the better to grasp the slightest reverberation of existence; no sound, no murmur is heard.

More than once in Europe we happened to find ourselves lost deep in the woods, but always a few sounds of life came to our ears. It was the distant ringing from the church tower of the nearest village, the step of a traveler, the ax of the woodsman, the explosion of a firearm, the barking of a dog, or only that confused murmur that arises from a civilized country. Here, not only man is missing, but even the sound of animals is not heard. The smallest among them have left these places to move closer to human habitation; the largest, to move still further away. The animals that remain keep hidden out of the sunlight. Thus everything is immobile in the woods, everything is silent beneath its leaves. You would say that the Creator has for one moment turned His face away and that the forces of nature are paralyzed.

Not only in this case, moreover, did we notice the singular analogy that exists between the sight of the ocean and the appearance of a wild forest. In both spectacles, the idea of immensity assails you. The continuity of the same scenes, their monotony astonishes and hinders the imagination. We perhaps found the sentiment of isolation and abandonment that had seemed so heavy to us in the middle of the Atlantic stronger and more Edition: current; Page: [1340] poignant in the uninhabited areas of the New World. On the sea at least the traveler contemplates a vast horizon toward which he directs his view with hope. But in this ocean of leaves, who can point out the road? Toward which objects to turn your eyes? In vain do you go up to the top of the largest trees; others still higher surround you. It is useless to climb hills; everywhere the forest seems to move with you, and this same forest extends before you from the Arctic Pole to the Pacific Ocean. You can travel thousands of leagues in its shadow, and you move always, but without appearing to change place.

* * * * *

But it is time to return to the road to Saginaw. We had already walked for five hours in the most complete ignorance of the places where we found ourselves, when our Indians stopped and the oldest who was called Sagan-Cuisco drew a line in the sand. He pointed to one end while crying: Miché-Conté-Ouinque (the Indian name for Flint River) and the opposite end while pronouncing the name of Saginaw, and making a dot in the middle of the line, he indicated to us that we had reached the mid-point of the road and that we had to rest for a few moments. The sun was already high above the horizon and we would have accepted with pleasure the invitation made to us, if we had noticed water within reach. But not seeing any in the vicinity, we made a sign to the Indian that we wanted to eat and drink at the same time. He immediately understood us and began to walk again with the same rapidity as before. An hour later, he stopped again and showed us a place thirty steps away in the woods where he gestured that there was water. Without awaiting our response or without helping us un-saddle our horses, he went there himself; we hastened to follow him. The wind had recently overturned a large tree in this place. In the hole where its roots had been was a bit of rainwater. It was the fountain to which our guide led us without having the appearance of thinking that someone could hesitate to use such a drink. We opened our bag; another misfortune! The heat had absolutely spoiled our provisions and we were completely reduced to dining on a very small piece of bread, the only one we had been able to find at Flint River. Add to that a cloud of mosquitoes attracted by the presence of the water, that had to be battled with one hand while putting the Edition: current; Page: [1341] piece of bread in your mouth with the other, and you will have the idea of a rustic dinner in a virgin forest. While we ate, our Indians remained seated, arms crossed, on the fallen trunk that I spoke about. When they saw that we had finished, they gestured to us that they also were hungry. We showed them our empty bag. They shook their heads without saying a word. The Indian does not know what regular hours for meals are. He gorges himself with food when he can and then goes without until he again finds something to satisfy the appetite. Wolves act the same in similar circumstances. Soon we thought about remounting, but we noticed with great fright that our mounts had disappeared. Bitten by mosquitoes and goaded by hunger they had gone away from the path where we had left them, and it was only with difficulty that we were able to find their trail. If we had remained inattentive for a quarter-hour more, we would have awakened like Sancho with a saddle between his legs. We blessed with all our hearts the mosquitoes that had made us think so quickly about leaving, and we resumed our way. The track that we followed did not take long to become more and more difficult to recognize. At every instant, our horses had to force their way through dense thickets or jump over immense tree trunks that barred our way. At the end of two hours of an extremely difficult road, we finally reached the bank of a river that was not very deep but steeply hemmed in. We forded it and, having reached the top of the opposite bank, we saw a field of corn and two cabins quite similar to log houses. We realized as we drew near that we were in a small Indian settlement. The log houses were wigwams. Moreover, the most profound solitude reigned there as in the surrounding forest. Coming before the first of these abandoned dwellings, Sagan-Cuisco stopped, he attentively examined all the surrounding objects, then putting down his carbine and approaching us, he first drew a line in the sand, indicating to us in the same way as before that we had not yet completed two-thirds of the road; then, getting up, he showed us the sun and made a sign that it was rapidly descending toward sunset. He then looked at the wigwam and closed his eyes. This language was very understandable; he wanted us to sleep in this place. I admit that the proposition greatly surprised and scarcely pleased us. We had not eaten since morning Edition: current; Page: [1342] and we didn’t care very much about sleeping without eating. The somber and wild majesty of the scenes that we had witnessed since morning, the total isolation in which we found ourselves, the fierce countenance of our guides with whom it was impossible to make a connection, nothing in all of that was of a nature to give us confidence. Moreover, there was something singular in the behavior of the Indians that did not reassure us. The route that we had just followed for two hours seemed even less traveled than the one that we had followed before. No one had ever told us that we had to pass by an Indian village, and on the contrary everyone had assured us that you could go from Flint River to Saginaw in a single day. So we could not conceive why our guides wanted to keep us for the night in the wilderness. We insisted on moving. The Indians gestured that we would be surprised by darkness in the woods. To force our guides to continue on their road would have been a dangerous endeavor. We decided to tempt their greed. But the Indian is the most philosophical of all men. He has few needs and hence few desires. Civilization has no hold on him; he is unaware of or disdains its sweet pleasures. I had noticed, however, that Sagan-Cuisco had paid particular attention to a small bottle in wicker that hung at my side. A bottle that does not break is something whose utility he had grasped and that had aroused a real admiration in him. My rifle and my bottle were the only parts of my European gear that had appeared to arouse his envy. I gestured to him that I would give him my bottle if he led us immediately to Saginaw. The Indian then appeared violently torn. He looked again at the sun, then the ground. Finally making his decision, he grabbed his carbine; putting his hand to his mouth, he let out two cries of: Oh! Oh! and rushed before us into the undergrowth. We followed him at a fast trot, and forcing open a path before us, we had soon lost sight of the Indian dwellings. Our guides ran in this way for two hours more rapidly than they had done as yet; but night overtook us, and the last rays of the sun had just disappeared in the trees of the forest when Sagan-Cuisco was surprised by a violent nosebleed. However accustomed this young man as well as his brother seemed to be to bodily exercise, it was evident that fatigue and the lack of food began to exhaust his strength. We began to be afraid Edition: current; Page: [1343] that they would give up the undertaking and would want to sleep at the foot of a tree. So we decided to have them alternately mount our horses. The Indians accepted our offer without astonishment or humility. It was something bizarre to see, these men half-naked seated solemnly on an English saddle and carrying our gamebags and our rifles slung over their shoulders, while we went with difficulty on foot before them. Night finally came, a freezing dampness began to spread under the foliage. Darkness then gave the forest a new and terrible appearance. The eye could no longer see anything around except masses heaped up in confusion, without order or symmetry, bizarre and disproportionate forms, incoherent scenes, fantastic images that seemed borrowed from the sick imagination of someone feverish. (The gigantesque and the ridiculous there were as close as in the literature of our time.) Never had our steps brought forth as many echoes; never had the silence of the forest seemed so fearsome to us. You would have said that the buzzing of the mosquitoes was the sole breath of this sleeping world. As we advanced, the shadows became deeper; only from time to time did a firefly crossing the woods trace a sort of luminous line in its depths. We recognized too late the correctness of the advice of the Indian, but it was no longer a matter of going back. So we continued to march as rapidly as our strength and the night allowed us to do. At the end of an hour we came out of the woods and found ourselves on a vast prairie. Our guides three times yelled out a savage cry that reverberated like discordant notes of the tom-tom. Someone answered in the distance. Five minutes later we were on the bank of a river whose opposite side the darkness prevented us from seeing. The Indians came to a halt at this place; they covered themselves with their blankets to avoid the biting of the mosquitoes; sleeping on the grass, they soon formed nothing more than a ball of wool hardly visible and in which it would have been impossible to recognize the form of a man. We ourselves stood on the ground and waited patiently for what would follow. At the end of several minutes a slight noise was heard and something approached the shore. It was an Indian canoe about ten feet long and formed out of a single tree. The man who was crouching at the bottom of this fragile small boat wore the costume and had all the appearance of Edition: current; Page: [1344] an Indian. He addressed a word to our guides who at his command hastened to remove the saddles from our horses and to put them in the dugout. As I prepared to climb in, the supposed Indian advanced toward me, put two fingers on my shoulder and said to me with a Norman accent that made me start: “Don’t go too fast, there are times here when people drown.”x My horse would have spoken to me, and I would not, I believe, have been more surprised. I viewed the man who had spoken to me and whose face, struck by the first light of the moon, then shone like a copper sphere: “So who are you,” I said to him; “French seems to be your language and you have the appearance of an Indian?” He answered me that he was a bois-brulé, that is to say the son of a Canadian man and an Indian woman. I will often have the occasion to speak about this singular race of half-breeds that covers all the frontiers of Canada and a part of those of the United States. For the moment I thought only about the pleasure of speaking my native language. Following the advice of our compatriot, the savage, I sat down at the bottom of the canoe and kept my balance as much as possible. The horse got into the river and began to swim as soon as the Canadian pushed the skiff with the paddle, all the while singing in a low voice an old French tune, of whose verse I grasped only the first two lines:

  • Between Paris and Saint-Denis
  • There was a girl

We thus arrived without accident on the other side. The canoe returned immediately to get my companion. I will remember all my life the moment when for the second time it approached the shore. The moon, which was full, then rose precisely above the prairie that we had just crossed. Half of the circle of the moon appeared alone on the horizon; you would have said a mysterious door through which the light of another sphere escaped toward us. The moonlight that emerged reflected on the waters of the river Edition: current; Page: [1345] and glistening reached me. On the very line on which this pale light shimmered, the Indian dugout advanced; you did not notice the oars, you did not hear the noise of the paddles, it glided rapidly and without effort, long, narrow and black, similar to an alligator of the Mississippi that stretched toward the bank to seize its prey. Crouched at the front of the canoe, Sagan-Cuisco, his head leaning against his knees, showed only the shining braids of his hair. At the other end, the Canadian rowed in silence, while behind him, the horse made the water of the Saginaw splash with the effort of his powerful chest. There was in this whole spectacle a wild grandeur that then made and has since left a profound impression on our souls. Disembarked on the shore we hurried to go to a house that the moon had just revealed to us one hundred steps from the river and where the Canadian assured us that we would be able to find shelter. We managed in fact to get settled comfortably there, and we would probably have regained our strength by a deep sleep if we had been able to rid ourselves of the myriad mosquitoes that filled the house; but that we could never manage to do. The animal that is called mosquito in English and maringouin in Canadian French is a small insect similar in everything to the cousin of France from which it differs only in size. It is generally larger and its proboscis is so strong and so sharp that woolen fabric alone can protect against its bites. These small gnats are the plague of the American wilderness. Their presence would be enough to make a long stay unbearable. As for me, I declare that I have never experienced a torment similar to what they made me suffer throughout the entire course of this trip and particularly during our stay at Saginaw. During the day they prevented us from drawing, writing, remaining still for a single moment; at night, they circled by the thousands around us; every part of the body that you left exposed served immediately as their rendezvous. Awakened by the pain caused by the bite, we covered our heads with our sheets; their sting passed through; chased, pursued by them in this way, we got up and went to breathe the outside air until fatigue finally brought us a difficult and interrupted sleep.

* * * * *

Edition: current; Page: [1346]

We went out very early and the first sight that struck us as we left the house was the view of our Indians who, rolled up in their blankets near the door, slept next to their dogs.

We then saw for the first time in daylight the village of Saginaw that we had come so far to find.

A small cultivated plain, bordered on the south by a beautiful and tranquil river, on the east and on the north by the forest, makes up for the present the entire territory of the emerging city.y

Near us arose a house whose structure announced the prosperity of the owner. It was the one where we had just spent the night. A dwelling of the same type was noticeable from the other end of the clearing. In between and along the edge of the woods, two or three log houses were half lost in the foliage. On the opposite bank of the river, a prairie extended like a limitless ocean on a calm day. A column of smoke escaped then from the prairie and climbed peacefully toward the sky. By following its direction toward the earth, we discovered two or three wigwams whose conical form and pointed tips blended into the grasses of the prairie.

An overturned plow, oxen returning to plowing, some half-wild horses completed the picture.

In whatever direction you looked, your eye searched in vain for the spire of a Gothic church tower, the wooden cross that marks the road, or the moss-covered doorway of the presbytery. These venerable remnants of ancient Christian civilization have not been carried into the wilderness; nothing there yet awakens the idea of the past or of the future. You do not even find places of rest consecrated to those who are no more. Death has not had the time to reclaim its sphere or mark out its field.

Here man still seems to come furtively into life. Several generations do Edition: current; Page: [1347] not gather around his cradle to express hopes that are often false, and to give themselves to premature joys that the future will belie. His name is not inscribed in the records of the city. Religion does not come to mix its touching solemnities with the solicitudes of the family. The prayers of a woman, a few drops of water poured on the head of the infant by the hand of the father, quietly open the gates of heaven to him.

The village of Saginaw is the last point inhabited by Europeans to the northwest of the vast Michigan peninsula. It can be considered like an outpost, a sort of sentry point that whites have placed amid the Indian nations.

The revolutions of Europe, the tumultuous clamor that is constantly arising from the civilized world, reach here only now and then, and are like the echo of a sound whose nature and origin the ears cannot make out.

Sometimes it will be an Indian who, while passing, will recount with the poetry of the wilderness some of these sad realities of the life of society; a forgotten newspaper in the knapsack of a hunter; or only that vague rumor that is propagated by unknown voices and almost never fails to alert men that something extraordinary is happening under the sun.

Once a year, a ship ascending the course of the Saginaw comes to reconnect this link detached from the great European chain that already envelops the world with its coils. It brings to the new settlement the diverse products of industry and in turn takes away the fruits of the land.

At the time of our passage, thirty persons alone, men, women, old people and children, composed this small society, an embryo scarcely formed, an emerging seed entrusted to the wilderness, that the wilderness is to make fruitful.

Chance, interest, or passions had gathered these thirty persons in this narrow space. Moreover, no common bond existed between them and they differed profoundly from each other. You noticed Canadians, Americans, Indians and half-breeds there.

Philosophers have believed that human nature everywhere the same only varied according to the institutions and the laws of different societies. That is one of those opinions that every page of the history of the world seems to belie. Nations, like individuals, all appear with a physiognomy that is Edition: current; Page: [1348] their own. The characteristic features of their countenance are reproduced throughout all the transformations that they undergo. Laws, mores, religions change, empire and wealth are displaced; the external appearance varies, the dress differs, prejudices fade or are substituted for others. Among these diverse changes you always recognize the same people. Something inflexible appears amid human flexibility.

The men who inhabit this small, cultivated plain belong to two races that for nearly a century have existed on the American soil and obeyed the same laws. [{Before coming to America, their fathers had lived under the same European sky; an arm of the sea more narrow than the Saint Lawrence River separated their countries.}] But they have nothing in common between them. They are English and French, just as they appear on the banks of the Seine and the Thames.

Enter this cabin of foliage, you will meet a man whose cordial welcome and open countenance will announce to you from the beginning the taste for social pleasures and lack of concern about life. At the first moment you will perhaps take him for an Indian; subjected to savage life, he has willingly adopted their habits, customs and almost their mores. He wears moccasins, a hat of otter-skin, a woolen blanket. He is an indefatigable hunter, lying in wait, living on wild honey and buffalo meat. This man has nonetheless still remained no less a Frenchman, cheerful, enterprising, self-important, proud of his origins, passionate lover of military glory, more vain than self-interested, a man of instinct, obeying his first movement rather than his reason, preferring making a stir to making money. In order to come to the wilderness he seems to have broken all the bonds that attached him to life; you see him with neither wife nor children. This condition is contrary to his mores, but he submits to it easily as to everything. Left to himself, he would naturally feel the stay-at-home mood; no one more than he has the taste for the domestic hearth; no one loves more to delight his sight with the appearance of the paternal church tower; but he has been torn despite himself from his tranquil habits; his imagination has been struck by new images; he has been transplanted beneath another sky; this same man feels suddenly possessed by an insatiable need for violent emotions, vicissitudes and dangers. The most civilized European has become the worshipper of savage life. He will prefer the plains to the streets of the city, hunting to Edition: current; Page: [1349] agriculture. He will make light of existence and live without concern for the future.

The whites of France, said the Indians of Canada, are as good hunters as we. Like us, they scorn the comforts of life and face the terrors of death. God had created them to inhabit the cabin of the savage and to live in the wilderness.z

A few steps from this man lives another European who, subject to the same difficulties, became steeled against them.

This man is cold, tenacious, mercilessly argumentative; he attaches himself to the land, and tears all that he can take from savage life. He struggles constantly against it; he despoils it daily of some of its attributes. He transports into the wilderness, piece by piece, his laws, his habits, his customs and, if he can, even the slightest refinements of his advanced civilization. The emigrant of the United States values from victory only its results; he holds that glory is a vain noise and that man comes into the world only to acquire comfort and the conveniences of life. Brave nonetheless, but brave by calculation, brave because he has discovered that there were several things more difficult to bear than death. Adventurer surrounded by his family, yet who little values intellectual pleasures and the charms of social life.

Placed on the other side of the river, amid the reeds of the Saginaw, the Indian from time to time casts a stoic glance on the habitations of his brothers from Europe. Do not think that he admires their works, or envies their lot. For the nearly three hundred years that the savage of America has struggled against the civilization that pushes and surrounds him, he has not yet learned to know and to esteem his enemy. The generations follow each other in vain among the two races. Like two parallel rivers, they flow for three hundred years toward a common abyss; a narrow space separates them, but they do not blend their waves. Not, nonetheless, that the native of the New World lacks natural aptitude, but his nature seems stubbornly to reject our ideas and our arts. Seated on his blanket amid the smoke of his hut, the Indian looks with scorn on the comfortable dwelling of the Edition: current; Page: [1350] European; as for him, he proudly takes pleasure in his misery, and his heart swells and rises at the images of his barbaric independence. He smiles bitterly seeing us torment our lives in order to acquire useless riches. What we call industry, he calls shameful subjection. He compares the farmer to the ox that painfully traces his furrow. What we call the conveniences of life, he calls the toys of children or the refinements of women. He only envies our weapons. When man can shelter his head for the night under a tent of leaves, when he is able to light a fire to chase away the mosquitoes in the summer and to protect himself from cold in the winter, when his dogs are good and the country full of game, what more can he ask from the eternal Being?

On the other bank of the Saginaw, near the European clearings and so to speak on the borders of the Old and the New World, arises a rustic cabin more comfortable than the wigwam of the savage, more crude than the home of the civilized man. This is the dwelling of the half-breed. When we presented ourselves for the first time at the door of this half-civilized hut, we were completely surprised to hear in the interior a soft voice that chanted hymns of penitence to an Indian tune. We stopped a moment to listen. The modulations of sound were slow and profoundly melancholy; we easily recognized the plaintive harmony that characterizes all the songs of the man of the wilderness. We entered. The master was absent. Seated in the middle of the room, her legs crossed on a mat, a young woman worked making moccasins; with her foot she rocked an infant whose coppery color and features announced its double origin. This woman was dressed like one of our peasant women, except that her feet were naked and her hair fell freely over her shoulders. Seeing us, she became quiet with a kind of respectful fear. We asked her if she was French. “No,” she answered smiling. “English?” “Not that either,” she said; she lowered her eyes and added: “I am only a savage.” Child of two races, raised using two languages, nourished with diverse beliefs and reared with opposing prejudices, the half-breed forms a combination as inexplicable to others as to himself. The images of the world, when his crude brain happens to think about them, appear to him only as an inextricable chaos which his mind cannot escape. Proud of his European origin, he scorns the wilderness, and yet he loves the wild liberty that reigns there. He admires civilization and cannot completely Edition: current; Page: [1351] submit to its dominion. His tastes are in contradiction to his ideas, his opinions to his mores. Not knowing how to be guided by the uncertain light that illumines it, his soul struggles painfully, wrapped in a universal doubt. He adopts opposing customs; he prays at two altars; he believes in the Redeemer of the world and in the amulets of the medicine man; and he reaches the end of his course not having been able to sort out the obscure problem of his existence.

So in this forgotten corner of the world the hand of God had already sown the seeds of diverse nations; several different races, several distinct peoples already find themselves face to face.

Some exiled members of the great human family have met in the immensity of the woods, their needs are common; they have to struggle together against the beasts of the forest, hunger, the harshness of the seasons. They are hardly thirty in the middle of a wilderness in which everything rejects their efforts, and they cast on each other only looks of hatred and suspicion. Skin color, poverty or comfort, ignorance or enlightenment have already established indestructible classifications among them; national prejudices, the prejudices of education and birth divide them and isolate them.

Where to find in a more narrow frame a more complete picture of the miseries of our nature? A feature is still missing however.

The deep lines that birth and opinion have drawn between the destinies of these men, do not cease with life, but extend beyond the tomb. Six diverse religions or sects share the faith of this emerging society.

Catholicism with its formidable immobility, its absolute dogmas, its terrible anathemas and immense rewards, the religious anarchy of the Reformation, the ancient paganism find their representatives here. The unique and eternal Being who created all men in His image is worshipped here in six different ways. Men fight fervently over the heaven that each man claims exclusively as his heritage. Even more, amid the miseries of the wilderness and the misfortunes of the present, the human imagination still exhausts itself giving birth to a future of inexpressible pains. The Lutheran condemns the Calvinist to eternal fire; the Calvinist, the Unitarian; and the Catholic envelops them all in a common reprobation.

More tolerant in his crude faith, the Indian limits himself to exiling his Edition: current; Page: [1352] European brother from the happy hunting grounds that he reserves for himself. As for him, faithful to the confused traditions that his fathers bequeathed to him, he easily consoles himself for the evils of life and dies peacefully dreaming of forests always green that will never be disturbed by the ax of the pioneer, and where the deer and the beaver will come to offer themselves to his shots during the days without number of eternity.

* * * * *

After breakfast we went to see the richest proprietor of the village, Mr. Williams. We found him in his shop selling to the Indians a multitude of objects of little value such as knives, glass necklaces, ear pendants. It was pitiful to see how these unfortunate men were treated by their civilized brothers from Europe. Moreover, all those that we saw there acknowledged something striking about the savages. They were good, inoffensive, a thousand times less inclined to theft than the white. It was too bad, however, that they were beginning to become informed about the value of things. And why, please? Because the profits of the trade that we conduct with them became less considerable every day. Do you see here the superiority of the civilized man? The Indian would have said in his crude simplicity, that everyday he found it more difficult to deceive his neighbor. But the white finds in the perfection of language a fortunate nuance that expresses the thing and spares the shame.

Returning from Mr. Williams we had the idea of going up the Saginaw for a distance in order to shoot the wild ducks that populate its banks. While we were busy with this hunt, a dugout came out of the reeds of the river and some Indians came to meet us in order to look at my rifle that they had seen from afar. I always noticed that this weapon, which was, however, nothing extraordinary, attracted an entirely special consideration from the savages. A rifle that can kill two men in one second and fire in the fog was, according to them, a marvel above all estimation, a masterpiece beyond price. Those who came up to us displayed as usual a great admiration. They asked where my rifle came from. Our young guide answered that it had been made on the other side of the Great Water, among the fathers of the Canadians; this did not make it, as you can believe, less precious in their eyes. They observed, however, that since the sight was not placed in the Edition: current; Page: [1353] middle of each barrel, you could not be as certain about the shot, a remark to which I admit that I did not know what to answer.

When evening came we climbed back into the canoe and, relying on the experience that we had gained during the morning, we went alone to go up an arm of the Saginaw that we had only seen briefly.

[{I do not believe that I have ever in my life more strongly felt this type of pleasure, at once physical and intellectual, that beautiful nature and a serene evening make you feel.}] The sky was cloudless, the atmosphere pure and still. The river flowed through an immense forest, but so slowly that is was almost impossible to say in which direction the current went. We always felt that, to have an accurate idea of the forests of the New World, it would be necessary to follow a few of the rivers that circulate in their shadow. The rivers are like great roads with which Providence has taken care, since the beginning of the world, to pierce the wilderness to make it accessible to man. When you clear a passage through the woods, the view is most often very limited. Moreover, the very path that you walk along is a human work. Rivers on the contrary are roads that respect no trails, and their banks freely show all that a vigorous vegetation, left to itself, can offer of great and interesting spectacles.

The wilderness was there such as it probably presented itself six thousand years ago to the view of our first fathers; an uninhabited space, flowering, delicious, fragrant; a magnificent dwelling place, a living palace, built for man, but where the master had not yet entered. The canoe glided effortlessly and noiselessly; around us reigned a universal serenity and quiet. We ourselves did not take long to feel as though weakened at the sight of such a spectacle. Our words began to become more and more rare; soon we expressed our thoughts only in a low voice. Finally we became silent, and simultaneously withdrawing our paddles, we both fell into a tranquil reverie full of inexpressible charms.

Why do human languages that find so many words for all the pains meet an invincible obstacle to making the sweetest and most natural emotions of the heart understood? Who will ever portray with fidelity those moments so rare in life when physical well-being prepares you for moral tranquillity and when something like a perfect equilibrium in the universe Edition: current; Page: [1354] is established before your eyes; when the soul, half asleep, balances between the present and the future, between the real and the possible; when, surrounded by beautiful nature, breathing a tranquil and mild atmosphere, at peace with himself, amid a universal peace, man lends an ear to the steady beating of his arteries, each pulse of which marks the passage of time that for him seems to flow drop by drop into eternity. Many men perhaps have seen the years of a long life accumulate without once experiencing anything similar to what we have just described. Those men cannot understand us. But there are some, we are sure, who will find in their memories and at the bottom of their hearts something to color our pictures with and, while reading us, will feel the recollection reawakened of a few fleeting hours that neither time nor the positive cares of life have been able to erase.

We were drawn out of our reverie by a rifle shot that suddenly echoed in the woods. The noise seemed at first to roll with a roar on the two banks of the river; then rumbling, it moved further away, until it was entirely lost in the depths of the surrounding forests. You would have said a long and fearsome war cry that civilization shouted out in its advance.

One evening in Sicily, we happened to get lost in a vast swamp that now occupies the place where formerly the city of Imera was built; the sight of this famous city that had become a wild abandoned place made a great and profound impression on us. Never in our path had we encountered a more magnificent witness to the instability of things human and to the miseries of our nature. Here, it was also an uninhabited place, but imagination, instead of going backward and trying to return toward the past, on the contrary rushed ahead and lost itself in an immense future. We wondered by what singular permission of destiny, we who had been able to contemplate the ruins of empires that no longer exist and to walk in the deserts of human making, we, children of an old people, were led to be present at one of the scenes of the primitive world and to see the still empty cradle of a great nation. These are not the more or less random predictions of wisdom. They are facts as certain as if they were accomplished. In a few years these impenetrable forests will have fallen. The noise of civilization and industry will break the silence of the Saginaw. Its echo will become silent.... Wharves will imprison its banks. Its waters that today flow ignored Edition: current; Page: [1355] and tranquil amid a nameless wilderness will be forced back in their course by the prow of ships. Fifty leagues still separate this uninhabited area from the large European settlements, and we are perhaps the last travelers allowed to contemplate it in its primitive splendor, so great is the impulse that carries the white race toward the complete conquest of the New World.a

It is this idea of destruction, this lurking thought of a near and inevitable change that, according to us, gives to the wilderness of America so original a character and so touching a beauty. You see it with a melancholy pleasure; you hurry in a way to admire it. The idea of this natural and wild grandeur that is going to end mingles with the magnificent images given birth by the triumphant march of civilization. You feel proud to be a man, and at the same time you feel I do not know what bitter regret about the power that God granted us over nature.b The soul is agitated by contrasting ideas, sentiments, but all the impressions that it receives are great and leave a profound trace.

* * * * *

We wanted to leave Saginaw the next day, July 27; but because one of our horses has been hurt by its saddle, we decided to remain one more day. Lacking another way to pass the time, we went hunting in the prairies that border the Saginaw below the cleared areas. These prairies are not swampy, as you might believe. They are more or less wide plains where there are no trees although the land is excellent. The grass is hard and three to four feet high. We found only a little game and returned early. The heat was suffocating as at the approach of a storm, and the mosquitoes even more troublesome Edition: current; Page: [1356] than usual. We walked always surrounded by a dense cloud of these insects against which we had to wage a perpetual war. Woe to the man who was forced to stop. He delivered himself defenseless to a merciless enemy. I recall having been forced to load my rifle while running, so difficult was it to stand still for an instant.

As we crossed the prairie on our return, we noticed that the Canadian who served as our guide followed a small marked path and looked with the greatest care at the ground before putting down his foot. “So why are you taking so many precautions,” I said to him; “are you afraid of getting wet?” “No,” he answered. “But I have acquired the habit when I cross the prairies always to look where I put my foot in order not to step on a rattlesnake.” “What the devil,” I began again, jumping onto the path, “are there rattlesnakes here?” “Oh yes indeed,” replied my American Norman with an imperturbable sang-froid, “the prairie is full of them.” I then reproached him for not warning us sooner. He claimed that since we wore good shoes and since the rattlesnake never bit above the ankle, he had not believed that we ran any great danger.

I asked him if the bite of the rattlesnake was fatal. He answered that you always died from it in less than twenty-four hours, if you did not appeal to the Indians. They know a remedy that, given in time, saved the patient, he said.

Whatever the case, during all the rest of the way we imitated our guide and, like him, looked at our feet.

The night that followed this scorching day was one of the most difficult that I have ever passed in my life. The mosquitoes had become so troublesome that, although I was overcome by fatigue, it was impossible for me to close my eyes. Toward midnight the storm that had threatened for a long time finally broke. Not able to hope for sleep, I got up and opened the door of our cabin in order at least to breathe the cool night air. It was not raining yet, the air seemed calm; but the forest was already shaking and out of it came deep moanings and long clamorings. From time to time a lightning bolt happened to illuminate the sky. The tranquil flow of the Saginaw, the small cleared area that bordered the river, the roofs of five or six cabins, and the belt of foliage that surrounded us, appeared then for an instant like an evocation of the future. Afterward everything was lost in the deepest darkness, Edition: current; Page: [1357] and the formidable voice of the wilderness began again to make itself heard.

I was witnessing this great spectacle with emotion, when I heard a sigh at my side, and in the flash of a lightning bolt I noticed an Indian pressed like me against the wall of our dwelling. The storm had probably interrupted his sleep, for he cast a fixed and troubled eye on the objects around him.

Was this man afraid of thunder? Or did he see in the clash of elements something other than a passing convulsion of nature? These fleeting images of civilization that loomed up as if by themselves amid the tumult of the wilderness, did they have a prophetic meaning for him? These moans from the forest that seemed to struggle in an unequal contest, did they come to his ear like a secret warning from God, a solemn revelation of the final fate reserved for the savage races? I cannot say. But his restless lips seemed to murmur a few prayers, and all his features were stamped with a superstitious terror.

* * * * *

At five o’clock in the morning, we thought about our departure. All the Indians in the neighborhood of Saginaw had disappeared; they had left to go to receive the presents that the English give to them each year, and the Europeans were engaged in the work of the harvest. So we had to accept going back through the forest without a guide. The undertaking was not as difficult as you could believe. There is generally only one path in these vast uninhabited places, and it is only a matter of not losing the trail in order to reach the end of the journey.

So at five o’clock in the morning, we recrossed the Saginaw; we received the good-byes and the final advice of our hosts, and turning the heads of our horses, we found ourselves alone in the middle of the forest. It was not, I admit, without a grave feeling that we began to penetrate its humid depths. This same forest that then surrounded us extended behind us to the Pole and to the Pacific Ocean. A single inhabited point separated us from the limitless wilderness, and we had just left it. These thoughts, moreover, only led us to hasten the pace of our horses, and at the end of three hours we reached an abandoned wigwam and the solitary banks of the Cass River. Edition: current; Page: [1358] A point of grass that went down to the river in the shade of large trees served as our table, and we began to have lunch, having before us the view of the river whose waters, as clear as crystal, meandered through the woods.

Coming from the wigwam of the Cass River we encountered several paths. Someone had indicated to us which one we should take; but it was easy to forget a few points, or to be misunderstood in such explanations. That is what we did not fail to experience that day. The person had spoken to us about two roads, there were three; it is true that among these three roads, two came together as one further on, as we learned after, but we did not know it then and our difficulty was great.

After looking carefully, discussing things well, we did as nearly all great men do and acted more or less by chance. We forded the river as well as we could and plunged rapidly toward the southwest. More than once the path seemed ready to disappear amid the undergrowth; in other places the road seemed so little used that we had trouble believing that it led anywhere other than to some abandoned wigwam. Our compass, it is true, showed us that we were always going in the right direction. Nevertheless, we were completely reassured only when we found the place where we had eaten three days earlier. A gigantic pine whose trunk, broken by the wind, we had admired, led us to recognize the spot. We did not, however, continue our course any less rapidly, for the sun was beginning to go down. Soon we reached a clearing that usually precedes cleared lands, and as night began to surprise us we saw the Flint River. A half-hour later, we found ourselves at the door of our host. This time the bear welcomed us as old friends and got up on its hind legs only to celebrate with joy our happy return.

During this entire day we had encountered no human face. On their side, the animals had disappeared; they had probably retreated beneath the foliage to escape the heat of the day. Only now and then did we find at the bare top of some dead tree, a hawk that, immobile on a single leg and sleeping tranquilly in the rays of the sun, seemed sculpted in the same wood that it had used for support.

It was amid this profound solitude that we thought suddenly about the Revolution of 1830 [whose clearest result until now to my knowledge is to Edition: current; Page: [1359] have sent Charles X to Edinburgh, {Louis-Philippe to St. Cloud and us to Saginaw}] whose first anniversary we had just reached. I cannot say with what impetuosity the memories of July 29 took hold of our minds. The cries and the smoke of combat, the noise of the cannon, the rumble of the musketry, the still more horrible ringing of the tocsin, this entire day with its fiery atmosphere seemed to emerge suddenly from the past and to come before me like a living tableau. It was only a sudden illumination, a passing dream. When, raising my head, I looked around me, the apparition had already vanished; but never had the silence of the forest seemed more chilling, its shadows more somber, or its solitude more complete.

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appendix 3: Sects in Americaa

Piece that could perhaps be introduced by modifying it, by making it shorter and more striking, into the place where I will explain the type of influence that democracy exercises on the Christian religion, but [even? (ed.)] when contrary to its habits democracy accepts the principle of religion [v: some sects in America] without discussion.

* * * * *

It was Sunday. The city was as deserted as if it had been threatened by an attack that very morning and all of the people had gone to the defense of the walls. The streets were stretched with chains and the shutters of the houses were closed with so much care that you would have said that the inhabitants feared that the sun would commit some base act by coming within.

I wandered for a long time in this desert without finding anyone who could point out my route. I finally met a man whose mild and venerable appearance first attracted me. Although he was of middle age, his dress preserved a certain old-fashioned air that struck me. He wore a jacket in the French style and a hat with a wide flat brim, short trousers and flat shoes; he had neither a ruffle on his shirt nor buckles on his shoes, but his jacket was of very fine cloth, and you noticed over his whole person such an extreme neatness that you would have almost taken it for elegance.

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“Sir,” I said to him, “could you point out to me a place in this city where I can pray to God?” He considered me with kindness and answered, without even putting his hand to his hat: “Thou art right, my friend. Come with me, but let us hurry, for the congregation must already be gathered.”

So we quickened our pace, and soon we were opposite a large building that I had already passed by without noticing that it was a church. My guide made me enter and entered himself, walking on his tiptoes while sliding along in silence, like a man who regrets not being a pure spirit in order to make still less noise. Having reached his pew, he finally sat down, discreetly removed his gloves and, having carefully rolled them up, seemed to fall suddenly into a profound meditation. When we were seated, I noticed that the church was full which I never would have suspected, so profound was the silence [v: the tranquillity and the immobility] that reigned there. All those around me wore the costume of my guide, even the smallest children who sat gravely in their pews, dressed in the same jacket in the French style and covered by a wide-brimmed hat.

I remained there one hour and forty minutes in the same silence and the same immobility. I finally turned toward the man who brought me and said to him: “Sir, I wanted to attend a church service and it seems to me that you have led me to a gathering of the deaf and dumb.” My guide, without seeming offended by my question, looked at me with the same kindness and said: “Dost thou not see that each of us is waiting for the Holy Spirit to illumine him; learn to moderate thine impatience in a holy place.” I kept quiet, and soon in fact one of those attending got up and began to speak. His accents were plaintive, and each of the words that he uttered was as if isolated between two long silences; and with a very pitiful voice he said some very consoling things, for he spoke about the inexhaustible goodness of God and about the obligation that men have to help each other, whatever their belief and the color of their skin.

When he was quiet, the gathering began to flow out peacefully. As I left, still moved by the language that I had just heard, I found myself near the man who had brought me and I said to him: “It seems to me that I have just heard spoken here the word of the Gospel. But my soul is troubled; Edition: current; Page: [1362] let me know, I beg of you, if grace can be produced in a man only if he wears a cut-away jacket and uses ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ with his neighbor.” My new friend reflected at length and answered: “The majority of our brothers think that is not absolutely necessary.”

Content to see that no indispensable connection existed between my soul and my jacket, I regained the street with a lighter step.

A little distance from there, I noticed another church. But far from praying to God so tranquilly there,b on the contrary, such a great tumult was produced and such a strange clamor arose that I could not repress a curious desire, and to satisfy it I entered. It was a Methodist church. I first saw in an elevated place, a young man whose thundering voice made the vaults of the building reverberate. His hair was standing on end, his eyes seemed to shoot flames, his lips were pale and trembling, his entire body seemed agitated by a universal trembling [v: prey to an anguish]. I wanted to break through the crowd in order to go to the aid of this unfortunate man, but stopped upon discovering that he was a preacher. He spoke of the perversity of man and of the inexhaustible treasures of divine vengeance. He probed one by one all the formidable mysteries of the other life. He portrayed the Creator as constantly busy heaping up the generations in the pits of hell and as indefatigable in creating sinners as in inventing punishments. I stopped completely troubled; the congregation was even more so than I. Terror showed itself in a thousand ways on all the faces, and repentance took on at every instant the appearance of despair and fury.c Women lifted their children in their arms and let out lamentable cries, others struck their forehead against the earth, men convulsed in their pews while accusing themselves of their sins in a loud voice, or rolled in the dust. As the movements of the minister became more rapid and his portraits more vivid, the passions of the assembly seemed to grow, and often it was difficult not to believe yourself in one of those infernal dwellings that the preacher depicted.

I fled full of disgust and penetrated by a profound terror. Author and preserver of all things, I said to myself, is it possible that you recognize Edition: current; Page: [1363] yourself in the horrible portrait that your creations make of you here? Must man be degraded by fear in order to raise him up to you, and can he climb to the ranks of your saints only by delivering himself to transports that make him descend below beasts?

Full of these thoughts, I walked rapidly without looking around myself, so much so that when I came to consider the place where I was, I noticed that I had left the city and walked into the middle of the woods that surround it. Nothing prompted me to retrace my steps, and I resolved to continue my route to see if I would not arrive at an inhabited place. At the end of two hours, I in fact reached a new clearing, and soon I noticed the first houses of a beautiful village.d A traveler just passing informed me that these (illegible word) were the property of a small religious sect called dansarse [sic ]. It was obvious in fact that the houses of the village had been built on a common plan and by a single association. They had cost the same amount; the same air of comfort reigned. At the center of the works arose a vast hall that served as the church. I was told that the divine service was going to be celebrated there, and curiosity led me to it.

At the end of the room already drawn up were about fifty men of different ages, but all wore the same dress. It was that of European peasants of the Middle Ages. Facing them was a more or less equal number of women enveloped in white clothes like great shrouds, from head to toe. Moreover, you saw neither pulpit, nor altar, nor anything that recalled a place consecrated by Christians to the worship of the Divinity. These men and women sang songs of a lugubrious and plaintive tone. From time to time, they accompanied themselves by clapping their hands. Other times, they began to move and made a thousand rotations without losing the beat, Edition: current; Page: [1364] sometimes marching in columns, sometimes gathering in a circle. Other times, they advanced toward each other as if to fight and then withdrew without touching. I was witnessing this spectacle with astonishment, when suddenly at a given signal the whole congregation began to dance. Women and men, old people and children began to jump to the point of breathlessness. They danced so long in this way that sweat ran down their faces. They finally stopped; and one of the oldest men of the company, after wiping his brow, began with a broken voice: “My brothers, let us give thanks to the Almighty who, amid all the various superstitions that disfigure humanity, has deigned finally to show us the way of salvation, and let us pray that he opens the eyes of this crowd of unfortunates who are still plunged into the darkness of error, and saves them from the eternal torments which perhaps await them.”

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appendix 4: Political Activity in Americaa

The first evening of my arrival in the United States,b I saw a large crowd assembled in one of the rooms of the inn. I learned that it was a political banquet. After the meal, I drew one of the guests aside and I said to him: “Excuse, I beg you, the curiosity of a foreigner who still only imperfectly understands your language and does not know about your customs.”

“Is there something that surprises you?” he said to me wiping his mouth.

“There is a great deal. I am afraid,” I answered, “that some unfortunate events have happened since I left Europe.”

“What do you mean?” he replied to me, all frightened.

“Yes,” I began again, “while disembarking this morning at the port I saw on all sides large posters that invited people to assemble in certain places that were indicated, and during the time that it took me to come here I heard two speeches which were concerned with public affairs, and I witnessed an election. Again, just a moment ago, while I was in a corner of the room where you held the banquet, it seemed to me that most of the guests were speaking about the dangers to the State and were seeking the means to avert them [v: I listened to the speeches of several of your orators Edition: current; Page: [1366] proposing a great number of projects, a few of which were to save the State and all of which could not fail to prevent some great misfortunes].”

“Is that all?” the American said to me. “In truth you frightened me with your unfortunate events. What surprises you repeats itself here every day.”

As he moved away while saying (illegible word), I grabbed him by his jacket and begged him to stop a moment. “Wait a bit,” I said again, “I still do not see clearly (illegible word).”

“What is more clear?” he said to me. “Don’t you know that we are a free people and that we take care of our affairs ourselves?”c

“But I imagined,” I began again, “that liberty was such a great good that those who possessed it were happier and consequently more tranquil than other men. I see on the contrary that you must be prey to great difficulties to torment yourselves so much to find remedies for them.”

“There is no people more enlightened, more free, more virtuous than ours,” <he said to me.

He was going to add a great deal more if I had not> Interrupting him at this point, “I see,” I cried. “With the aid of its enlightenment the people of the United States sees its difficulties more clearly than another, and with its liberty and its virtue it works hard to remedy them.”

“<Among us,” the American began again, “we have the habit of never interrupting anyone.>” The American began again: “If you had not jumped right into the middle of my comments, I was going to add that we were the happiest people in the world.” “This time I don’t follow,” I said. “<If public affairs are in a tranquil and prosperous state, why can you not speak about something other than politics? If you have good magistrates, why work constantly to give them (words crossed out)? If your rights are guaranteed, then what leads you to occupy yourself every day with the guarantee of your rights? If you enjoy a general comfort, what good is there in seeking Edition: current; Page: [1367] constantly to bring about comfort? And if you have easy communications among the various parts of your territory, why are you heard to talk only about roads, ports and canals?> If you have in fact what is sufficient for the strength of the soul and the well-being of the body, what more do you ask?”

“We work constantly to improve and to increase those things,” he said to me.

“<I am a foreigner,” I began again, “and you must excuse my surprise.>” I answered. “As for me, I would prefer to suffer tranquilly a few disparities in my lot [v: happiness] than to tire myself constantly in this way to make it better, and I still cannot comprehend that men are happy when they make so many efforts to become happier.”

“You make it very clear,” the American said to me, “that you are still not very worthy to be free.”

At this moment one of his friends approached us saying: “This is the time when the assembly is gathered for the Poles (illegible word) let’s leave. Do you want to accompany us?” the American said to me.

“Willingly,” I replied; “but what is this assembly? What is it?”

“It is,” he answered, “a meeting that has the purpose of expressing the sympathy of the American people in favor of the unfortunate Poles.”

“And what,” I said, “would you go to war with Russia?”

“Not at all,” he replied, “Russia is one of our most faithful allies. We do not want to go to war with Russia, but only to express the indignation that its current conduct causes us.”

“I understand,” I said, “that you are going to make speeches about Poland.”

“More or less,” he replied, “you have it. Consequently it is more of a diversion than a serious matter.”

“Good God,” I began again, “I thought you were fatigued after all the difficult efforts that you made today to increase the sum of your happiness. A European would think only of going to rest and would abandon other peoples to their fate.”

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appendix 5: Letter of Alexis de Tocqueville to Charles Stoffels

Alexis de Tocqueville
de Tocqueville, Alexis
21 April 1830
Charles Stoffels
Stoffels, Charles

I have greatly delayed replying to you, my dear friend, not as much however as would be indicated by the date of your letter, which bears the date 11 April, although it arrived only on the 15th, but you know what a rush of things I am caught up in. Even today, I hardly have the time to say to you all that I would like; I cannot wait any longer, however, without risking not finding you at Metz. So pardon me if I only touch very lightly on the question that you treated in depth and remarkably well (I say it to you not as a compliment).

And first, my dear friend, I will say to you that you make me out to be much more of a killjoy than I am naturally; you give me a conviction where I have only expressed doubts, and an absolute opinion when I have surrounded myself with qualifications. If you have done it for the purpose of the case, as a lawyer would say, nothing better; but if you acted involuntarily, I must point out the error and reestablish the point of departure. In general, my dear Charles, you must not imagine that, when I am discussing something with you, I have always taken care to develop fully the ideas that I put forward. You would in truth do me an honor that I do not deserve. I do not believe that you should talk with your friends as you speak in public. To stir the mind, to give the desire to reflect, to raise in passing questions that reflection comes to elaborate, such is the goal of conversation in my opinion; and I never have another with you. So, I beg of you, never take to the letter and, above all, as definitive the opinions that I do not reexamine and that I often throw out, more as a topic than as the result of reflection.

To come back to the great question that we are debating at this moment, I can put my point of view into two sentences.

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1. I doubt that the advanced state of civilization is as superior to the middling state as is proclaimed, even when the march of civilization has been well conducted;

2. I believe that almost always the intellectual education of a people is poorly done and that consequently enlightenment is often a fatal gift.

Among all half-civilized peoples, you recognize almost the same base of sentiments, ideas, passions, vices and virtues, more or less hidden it is true, but always easy to recognize. Different characters are to peoples what physiognomy is to the man: they differentiate peoples externally rather than demonstrating a profound and radical difference between them.

In the same way, you always find the mixture of the same elements among nations that have reached a very high degree of civilization; here, the bad elements are more numerous than the good ones; elsewhere, the opposite happens, but all are united solely by this social state. Thus, putting aside all special application, you can form theoretically the idea of a half-civilized people and that of a completely enlightened people; no particular circumstance, good or bad, has come to influence the development of these two principles, and I compare these two peoples with each other.

Among the first of the two, among the one still half-savage, the social state is imperfect, public force is badly organized, and the struggle between it and individual force is often unequal; there is little security for the individual, little tranquillity for the mass, mores brutal, ideas simple, religion there is almost always poorly understood. That is the bad side. Here is the good: forced back on itself in this way, the soul there finds an admirable spring of action, and individual force finds unexpected development; love of country is not rational, but instinctive, and this blind instinct brings forth miracles; sentiments are clear-cut, convictions profound; consequently devotion is not rare there, enthusiasm is common and scorn for death is deep in the heart and not on the lips.

Now let us compare to this half-civilized people the one that has attained a high degree of civilization.

Among the latter, the social body has foreseen everything; the individual Edition: current; Page: [1370] gives himself the pain of being born; as for the rest, society takes hold of him in the arms of his wet-nurse, it oversees his education, opens before him the roads to fortune; it supports him in his march, deflects dangers from his head; he advances in peace under the eyes of this second providence; this tutelary power that has protected him during his life still oversees the repose of his ashes. There is the fate of civilized man. The sentiment and the spectacle of happiness soon soften the wild roughness of his nature; he becomes mild, sociable; his passions become calm; his heart seems to have expanded the ability that he had been given to feel; he finds sources of emotions and of pleasure where his fathers would never have imagined that they could exist or would have scorned looking for them. Crimes become rare, unfortunately virtues also. The soul, asleep in this long repose, no longer knows how to wake up on occasion; individual energy is almost extinguished; each man leans on the others when it is necessary to act; in all other circumstances, on the contrary, each man closes up within himself; it is the reign of egoism, convictions are shaken at the same time, for it must be clearly admitted, my dear friend, that not one single intellectual truth is established and the centuries of enlightenment are centuries of doubts and of discussion. There is no fanaticism, but there are few beliefs, consequently few of those actions, sublime in the case of another life, absurd in the opposite hypothesis. Enthusiasm there is an attack of high fever; it does not have its source in the habitual state of the soul; the taste for positive reality grows as doubts increase; the whole world ends up being an insoluble problem for the man who clings to the most tangible objects and who ends up lying down on his stomach against the earth out of fear that he, in turn, may come to miss the ground.

You cannot deny, however, that many sentiments there become purer. Thus love of country becomes more reasoned, more thoughtful, religion better understood by those who still believe in it, love of justice more enlightened, the general interest better understood, but all these sentiments lose in strength what they gain in perfection, they satisfy the mind more and act less on life.

I could undoubtedly push this portrait very much further, but I would write a volume. What I said is sufficient to make you feel that in my opinion you cannot say in an absolute manner: man improves by becoming civilized, Edition: current; Page: [1371] but rather that man by becoming civilized gains at the very same time virtues and vices that he did not have; he becomes something other, that is what is most clear.

Now, I am going further and I admit that, everything balanced and weighed, I prefer the second state to the first. Security, individual happiness seem to me all in all the principal end of societies. This end is incontestably attained by civilization and if it can take place without leading to too strong an attack on human morality, it is certain that it is desirable.

But it frequently happens that the intellectual education of a people is poorly done; then, it is not precisely the enlightenment that must be blamed, but the way in which it is given. For example, one nation in the world presents a singular spectacle. For reasons easy to find but very long to enumerate, the progressive spirit or civilization, instead of marching in agreement with religious beliefs or at least not clashing with them in its march, has entered into battle with them, so that an enlightened man there has not only become the synonym of a doubting man, not even the equivalent of an unbelieving man, but in most cases a true enemy of religion, of country. This is not all. Political passions become mixed in with them; a man has become irreligious by pride, by opinion. This nation, I do not need to tell you, is ours. Among us, not only has enlightenment produced its usual effect; this effect is tripled by the way in which this enlightenment has been spread; if the movement was continuous, and nothing declares that it is to stop soon, we would present the example of a great social body without beliefs, a unique example in the history of men, and about which consequently it is impossible to reason.

Do not believe, however, my dear friend, that I conclude from this that enlightenment must be fought and that we must struggle against the irresistible inclination of our century. No, in truth, I believe on the contrary that the only task that remains for the government is to seek to put itself at the head of the movement in order to direct it, to lavish instruction itself in order to be sure that instruction will not become a murderous weapon in other hands. I think, above all, that its efforts must tend toward disconnecting religion from politics, for what particularly harms the first is the proximity of the second. Thus in summary, you see, we will both act more Edition: current; Page: [1372] or less in the same way, you by enthusiasm and training, me by reasoning and calculations. You must notice, my dear Charles, that I have been going post-haste for a page and a half. In fact, I do not have time and must say farewell to you. I reproach myself for having philosophized in this way for an hour instead of chatting, which would have been much more valuable, but an honest man has only [interrupted text (ed.)]. (YTC, AVII)

Edition: current; Page: [1373]

appendix 6: Foreword to the Twelfth Edition

However great and sudden the events that have just been accomplished in a moment before our eyes may be, the author of the present work has the right to say that he was not surprised by them. This book was written, fifteen years ago, with the constant preoccupation of a single thought: the impending, irresistible, universal advent of democracy in the world. May it be reread. You will find on each page a solemn warning that reminds men that society is changing form; humanity, changing condition; and that new destinies are approaching.

At the beginning these words were written:

The gradual development of equality of conditions is a providential fact; it has the principal characteristics of one: it is universal, it is lasting, it escapes every day from human power; all events, like all men, serve its development. Would it be wise to believe that a social movement that comes from so far could be suspended by the efforts of a generation? Do you think that after having destroyed feudalism and vanquished kings, democracy will retreat before the bourgeois and the rich? Will it stop now that it has become so strong and its adversaries so weak?

The man who, in the presence of a monarchy strengthened rather than weakened by the July Revolution, wrote these lines made prophetic by events, can again today call the attention of the public to his work without fear.

You must allow him as well to add that current circumstances give his book a timely interest and a practical utility that it did not have when it appeared for the first time.

Royalty existed then. Today it is destroyed. The institutions of America, which were only a subject of curiosity for monarchical France, must be a Edition: current; Page: [1374] subject of study for republican France. It is not force alone that establishes a new government; it is good laws. After the combatant, the legislator. The one has destroyed, the other establishes. Each has his work. If it is no longer a matter of knowing if we will have royalty or the Republic in France, it remains for us to learn if we will have an agitated or a tranquil Republic, a regular or an irregular Republic, a liberal or an oppressive Republic, a Republic that threatens the sacred rights of property and of family or a Republic that acknowledges and consecrates them. A terrible problem, whose solution is important not only to France, but to the whole civilized world. If we save ourselves, we save at the same time all the peoples who are around us. If we are lost, all of them are lost with us, Depending on whether we will have democratic liberty or democratic tyranny, the destiny of the world will be different, and you can say that today it depends on us whether the Republic ends up being established everywhere or abolished everywhere.

Now, this problem that we have only just posed, America resolved more than sixty years ago. For sixty years, the principle of sovereignty of the people that we enthroned yesterday among us, has reigned there undivided. It is put into practice there in the most direct, the most unlimited, the most absolute manner. For sixty years the people who have made it the common source of all their laws, have grown constantly in population, in territory, in wealth, and note it well, they have found themselves to have been, during this period, not only the most prosperous, but the most stable of all the peoples of the earth. While all the nations of Europe were ravaged by war or torn apart by civil discords, the American people alone in the civilized world remained at peace. Nearly all of Europe was turned upside down by revolutions; America did not even have riots; the Republic there was not disruptive, but conservative of all rights; individual property had more guarantees there than in any country in the world; anarchy remained as unknown as despotism.

Where else could we find greater hopes and greater lessons? Let us not turn our attention toward America in order to copy slavishly the institutions that it has given itself, but in order to understand better those that are suitable for us, less to draw examples from America than instruction, to borrow Edition: current; Page: [1375] the principles rather than the details of its laws. The laws of the French Republic can and must, in many cases, be different from those that govern the United States, but the principles on which the American constitutions rest, these principles of order, of balance of powers, of true liberty, of sincere and profound respect for law are indispensable to all Republics; they must be common to all, and you can say in advance that wherever they are not found, the Republic will soon cease to exist. 1848.

Edition: current; Page: [1376] Edition: current; Page: [1377]

Ouvrages utilisés par Tocqueville [Works Used by Tocqueville]

Cet appendice contient les ouvrages cités par Tocqueville dans son livre et ceux qui apparaissent dans ses notes et brouillons (nous les avons fait précéder de *). Dans les papiers de Tocqueville, on trouve deux bibliographies (YTC, CIIa et CIIba qui, en plus de certaines références, permettent d’identifier les éditions qu’il a utilisées. Nous avons également repris les éditions du catalogue de la bibliothèque du château de Tocqueville (YTC, AIe) quand cela aété possible. Dans les autres cas, nous citons la première édition des ouvrages.

L’inclusion d’un ouvrage dans la liste n’indique pas nécessairement qu’il a servi au travail de rédaction. Tocqueville s’est parfois intéressé à des textes qu’il n’a pas pu obtenir à la Bibliothèque Royale ou il a pris note d’un livre qu’on lui recommandait et ne l’a jamais lu. Certains livres ont beaucoup marqué la Démocratie, tels le traité d’économie politique de Villeneuve-Bargemont ou le Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité de Rousseau. S’ils ne se trouvent pas mentionnés dans cette liste, c’est évidemment que Tocqueville ne les cite pas.

La bibliothèque du château conserve aussi un certain nombre de brochures, de discours et d’imprimés que l’auteur a reçus pendant son voyage en Amérique. Ces textes non découpés n’ont jamaisété lus par Tocqueville.b La plus grande partie de ces ouvrages ne figurent pas dans cette liste. Nous citons néanmoins ceux qui ont assez intéressé Tocqueville pour que leur couverture porte des remarques et des annotations de sa main.

This appendix contains the works cited by Tocqueville in his book and those that appear in his notes and drafts (I have preceded them with *). In Tocqueville’s papers are found two bibliographies (YTC, CIIa and CIIba) which, in addition to certain references, allow us to identify the editions that he used. I have as well gone back when possible to the editions of the catalogue of the library of the Tocqueville château (YTC, AIe). In other cases, I cite the first edition of the works.

The inclusion of a work in the list does not necessarily indicate that it was used in the work of writing. Tocqueville was sometimes interested in texts that he was not able to obtain from the Royal Library, or he took note of a book recommended to him and never read it. Certain books greatly influenced the Democracy, such as the treatise on political economy of Villeneuve-Bargement or Rousseau’s Discours sur l’origine de l’inégalité. If they are not mentioned in this list, it is clearly because Tocqueville does not cite them.

The library of the château also preserves a certain number of brochures, speeches, and printed materials that the author received during his journey in America. These uncut texts were never read by Tocqueville.b Most of these works do not appear in this list. I nonetheless cite those that interested Tocqueville enough so that their covers bear marks and annotations in his hand.Edition: current; Page: [1378]

* [A. C. T., “Mouvement de la presse française en 1836,” Revue des deux mondes, 4e série, X, 1837, pp. 453-98.]
Abridged History of the United States. [Peut-être/Maybe: Hosea Hildreth, An Abridged History of the United States of America. Boston: Carter, Hendee and Babcock, 1831.]
An Account of the Church of Christ in Plymouth. [Dans/In: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society for the Year 1795. Boston: Printed by Samuel Hall, 1795. IV, pp. 107-41.]
Adair, History of the American Indians. [James Adair, The History of the American Indians . . . London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1775.]
* John Quincy Adams, President Quincy’s Centennial Address. Boston, 1830.
* Address of the Convention to the People of the United States.
* Allen Biographical Dictionary. [William Allen, An American Biographical and Historical Dictionary . . . Cambridge (Massachusetts), 1809; Boston: William Hyde, 1832.]
* Almanach royal, 1833. [Almanach royal et national pour l’an 1833 . . . Paris: Guyot et Scribe, 1833.]
American Almanac. [The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge. Boston: Gray and Bowen, 1829-[61]. Tocqueville cite les volumes de/Tocqueville cites the volumes of 1831, 1832, 1833 et/and 1834.]
* American Annual Register, 1827-1835. [[Joseph Blunt,] The American Annual Register. New York: G. and C. Carvill, 1827. New York: E. and G. W. Blunt, 1828-1830.]
American Constitution. [L’édition du Fédéraliste employée par Tocqueville reproduit le texte de la Constitution américaine, mais Tocqueville cite une autre source/The edition of the Federalist used by Tocqueville reproduces the text of the American constitution, but Tocqueville quotes another source.]
* American Medical and Philosophical Register. [American Medical and Philosophical Register, or Annals of Medicine, Natural History, Agriculture and the Arts, conducted by a society of Gentlemen [David Hosack and Benjamin Edition: current; Page: [1379]Rush entre autres/among others]. New York: C. S. Van Winkle, 1811-14. 4 vols.]
* American Monthly Review. [Peut-être celle publiée entre 1832 et 1834 par/maybe the one published between 1832 and 1834 by Hillard, Gray and Co., Boston. 4 vols.]
* American Quarterly Review, septembre 1831. [Tocqueville semble avoirété intéressé par le compte-rendu de/Tocqueville seems to have been interested in the review of: Notices of Brazil in 1828 and 1829, by the Rev. R. Walsh, London, 1830. 2 vols.]
* The Anniversary Report of the Pennsylvania Society for Discouraging the Use of Ardent Spirits, 1831. [Peut-être/Maybe: The Anniversary Report of the Managers of the Pennsylvania Society for Discouraging the Use of Ardent Spirits, Read on the 27th May 1831. Philadelphia: Henry H. Porter, 1831.]
* Annual Law Register. Voir/See Griffith.
* Annual Report of the Apprentices’ Library Company of Philadelphia [Probablement/Probably: Annual Report and the Treasurer’s Account of the Apprentices’ Library Company of Philadelphia. March, 1831. “Modèle d’associations charitables,” note Tocqueville/“Model of charitable associations,” notes Tocqueville.].
* Annuaire Militaire de 1834.
* Marquis d’Argenson. [Considérations sur le Gouvernement de la France. Amsterdam [Paris]: Chez Marc-Michel Rey, 1765.]
* Francis Bacon, Nouvel organe.
* Edward Baines. [History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain. London: H. Fisher, R. Fisher & P. Jackson, 1835.]
* [Odilon Barrot, “[Discours],” Journal des débats, 1 mars 1834.]
* Heliza Bates, The Doctrine of Friends. [Elisha Bates, The Doctrines of Friends, or Principles of the Christian Religion as Held by the Society of Friends, Commonly Called Quakers. Mountpleasant (Ohio): printed by the author, 1825.]
* Beccaria [Traité des délits et des peines . . . Philadelphia [Paris], 1766.].Edition: current; Page: [1380]
Jeremy Belknap, History of New Hampshire, Boston, Philadelphia: 1784-92. 3vols.
Jeremy Belknap, [“Queries Respecting the Slavery and Emancipation of the Negroes in Massachusetts, Proposed by the Hon. Judge Tucker of Virginia, and Answered by the Rev. Dr. Belknap,” dans/in: Massachusetts Historical Collection, IV, p. 191-211].
Bell, Rapport sur les affaires indiennes, 24 février 1830. [John Bell, Removal of Indians. February 24, 1830, [Documents of the House of Representatives,21st Congress].]
Beverley, History of Virginia from the Earliest Period. Traduit en français en 1707/Translated into French in 1707. [Robert Beverley, Histoire de la Virginie. Paris: Pierre Ribou, 1707.]
Blackstone. [Commentaries on the Laws of England. Tocqueville le juge un écrivain médiocre, incapable d’un jugement profond/Tocqueville considers him a mediocre writer, incapable of a profound judgment.]
Blosseville, Mémoires de Tanner. [Mémoires de John Tanner. Traduit par Ernest de Blosseville/Translated by Ernest de Blosseville. Paris: A. Bertrand, 1835. 2 vols.]
* Joseph Blunt, A Historical Sketch of the Formation of the Confederacy. [A Historical Sketch of the Formation of the Confederacy, Particularly with Reference to the Provincial Limits and the Jurisdiction of the General Government over Indian Tribes and the Public Territory. New York: Geo. & Chas. Carvill, 1825. “Curieux pour connaître les principes du gouvernement fédéral de l’Union”/“Interesting for knowing the principles of the federal government of the Union.”]
* Blunt, Joseph. Voir/See: American Annual Register.
* Boissy d’Anglas, François Antoine comte de, Essai sur la vie, les écrits et les opinions de M. de Malesherbes. Paris: Treuttel et Würtz, 1819-21. 2 vols.
* Bossuet, Discours sur l’histoire universelle, depuis le commencement du monde jusqu’à l’empire de Charlemagne, avec la suite jusqu’à l’année 1700, 1756. [Nous n’avons pas trouvé l’édition de 1756 mentionnée dans le catalogue de la bibliothèque du château de Tocqueville. Il s’agit peut-être de l’édition de Babuty fils, Paris, 1765. 2 vols./I have not found the edition of 1756 mentioned in the catalogue of the library of the Tocqueville château. Perhaps it is the edition of Babuty fils, Paris, 1765. 2 vols.]
* Bossuet, Histoire des variations des églises protestantes. Paris: G. Desprez et J. Dessesartz, 1730. 4 vols.
[Boston] Nineteenth Annual Report of the Receipts and Expenses of the City of Boston and County of Suffolk. 1 May 1831.Edition: current; Page: [1381]
Brevard’s Digest of the Public Statute Law of South Carolina. [Joseph Brevard, An Alphabetical Digest of the Public Statute Law of South Carolina. Charleston (South Carolina): John Hoff, 1814.]
* Buffon, Histoire naturelle générale et particulière. Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1769-1781. 13 vols.
* Buffon, Histoire naturelle des oiseaux. Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1770-83. 9 vols.
* Burke (mot illisible) Register. [The Annual Register of World Events; A Review of the Year. London, New York: Longmans, Green, 1758-1963. Edité par E. Burke jusqu’à 1791/Edited by E. Burke until 1791.]
Lord Byron, Childe Harold.
* Lord Byron, [Correspondance de lord Byron avec un ami . . . Paris: A. and W. Calignani, 1825. 2 vols].
* Candolle. [Tocqueville mentionne un ouvrage de Candolle sur l’or et l’argent. Il s’agit peut-être de/Tocqueville mentions a work by Candolle on gold and money. Perhaps it is Alphonse de Candolle, Les caisses d’épargne de la Suisse considérées en elles-mêmes et comparées avec celles d’autres pays . . . Genève: A. Cherbuliez et Cie., 1838.]
Carey, Letters on the Colonization Society. Philadelphia, 1833. [Mathew Carey,Letters on the Colonization Society . . . 7eédition. Philadelphia: Sterotyped by L. Johnson, 1833.]
Caroline du Sud. Rapport fait à la convocation de la Caroline du Sud. Ordonnance de nullification du 24 novembre 1832. [Il y a plusieurs éditions de ce document. Tocqueville aurait pu consulter/There are several editions of this document. Tocqueville could have consulted: The Report, Ordinance, and Addresses of the Convention of the People of South Carolina. Adopted, November 24th, 1832.Columbia (South Carolina): A. S. Johnston, 1832.]
Cass. Voir/see Clark.
Chalmer. [Probablement/probably, Lionel Chalmers, An Account of the Weather and Diseases of South Carolina. London: Edward and Charles Dilly, 1776. 2 vols.]
* “[Chambre des députés, discussion sur la loi de compétences départamentales/ Chamber of Deputies, discussion of the law on departmental jurisdiction],”Journal des débats, 7 mars 1838.
* William Ellery Channing, Discourses, Reviews and Miscellaneous. 1 vol. [William Ellery Channing, Discourses, Reviews and Miscellanies. Boston: Carter, Hender and Co., 1830. 2 vols.]Edition: current; Page: [1382]
Charlevoix, Histoire de la Nouvelle France. [Pierre-François Charlevoix, Histoire et description générale de la Nouvelle France . . . Paris: Chez Nyon Fils, 1744.]
Chateaubriand, René.
* Chateaubriand, [Essai sur la littérature anglaise. Paris: Charles Gosselin et Furne, 1836. 2 vols].
Clark et Cass. Rapports du 4 février 1829, 29 novembre 1823 et 19 novembre 1829/Reports of 4 February 1829, 29 November 1823 and 19 November 1829.
* De Witt Clinton, Memoirs of De Witt Clinton [New York: J. Seymour, 1829]. Voir/See David Hossak.
Code of 1650. Hartford, 1830. [The Code of 1650 . . . Hartford (Connecticut): S. Andrus, 1830.]
* [Auguste Colin, “Lettres sur l’Egypte—Administration territoriale du Pacha,” Revue des deux mondes, XIII, 1838, pp. 655-71.]
Companion to the Almanac for 1830. [Companion to the Almanac; or Year-Book of General Information. London: Stationers’ Co., 1830.]
Compte général de l’Administration des Finances, [Paris, 1808-. Le titre change à l’occasion/The title changes on occasion ].
Connecticut. Constitution de 1638. [Les citations de Tocqueville appartiennent au Code of 1650, qui reproduit la Constitution de 1638 aux pages 11-19/Tocqueville’s quotations are from the Code of 1650, which reproduces the constitution of 1638 on pages 11-19.]
John Cook. [Voir/See Look]
* [James Fenimore Cooper, Excursion in Switzerland. Paris: A. and W. Calignani and Co., 1836; et/and Baudry, 1836.]
* [James Fenimore Cooper, Letter of J. Fenimore Cooper to Gen. Lafayette, on the Expenditure of the United States of America. Paris: Baudry, 1831.]
* [James Fenimore Cooper, Notions of the Americans; Picked up by a Travelling Bachelor. London: Henry Colburn, 1828. 2 vols. Dans ses notes, Tocqueville cite l’édition anglaise, mais il a acheté avant son départ la version française publiée sous le titre/In his notes, Tocqueville cites the English edition, but before his departure he bought the French version published with the title: Lettres sur les mœurs et les institutions des États-Unis de l’Amérique du Nord. Paris: A. J. Kilian, 1828. 4 vols en 2.]
Darby’s View of the United States. [William Darby, View of the United States, Historical, Geographical, and Statistical . . . Philadelphia: H. S. Tanner, 1828. “Cet ouvrage est estimé mais déjà ancien, il date de 1828.”/“This work is respected but already old; it dates from 1828.” ] Edition: current; Page: [1383]
* A Practical Treatise of the Peace in Criminal Jurisdiction, by Davis. [Daniel Davis, A Practical Treatise upon the Authority and Duty of Justices of the Peace in Criminal Prosecutions. Boston: Cummings, Hilliard, 1824. Tocqueville jugeait curieux pour la procédure civile ce texte estimé/Tocqueville considered this respected text interesting for civil procedure.]
Delolme [voir/see de Lolme].
Descouritz. [Michel Etienne Descourtilz, Voyages d’un naturaliste et ses observations . . . Paris: Dufart Père, 1809. 3 vols.]
Documents législatifs. [Voir U.S. Congress. Legislative documents.]
* Douglas, Histoire générale des colonies. Douglas’ Summary, 1775. [William Douglass, A Summary, Historical and Political of the First Planting, Progressive Improvements, and Present State of the British Settlements in North America.London: R. Baldwin, 1755. 2 vols. Nous n’avons pas pu trouver l’édition de 1775/I have not been able to find the edition of 1775.]
* William Alexander Duer, Outlines of the Constitutional Jurisprudence of the United States. [New York: Collins and Hanny, 1833.]
* Dufresne de St. Léon,Étude du crédit public. [Dufresne de Saint-Léon, Louis-César-Alexandre,Étude du crédit public et des dettes publiques. Paris: Bossangue Père, 1824.]
Duponceau, Correspondance avec le Rvd. Heckewelder. [Voir/See Heckewelder]
* Durand, de Dauphiné, Voyages d’un François, exilé pour la religion, avec une description de la Virginie & Marilan dans l’Amérique. [La Haye, [imprimé par l’auteur], 1696.]
* F. S. Eastman, History of the State of New-York. [New York: E. Bliss, 1828.]
* Elliot’s Pocket Almanac of the Federal Government. 1832. [Elliot’s Washington Pocket Almanac. Washington: S. A. Eliot [sic ]. “Assez curieux comme présentant le tableau des rouages administratifs du gouvernement central.”/“Quite interesting for presenting the picture of the administrative machinery of the central government.” ]
Emerson’s Medical Statistics. [Gouverneur Emerson, Medical Statistics,Consisting of Estimates Relating to the Population of Philadelphia, with its Changes as Influenced by the Deaths and Births, During Ten Years, viz. from 1821 to 1830, Inclusive. Philadelphia: Joseph R. A. Kenett, 1831. 32 pp.]
Encyclopedia americana. [Reçue de Francis Lieber/Received from Francis Lieber.]
* Encyclopédie
Everett. [Edward Everett, Speech of Mr. Everett, of Massachusetts, on the Bill for Edition: current; Page: [1384]Removing the Indians from the East to the West Side of the Mississippi, Delivered . . . 19th of May, 1830: Boston, 1830.]
* Extracts from the Ancient Roads [Records] of New Haven. [Fait partie du Code of 1650/Part of the Code of 1650.]
* Extrait du bulletin de la Sociétédegéographie. Tableau de la population des États-Unis d’après les différents recensements exécutés par ordre du gouvernement.
* The Fashionable Tour. [[Gideon Miner Davidson,] The Fashionable Tour. A Guide to Travellers Visiting the Middle and Northern States and the Province of Canada. 4e édition. Saratoga Springs and NewYork, 1830.]
Le Fédéraliste. [The Federalist. Washington: Thomson & Homans, 1831.(Édition identifiée par James T. Schleifer/Edition identified by James T. Schleifer ). Au début de 1835, Tocqueville a également employée l’édition française de Buisson ..., Paris, 1792. 2 vols./(Edition identified by James T. Schleifer.) At the beginning of 1835, Tocqueville also used the French edition of Buisson ..., Paris, 1792. 2 vols.]
* Fisher, Pauperism and Crime. 1831 [W. L. Fisher, Pauperism and Crime. Philadelphia: The Author, 1831].
Fischer, Conjectures sur l’origine des Américains. [Jean-Eberhard Fischer, De l’origine des Américains. Saint-Petersburg, 1771.]
Peter Force, The National Calendar, and Annals of the United States, for 1833. Washington: Printed and Published by Peter Force, [1833].
* Franklin, An Historical Review of the Constitutions of Pennsylvania. 1759. [Benjamin Franklin, An Historical Review of the Constitutions of Pennsylvania . . .London: R. Griffiths, 1759.]
* Gallatin, Considerations of the Currency and Banking System of the United States. [Albert Gallatin, Considerations on the Currency and Banking System of the United States. Philadelphia: Carey & Lea, 1831.]
* Gallatin. Voir/See: *Memorial of the Committee of the Free Trade Convention Held in Philadelphia, October 1831.
Geisberg. Voir/See: Zeisberger.
Isaac Godwin, The Town Officer. [Isaac Goodwin, Town Officer; or Laws of Massachusetts Relative to the Duties of Municipal Officer . . . Worcester (Massachusetts): Dorr and Howland, 1829.]
* Daniel Gookin, Historical Collections of the Indians in New England. 1792. [Dans/In Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. For the Year 1792.Boston, 1792. I, pp. 141-226.]
* Miss Grant, The American Lady. [[Anne Grant,] Memoirs of an American Edition: current; Page: [1385]Lady. London: Longman, 1808, et nombreuses rééditions/and many reprints.]
* William Griffith, Annual Law Register of the United States. [Burlington (New Jersey): David Allinson, 1822.]
* [Friedrich M. Grimm, Nouveaux mémoires secrets et inédits historiques, politiques, anecdotiques et littéraires . . . Paris: Lerouge-Wolf, 1834. 2 vols.]
* [François Guizot, “De la religion dans les sociétés modernes,” L’Université catholique, 5 (27), mars 1838, pp. 231-40.]
* [François Guizot, Histoire de la Civilisation en Europe.]
Ebenezer Hazard, Historical Collection of State Papers and Other Authentic Documents Intended as Materials for an History of the United States of America.Philadelphia, 1792. [Philadelphia: Printed by T. Dobson for the author, 1792-94.]
* John Heckewelder, Historical Account of the Indian Nature. 1 vol. [“An Account of the History, Manners and Customs of the Indian Nations,” Transactions of the American Philosophical Society . . . Philadelphia: A. Small, 1819-43. I, pp. 3-347.]
John Heckewelder, Transactions of the American Philosophical Review. [American Philosophical Society, Transactions of the Historical and Literary Committee of the American Philosophical Society . . . Philadelphia: A. Small, 1819-43. 3 vols. Le volume I, pages 351-448, contient/Volume I, pages 351-448, includes: “Correspondence between Mr. Heckewelder and Mr. Duponceau, on the Languages of the American Indians.” “Très curieux sur les langues indiennes, les mœurs et l’histoire des Indiens.”/“Very interesting on the Indian languages, the mores and the history of the Indians.” ]
*Père Hennepin, Nouveau voyage dans la Mer du Sud et du Nord. Utrecht, 1698. [Il semble que Tocqueville n’ait pas lu cet ouvrage/It seems that Tocqueville did not read this work.]
* Hinton, History US. [John Howard Hinton ed., The History and Topography of the United States. Jennings & Chaplin & J. T. Hinton, 1830-33. 2 vols.]
* David Hosack, Essays on various Subjects of Medical Science. 3 vols. [New York: J. Seymour, 1824-30. 3 vols.]
* David Hosack, Memoirs of De Witt Clinton [New York: J. Seymour, 1829.]
* David Hosack. Voir/See American Medical and Philosophical Register.
* John Howard, Memoirs of John Howard. [Probablement/probably Thomas Taylor, Memoirs of John Howard. London: John Hatchard and Son, 1836.]Edition: current; Page: [1386]
Hutchinson, Histoire. [Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay . . . 2eédition/second edition. London: Mr. Richardson, 1765.]
Jefferson, Correspondance de Jefferson par Conseil. [Louis Conseil, Mélanges politiques et philosophiques extraits des mémoires et de la correspondance de Thomas Jefferson . . . Paris: Paulin, 1833.]
Jefferson, Lettres à Madison. [Dans l’édition de Conseil/In Conseil’s edition.]
Jefferson, Mémoires. [Fragments de l’édition de Conseil/Fragments fromConseil’s edition.]
Jefferson, Notes sur la Virginie. [Thomas Jefferson, Observations sur la Virginie. Traduites par l’abbé Morellet/Translated by the Abbé Morellet. Paris: Barrois, l’aîné, 1786.]
* Johnson, Wonder-working Providence of Sions Saviour in New England. London. [“Wonder-working Providence of Sions Saviour. Being a Relation of the First Planting in New England, in the Yeere, 1628,” dans/in: Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, II, pp. 51-95; III, pp. 123-61; IV, pp. 1-51; VII, pp. 1-58; VIII, pp. 1-39.]
* Journal des débats, 1 mars 1834. Voir/See Odilon Barrot.
* Journal des débats, 22 janvier 1836. [Sur la Pennsylvanie et ses communication, spécialement les chemins de fer/On Pennsylvania and its communication networks, especially the railroads.]
* Journal des débats, 27 janvier 1836. [Sur la banque américaine et sa réaction après l’incendie de New York/On the American bank and its reaction after the New York conflagration.]
* Journal des débats, 7 mars 1838. Voir/See “Chambre des députés.”
* Kempis, Imitation de Jésus-Christ.
Kent’s Commentaries. [James Kent, Commentaries on American Law. New York: O. Halsted, 1826. 4 vols.]
* La Bruyère. [Les caractères de Théophraste et de La Bruyère avec des notes par Mr. Coste. Paris: L. Prault, 1769. 2 vols.]
Lafayette, Mémoires. [Marquis de Lafayette, Mémoires, correspondance et manuscrits du général Lafayette. Paris: H. Fournier aîné, 1837-38. 6 vols. Nous avons fait remarquer que la citation des mémoires pourrait provenir de l’article de Sainte-Beuve/I have noted that the quotation from the memoirs could have come from the article by Sainte-Beuve, “Mémoires de Lafayette,” Revue des deux mondes, 4e série, 15, 1838, pp. 355-81.]Edition: current; Page: [1387]
* Lafayette. [Le général Lafayette à ses collègues de la Chambre des députés. Paris: Paulin, 1832.]
* La Hontan. [Voyages du Baron de La Hontan dans l’Amérique septentrionale. Amsterdam: F. l’Honoré, 1705.]
* La Hontan. [Nouveaux voyages de Mr. le baron de la Hontan en Amérique septentrionale. La Haye: F. l’Honoré, 1703.]
* La Luzerne, César-Henri comte de, Correspondence of C. A. de La Luzerne,dans/in Jared Sparks, The Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. Boston 1830. Vols. X et XI. Identifié par/Identified by George W. Pierson.
Lamartine, Jocelyn.
* La Rochefoucault Liancourt, Voyage dans les États-Unis. [Voyage dans les États-Unis d’Amérique, fait en 1795, 1796 et 1797. Paris: Du Pont, Buisson, Charles Pougens, [1799]. 8 vols.]
John Lawson, The History of Carolina. [John Lawson, The History of Carolina ... London: T. Warner, 1718.]
Lepage-Dupratz, Histoire de la Louisiane. [Antoine Simon Le Page Du Pratz, Histoire de la Louisiane . . . Paris: De Bure, 1758. 3 vols.]
* Letter to the Mechanics of Boston. [[Joseph Tuckerman,] Letter to the Mechanics of Boston, Respecting the Formation of a City Temperance Society . . . Boston: Published by the Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance, 1831. “Contenant des détails curieux sur les diverses sociétés de tempérance.” Auteur identifié par George W. Pierson. L’ouvrage est cité aussi dans le Système pénitentiaire./“Containing interesting details on the various temperance societies.” Author identified by George W. Pierson. Cited also in the Penitentiary System.]
* Lettresédifiantes. [Lettres édifiantes et curieuses écrites des missionsétrangères par quelques missionaires de la compagnie de Jésus.]
* Christophe Level Voyage into New England, 1623-1624. [Christopher Levett, A Voyage into New England, Began in 1623 and Ended in 1624 . . . London: William Jones, 1628.]
De Lolme. [Jean Louis de Lolme, The Constitution of England.]
Long’s Expedition. [Stephen H. Long, Narrative of an Expedition to the Source of St. Peter’s River . . . Philadelphia: H. C. Carey & I. Lea, 1824. 2 vols.]
* Stephen H. Long, Account of and Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains Performed in the Years 1819 and 1820. [Philadelphia: H. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1822-23.]Edition: current; Page: [1388]
* Looks’ Russia. London, 1800. [Probablement/Probably, John Cook. Voyages and Travels Through the Russian Empire, Tartary, and Part of the Kingdom of Persia. Edinburgh: [imprimé pour l’auteur], 1770.]
* Louisiane. Code de procédure. [Edward Livingston, A System of Penal Law, for . . . Louisiana; . . . A Code of Procedure . . . Nouvelle Orléans, 1824.]
Digeste des lois de la Louisiane. [L. Moreau Lislet, A General Digest of the Acts of the Legislature of Louisiana . . . from 1804 to 1827 . . . Nouvelle Orléans, 1830.]
Mahomet, Coran.
[Malesherbes] Mémoires pour servirà l’histoire du droit public de la France en matière d’impôts. Bruxelles [Paris], 1779.
Malte-Brun. [Conrad Malte-Brun, Annales des voyages . . . Paris: F. Buison, 1809-14. 24 vols.]
Machiavel, Le Prince. [Les éditeurs des œuvres complètes de Tocqueville (OC,XI, p. 19) ont identifié deux éditions qui se trouvaient dans la bibliothèque de Tocqueville: Œuvres complètes traduites par J.-V. Périès. Paris: Michaux, 1823-26, 12 vols; et une édition en italien, publiée à La Haye, et non daté/The editors of the complete works of Tocqueville (OC, XI, p. 19) have identified two editions that were found in the Tocqueville library: Œuvres complètes traduites par J.-V. Périès. Paris: Michaux, 1823-26. 12 vols; and an edition in Italian, published in The Hague, and undated.]
Marshall, Vie de Washington. [John Marshall, Vie de George Washington . . . Paris: Dentu, 1808. 5 vols.]
Massachusetts. Laws of Massachusetts. Boston, 1823. 3 vols. [The General Laws of Massachusetts from the Adoption of the Constitution to February, 1822 . . .Boston: Wells & Lilly & Cummings & Hilliard, 1823, 1827. 3 vols.]
Massachusetts. Historical Collection of State Papers. Massachusetts Historical Collection. Boston, 1792. Réédité en 1806. [Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. Reprinted by Monroe & Francis, Boston. Voir/See: Gookin, Belknap, Rogers.]
* Massillon, Sermons, édition de 1740 en 5 vols. [Nous n’avons pas réussi à retrouver cetteédition/I have not succeeded in finding this edition.]
Mather’s Magnalia Christi Americana. Hartford, 1820. 2 vols. [Cotton Mather, Magnalia Christi Americana: or, the Ecclesiastical History of New England ...,Hartford (Connecticut): S. Andrus, 1820. 2 vols.]
* J. H. McCulloh, Researches, Philosophical and Antiquarian Concerning the Aboriginal History of America [Baltimore: Fielding Lucas, 1829.]Edition: current; Page: [1389]
* Memorial of the Committee of the Free Trade Convention Held in Philadelphia, October 1831. [[Albert Gallatin,] Memorial of the Committee Appointed by the ‘Free Trade Convention,’ Held at Philadelphia, in September and October, 1831, to Prepare and Present a Memorial to Congress, Remonstrating Against the Existing Tariff of Duties; with an Appendix. New York: W. A. Mercein, Printer 1832.]
* André Michaux, Histoire des arbres forestiers de l’Amérique septentrionale. [Paris: L. Haussmann et d’Hautel, 1810-13. 3 vols.]
Milton, Paradis perdu.
* Minutes of the Proceedings of the United States Temperance Convention.
* L’Utopie de Thomas Morus, chancelier d’Angleterre, . . . traduite en français par Gueudeville, 1717. [Seule l’édition publiée à Leiden: P. Vander AA, 1715, a pu être consultée/I was only able to consult the edition published in Leiden.]
Mississippi Papers.
* Mary Russel Mitford, Stories of American Life. London: Colburn and Bentley, 1831. 3 vols.
Montaigne [Les essais de Michel, seigneur de Montaigne. Paris: A. L’Angelier, 1600. 3 vols.]
* Montesquieu, L’esprit des lois. 1750. 3 vols. [Genève: Barrillot et fils, 1750.]
* Montesquieu, Lettres persannes.
* Morrison Mental Diseases. [Sir Alexander Morison, Outlines of Lectures on Mental Diseases. Edinburgh, 1825.]
Nathaniel Morton, New England’s Memorial. Boston, 1826. [NathanielMorton,New England’s Memorial . . . 5e édition. Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1826. Bruce James Smith, dans Politics and Remembrance (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985, p. 175), note que Morton a recopié dans son livre de longs fragments de l’ouvrage de William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation,sans en faire mention. Le manuscrit de cet ouvrage aété perdu jusqu’à 1858/Bruce James Smith, in Politics and Remembrance, notes that in his book Morton recopied long fragments from the work by William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation, without mentioning it. The manuscript of this work was lost until 1858.]
National Calendar. [Voir/See Force, Peter.]
* National Intelligencer, 19 février 1833, 10 décembre 1833 [Voir/See President], 14 janvier 1834, 6 février 1834, 5 mars 1834.
* Neal, History of New England. [Daniel Neal, History of New England. London: J. Clark, 1720; et London: A. Ward, 1747. 2 vols.]Edition: current; Page: [1390]
New Haven Antiquities. [“New Haven Antiquities or Blue Laws.” Fait partie duCode of 1650, pp. 103-19/Part of the Code of 1650, pp. 103-19.]
New York. Annual Report of the Comptroller with the Accounts of the Corporation of the City of New York for the Year 1830.
New York. Proceedings of the Indian Board in the City of New York. [Peut-être/ Maybe: Proceedings of the Indian Board in the City of New York: with Colonel M’Kenneys Address. New York: Vanderpool and Cole, Printers, 1829.]
New York. The Revised Statutes. [The Revised Statutes of New York . . . Albany (New York): Packard & Van Benthuysen, 1829. 3 vols.]
* New York. Rules and Orders. 1832.
The New York Annual Register [New York: J. Leavitt, 1830-45. Compilé par Edwin Williams/Compiled by Edwin Williams ].
New York Spectator. 23 août 1831.
* Reports of the Temperance Societies of the States of New-York and Pennsylvania, 1831. Cité dans le Système pénitentiaire/Cited in the Penitentiary System.
* Second Annual Report of the New York Temperance Society, 1831.
* Nile’s Weekly Register jusqu’à 1832/until 1832. [Hezekiah Niles, The Weekly Register. Baltimore: H. Niles éditeur/editor.]
Ohio. Acts of a General Nature of the State of Ohio. [Acts of a General Nature ... Columbus, Ohio: P. H. Olmsted, 1820, 1831. Tocqueville a peut-être pris connaissance de cet ouvrage par le compte-rendu de l’American Quarterly Review, XX, 1831, pp. 29-47, le volume est cité dans ses notes/Perhaps Tocqueville learned about this work from the review in the American Quarterly Review,XX, 1831, pp. 29-47; the volume is cited in his notes.]
* Statutes of Ohio. [S. P. Chase. Statutes of Ohio . . . from 1758 to 1833. Cincinnati, 1833-35. 3 vols.]
* Ohio. Journal of the House of Representatif [sic ] for 1830. [Ohio. Journal of the House of Representatives, Chillicothe; et ensuite/and later, Columbus (Ohio), 1800-. “C’est un récit de tous les actes de cette assemblée pendant 1830. Il peutêtre fort utile comme spécimen.”/“This is an account of all the acts of this assembly during 1830. It can be very useful as example.”]
Pascal. [Pensées.]
* William Penn, Œuvres choisies de Penn. London, 1782. [William Penn, The Selected Works of William Penn. 3e édition. London: Phillips, 1782. 5 vols.]
* Pennsylvanie. Rapport du comité des voies et moyens de (mot illisible/illegible word). Législature de Pennsylvanie. Le 19 janvier 1831.Edition: current; Page: [1391]
Pennsylvanie. Digest of the Laws of Pensylvania. [John Pourdon, A Digest of the Laws of Pennsylvania, from 1700 to 1824. Philadelphia, 1824.]
Pitkins. [Timothy Pitkins, A Political and Civil History of the United States of America . . . New Haven, Connecticut: H. Howe and Durrie & Peck, 1828. 2 vols. Tocqueville a pu prendre connaissance de cet ouvrage par le compterendu de la North American Review, 30 (66), 1830, pp. 1-25/Tocqueville was able to learn about this work from the review in the North American Review,30 (66), 1830, pp. 1-25.]
* Timothy Pitkins, Statistical View of the Commerce of the U.S. [deuxième édition, avec ajouts et corrections/ second edition with additions and corrections,Hartford: Hamlen & Newton, 1817.]
Platon, La république.
Plutarque. [Vie de Marcellus. Traduction d’Auguste. La bibliothèque de Tocqueville (OC, XI, p. 61) contient les éditions suivantes/The Tocqueville library (OC, XI, p. 61) contains the following editions: Vie des hommes illustres, Grecs et Romains. Traduction de Mayot/Translation by Mayot, Paris, 1568; Les œuvres meslées de Plutarque, 1574. 7 vols; La vie des hommes illustres, Paris, 1825. 10 vols.]
* The Presidency. [Pamphlet contre Jackson/Pamphlet against Jackson.]
Président. Message du président du 8 décembre 1833. [Tocqueville a pu le lire dans le National Calendar/Tocqueville was able to read it in the National Calendar,1833; et le/and in the National Intelligencer de 10 décembre 1833/of December 10, 1833.]
Report of the Postmaster General. [Publié dans le National Intelligencer du 12 décembre 1833 et dans le National Calendar, 1833.]
*[Project of an Anti-Tariff Convention. “Curieux pour voir comment ces assemblées se forment.”/“Interesting for seeing how these assemblies form.” ]
Robert Proud, The History of Pensylvania, Filadelfia, 1797. 2 vols. [Robert Proud, The History of Pennsylvania . . . Philadelphia: Zacharian Poulson, 1797-98.]
Racine, Britannicus. [La bibliothèque de Tocqueville contenait les Œuvres de Jean Racine, 1755. 3 vols./The Tocqueville library contains the Œuvres of Jean Racine, 1755. 3 vols.]
* Report Made to Congress Relative to the Bank of the United States, 1830.
* Report of the Commissioners of the Canal Fund. New York, 1831.Report of the Secretary of the Treasury. 5 dec 1833. [Peut-être dans le National Intelligencer du/Perhaps in the National Intelligencer of 4décembre 1833.]
* Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury depuis 1823 jusqu’à 1832.Edition: current; Page: [1392]
* Reports of the Secretary of the Treasury Respecting the Commerce of the United States.
* Report of the Secretary of the State sur l’instruction et les pauvres pour 1832.
* Report of the Selected Committee of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts Relating to Legalising the Study of Anatomy, 1831.
[Revue des deux mondes, mai 1837, revue littéraire de l’année/literary review of that year.]
[Revue des deux mondes, loi électorale de 19 avril 1831/electoral law of 19 April 1831.]
[Revue des deux mondes, article sur la nullification/article on nullification.]
[Revue des deux mondes. Voir/See A. C. T.]
*J. B. Say [Cours complet d’économie politique. Paris: Rapill, 1828-29. 7 vols.]
* Walter Scott, The Bride of Lammermoor.
* Arnold Scheffer, Histoire des États-Unis de l’Amérique septentrionale. Paris,1825. Selon George W. Pierson, Tocqueville aurait lu ce texte/According to George W. Pierson, Tocqueville would have read this text.
* Schoolcraft, Travels in the Central Portion of the Mississippi Valley [New York: Collins and Hannay, 1825].
Senate Documents. 18, 19 et 20 Congrès. Voir/See Legislative Documents.
Thomas Sergeant, Constitutional Law. [Thomas Sergeant, Constitutional Law. Philadelphia: P. H. Nicklin and T. Johnson, 1830.]
Mme de Sevigné. [Correspondence.]
William Shakespeare, Henri V.
* Siècle. [Article sur les mines au/article on mines in: Siècle du 27 juin 1837.]
* Siècle. [Sur Thiers au/on Thiers in: Siècle de janvier 1838.]
* Claude Gabriel Simon, Observations recueillies en Angleterre en 1835. Paris: J. Pesrou, 1836.
John Smith, The General History of Virginia . . . London, 1627. [Captain John Smith, The General History . . . London: Michael Sparkes, 1627.]
William Smith, History of New York. London, 1767. [William Smith, The History of the Province of New-York . . . London: T. Wilcox, 1757. Tocqueville cite aussi une édition française, publiée à Londres en 1767./Tocqueville also cites a French edition, published in London in 1767: Histoire de la Nouvelle-York, depuis la découverte de cette province jusqu’à notre siècle. Traduite de l’anglois par M. E***. Londres, 1767.]
Société de colonisation des noirs. 15e rapport annuel.
* Recueil de la sociétéde géographie.Edition: current; Page: [1393]
* Extrait du bulletin de la sociétéde géographie. Tableau de la population des États-Unis, d’après les différents recensements exécutés par ordre du gouvernement.
William Stith, History of Virginia. [William Stith, The History of the First Discovery and Settlement of Virginia . . . Williamsburg, Virginie: W. Parks, 1747.]
Story, Commentaires sur la Constitution des États-Unis. [Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States . . . Abridged by the Author, for the Use of Colleges and High Schools . . . Boston: Hilliard, Gray and Company; Cambridge, Massachusetts: Shattuck and Co., Cambridge, 1833. Identifié par James T. Schleifer/Identified by James T. Schleifer.]
Story, Laws of the United States. [The Public and General Statutes Passed by the Congress of the United States of America. From 1789 to 1827 Inclusive. Published Under the Inspection of Joseph Story. Boston: Wells and Lilly, 1828. 2 vols.]
* William Strachey, The History of Travayle into Virginia Britannica [Boston: Richardson, Lord & Holbrook, 1830.]
* Sullivan Journal. [George W. Pierson suggère William Sullivan, Political Class Book . . . Boston: Lord and Holbrook, 1830, et plusieurs rééditions/George W. Pierson suggests William Sullivan, Political Class Book . . . Boston: Lord and Holbrook, 1830, and several reissues.]
* Tabular Statistic Views of the Population, Revenue . . . 1829. [Probablement/ Probably: George Watterston, Tabular Statistical Views of the Population, Commerce, Navigation, Public Lands, Post Office Establishments, Revenue, Mint, Military & Naval Establishments, Expenditures, and Public Debt of the United States. Washington: J. Elliot, 1828.]
* Tableau général du commerce de la France pendant l’année 1832. [Administration des douanes, Tableau général du commerce de la France avec ses colonies et les puissances étrangères... Paris: Impr. Royale, 1825-58.]
Tanner, Mémoires de Tanner. [Henry S. Tanner, Memoir on the Recent Surveys, Observations, and Internal Improvements . . . Philadelphia, [imprimé par l’auteur], 1829.] Voir/See Blosseville.
* John Tappen, County and Town Officer or a Concise View of the Duties and Offices of County and Town Offices in the State of New York. [John Tappen,The County and Town Officer . . . Kingston, New York: [imprimé par l’auteur], 1816.]
The Statutes of the State of Tennessee. [Voir/See The Statute Law of the State of Tennessee.]
The Statute Law of the State of Tennessee. [The Statute Laws of the State of Tennessee of a Public and General Nature. By John Haywood and Robert L. Edition: current; Page: [1394]Cobbs. Knoxville, Tennessee: F. S. Heiskell, 1831. 2 vols. L’appendice du deuxième volume, qui comprend le texte de plusieurs traités avec les Indiens, semble avoir particulièrement intéressé Tocqueville/The appendix of the second volume, which includes the text of several treaties with the Indians, seems to have particularly interested Tocqueville.]
Traité sur les règles des actions civiles. Nouvelle Orléans: chez Buisson, 1830. [Peutêtre/Maybe Code of Practice in Civil Cases. Nouvelle Orléans, 1830.]
Transactions of the American Philosophical Society. Voir/See Zeisberger, Duponceau, Heckewelder.
* Statistique du Département de l’Aude par le Baron Trouvé [Baron Trouvé, Description générale et statistique du département de l’Aude. Paris: F. Didot, 1818].
Benjamin Trumbull, A Complete History of Connecticut. New Haven, 1818. 2 vols. [Benjamin Trumbull, A Complete History of Connecticut . . . New Haven, Connecticut: Maltby, Goldsmith and Co., and Samuel Wodsworth, 1818.]
Benjamin Trumbull, La Constitution de 1639. [Il s’agit d’un chapitre tiré de A Complete History of Connecticut/It concerns a chapter drawn from A Complete History of Connecticut.]
Benjamin Trumbull, Lois pénales du Connecticut. [Dans son/In his: A Complete History of Connecticut, chapitre VIII.]
U.S. Congress. Legislative Documents.
* Roberts Vaux, Memoirs of the Life of Anthony Benezet [Philadelphia: James P. Parke, 1817].
Volney, Tableau des États-Unis. [Constantin F. Volney, Tableau du climat et du sol des États-Unis d’Amérique . . . Paris: Boussangue Frères, 1822. Tocqueville l’avait acheté avant son voyage, mais il ne l’a probablement pas lu avant son retour en France/Tocqueville had purchased it before his journey, but he probably did not read it before his return to France.]
* Voyage d’un Français, avec une description de la Virginie et du Maryland publiée en 1696 à La Haye. Voir/See Durand.
* Rev. R. Walsh. Voir/See American Quarterly Review.
Warden, Description des États-Unis. [D. B. Warden, Description statistique, historique et politique des États-Unis . . . Paris: Rey et Gravier, 1820. Warden a prêté ce texte à Tocqueville ainsi que d’autres publications/Warden loaned this text to Tocqueville, as well as other publications.]
* Isaac Weld, Voyage dans le Haut Canada. [Travel Through the States of North Edition: current; Page: [1395]America, and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada . . . London: John Stockdale, 1799. 2 vols. Réédité en/reprinted in: 1799, 1800 et 1807.]
Roger Williams, Key into the Language of the Indians of New England, London, 1643. Dans la Collection de la Société Historique du Massachusetts, III, p. 203. [Roger Williams, A Key into the Language of America: or an Help to the Language of the Natives in that Part of America, Called New-England . . . London: Gregory Dexter, 1643. Dans Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society,III, pp. 203-38.]
Williams Annual Register. Voir/See New York Annual Register.
* Samuel Williams, Histoire de Vermont. [The Natural and Civil History of Vermont. New Hampshire: Isaiah Thomas and David Carlisle, Walpole, 1794.]
David Zeisberger, “A Grammar of the Language of the Lenni Lenâpé,” traduite par P. S. Duponceau dans/translated by P. S. Duponceau in Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, III, 1827, pp. 65-250.
Edition: current; Page: [1396]

Bibliographie [Bibliography]

Nous citons ici divers ouvrages qui contiennent des documents intéressants pour la compréhension de la Démocratie en Amérique et qui reproduisent des textes de Tocqueville qui parfois n’ont pasété publiés dans les Œuvres complètes.

I list here some works that reproduce Tocqueville documents that are interesting for the understanding of Democracy in America and that sometimes reproduce texts of Tocqueville not available in the Œuvres complètes.

Adams, Herbert Baxter, ed. Jared Sparks and Alexis de Tocqueville. Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, 16th ser. (112). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1898.
Craiutu, Aurelian, and Jeremy Jennings, eds. Tocqueville on America after 1840. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Drescher, Seymour. Tocqueville and England. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964.
———, ed. Tocqueville and Beaumont on Social Reform. New York: Harper & Row, 1968.
Engel-Janosi, Friedrich, ed. “New Tocqueville Materials from the Johns Hopkins University Collections. In Four Studies in French Romantic Historical Writing, 121-42. Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science 71, no. 2 (1955).
Grandmaison, Charles A. G. de. “Séjour d’Alexis de Tocqueville en Touraine, préparation du livre sur l’Ancien Régime, juin 1853-avril 1854.”Correspondant114 (1879): 926-49.
Hawkins, Richmond L., ed. “Unpublished Letters of Alexis de Tocqueville.” Romanic Review 19 (1928): 195-217; 20 (1929): 351-56.
L’Hommedé, Edmond. Un département français sous la Monarchie de Juillet: le conseil général de la Manche et Alexis de Tocqueville. Preface by A. Coville. Paris: Bovin, 1933.
Jardin, André. Alexis de Tocqueville. Paris: Hachette, 1984.
Alexis de Tocqueville als Abgeordneter. Briefe an seinem Wahlagenten Paul Clamorgan 1837-1851 aus dem Besitz der Staats und Universitaätsbibliothek Hamburg. Herausgegeben von Joachim Kühn. Hamburg: Ernest Hauswedell & Co., 1972.Edition: current; Page: [1397]
Lamberti, Jean-Claude. Tocqueville et les deux Démocraties. Paris: PUF, 1983.
Letessier, Fernand, ed. “Cinq lettres inédites de Tocqueville à Lamartine.” Revue d’histoire littéraire 83 (1983): 451-58.
Lingelbach, William E. “American Democracy and European Interpreters.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 61, no. 1 (1937): 1-25.
MacInnis, Edgar, ed. “A Letter from Alexis de Tocqueville on the Canadian Rebellion of 1837.” Canadian Historical Review 19, no. 4 (1938): 394-97.
Marcel, Roland-Pierre. Essai politique sur Alexis de Tocqueville. Paris: Félix Alcan, 1910.
Mayer, J. P., ed. “Sur la Démocratie en Amérique. Fragments inédits.” Nouvelle revue française 76 (1959): 761-68.
Nolla, Eduardo. Autour de l’autre Démocratie. Napoli: Instituto Suor Orsola Benincasa, 1994.
———. “La ‘Démocratie’ ovvero il libro chiuso.” Filosofia Politica 6, no. 1 (1992): 132-41.
Passy, Louis. Le marquis de Blosseville, souvenirs.Évreux: Charles Hérissey, 1898.
Perry, Thomas Sergeant, ed. The Life and Letters of Francis Lieber. Boston: James R. Osgoood and Co., 1882.
Pierce, Edward L., ed. Memoir and Letters of Charles Sumner. 4 vols. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1893.
Pierson, George Wilson. “Le ‘seconde voyage’ de Tocqueville en Amérique.” In Alexis de Tocqueville. Livre du centenaire. Paris:Éditions du C.N.R.S., 1960.
———. Tocqueville and Beaumont in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1938.Edition: current; Page: [1398]
Pitman, C. B., ed. Memoirs of the Count de Falloux. London: Chapman and Hall Limited, 1888. 2 vols.
Pope-Hennessy, James. Monckton Milnes, the Flight of Youth. 1851-1885. London: Constable, 1951.
Quinet, Mme Edgar. Edgar Quinet avant l’exil. 2nd ed. Paris: Calman Lévy, 1888.
Rédier, Antoine. Comme disait M. de Tocqueville. Paris: Perrin, 1925.
Schleifer, James T. The Making of Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America.” Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1980. Second edition. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000.
———. “Tocqueville and Religion: Some New Perspectives.” Tocqueville Review 4, no. 2 (1982): 303-21.
———. “How Democracy Influences Preaching: A Previously Unpublished Fragment from Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.” Yale University Library Gazette 52, no. 2 (1977): 75-79.
———. “Tocqueville and American Literature: A Newly Acquired Letter.” Yale University Library Gazette 54, no. 3 (1980): 129-34.
———. “Tocqueville and Centralization: Four Previously Unpublished Manuscripts.” Yale University Library Gazette 58, nos. 1-2 (1983): 29-39.
———, ed. “Alexis de Tocqueville Describes the American Character; Two Previously Unpublished Portraits.” South Atlantic Quarterly 74, no. 2 (1975): 244-58.
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———. Dilemmas of Democracy: Tocqueville and Modernization. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968.
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Action of equality on mores and reaction of mores on equality./

After doing a book that pointed out the influence exercised by equality of conditions on ideas, customs and mores, another one would have to be done that showed the influence exercised by ideas, customs and mores on equality of conditions. For these two things have a reciprocal action on each other. And to take just one example, the comparatively democratic social state of European peoples in the XVIth century allowed the doctrines of Protestantism, based in part on the theory of intellectual equality, to arise and spread; and on the other hand, you cannot deny that these doctrines, once accepted, singularly hastened the leveling of conditions. If Iexamined separately the first of these influences, without concerning myself with the second, it is not that I did not know and appreciate the extent and the power of the latter. But I believed that in a subject so difficult and so complicated, it was already a lot to study separately one of the parts, to put the parts separately in relief, leaving to more skillful hands the task of exposing the entire tableau to view all at once (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 48-49). Tocqueville finishes the third part of this volume at Baugy in April 1838.

See Jean-Louis Benoît, Tocqueville moraliste (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2004), pp. 309-442.


1. Equality makes mores milder in an indirect manner, by giving the taste for well-being, love for peace and for all the professions that need peace.

2. It makes them milder directly.

When men are divided into castes, they have a fraternal sentiment for the members of their caste, but they scarcely regard all the others as men. Great (illegible word) and great categories.

When all men are similar, what happens within them alerts them to what must happen in all the others, and they cannot be insensitive to any misery. They are not devoted, but they are mild.

Example of the Americans (YTC, CVf, pp. 36-37).


Two peoples have the same origin, they have lived for a long time under the same laws; they have kept the same language and the same habits of life, but they are not similar; what causes that?

[In the margin: At the head of civil society. Transition from political society to civil society. Influence of laws on character.

Influence of democracy in America on mores. Everything is modeled on the people. The rich man must grow up with the people, must travel with them, must take his enjoyments with them. He can scarcely protect himself from them in the refuge of the domestic hearth.

At home the rich man is under permanent suspicion. And he must in a way be poor or once have been poor to aspire to honors.]

The one is eager to change, the past displeases him, the present tires him, only the future seems to him to merit his thought. He scorns age and scoffs at experience. He makes, undoes, remakes his laws without ceasing. Everything changes and is modified by his indefatigable activity, even the earth that supports him. Superiorities of all kinds offend and wound him. He even sees the plebeian privileges of wealth only with disfavor.

His vanity is constantly uneasy. He seeks praise. There is no flattery so small that he does not receive it with joy. If he fails in his efforts to obtain it, he praises himself and becomes intoxicated with the incense that his hands have prepared. The laws are democratic.

The other is prostrated before the past, he mixes everything that comes from antiquity in his idolatry and esteems things not so much because they are good, but because they are old. So he takes care to change nothing in his laws or, if the irresistible march of time forces him to deviate on certain points, there are no ingenious subtleties to which he will not resort in order to persuade himself that he has only found in the work of his fathers what was already there and only developed a thought that had formerly occurred to their minds. Do not hope to get him to acknowledge that he is an innovator; although a very strong logician otherwise, he will agree to go to the absurd rather than admit himself guilty of such a great crime. Full of veneration for superiorities of all kinds, he seems to consider birth and wealth as so many natural and imprescriptible rights [v: privileges] that call certain men to govern society [v. in the margin: wealth as a virtue and birth as an imprescriptible right]. With him, the poor man is scarcely considered as a man. Full, moreover, of an immense pride, he thinks he is sufficiently sure of his grandeur not to ask the common people to acknowledge it, and he judges himself so above praise that he does not need to give it. The laws are aristocratic.

There are men who say that this is the American spirit and I say that it is the democratic spirit. What is taken for the English spirit is the aristocratic spirit (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 14-16). The copyist, Bonnel, indicates that one part of this piece is not in Tocqueville’s hand. See p. 437 of the second volume.


In the margin: “≠You cannot hide from the fact that the natural place of war would be there, for it is only in the absence of wars or in the manner in which it is conducted that the subject of this chapter is proved.≠”


Equality of conditions leads citizens toward industrial and commercial professions and makes them love peace, which they need in order to devote themselves to those professions. Equality of conditions thus imperceptibly little by little takes away from the citizens the love of violent emotions and suggests to them the taste for tranquil enjoyments. As conditions become equal, the imagination of men therefore turns imperceptibly away from the cruel pictures offered by war and feeds more readily on the mild images presented by well-being. Human passions are not extinguished, they change objects and become less fierce. Accustomed to the charms of a well-ordered and prosperous life, you are afraid of being saddened by making your fellows suffer and you fear the sight of the pain almost as much as the pain itself.

[In the margin: I do not believe that this piece should be introduced, however to consult./

The things it contains are true and important, but they prevent the unity of the chapter.]

This is how equality of conditions leads indirectly to the mildness of mores. The direct effects are not less.

When writers of fables . . . (YTC, CVk, 1, pp. 5-6).


In the margin: “and Milton would never have succeeded in interesting us in the fate of [a blank (ed.)] if he had not given human feelings to the devils and to the angels.”



It is a democratic word. You have real sympathy only for those similar to you and your equals. The humanity that we notice today is due in part to men being closer to each other. When there were only great lords and men of the people, men were strangers to each other and above all different; no one could judge by himself what others felt. So there could not be true sympathy, and mores were hard.

[In the margin: Aristocracy gives birth to great devotions and great hatreds. Democracy leads all men to a sort of tranquil benevolence./

Sympathy less but general.]

17 October 1836.

These classes were indifferent to each other’s fate not because they were enemies,but simply because they were different. Sympathy from two Greek words, I believe, meaning to feel with (Rubish, 2).


In the margin, in pencil: “≠Example, Jacquerie.≠”


To sense the pertinence of this final joke, you must recall that Madame de Grignan was the wife of the Governor of Provence.


Something analogous is seen from one people to another. When peoples are very different from each other, separated by opinions, beliefs, opposite customs, they seem as well to be outside of the same humanity. Moreover, aristocratic sentiments also become established between them. They believe themselves not only different but also superior to each other. That would lead naturally to a law of nations horrible in times of war.

Romans. Jugurtha.

Now wars between peoples are like civil wars in antiquity (Rubish, 2).


In aristocracies based solely on birth, since no one is able to climb or descend, the relationships between men are infrequent, but not constrained.

In aristocracies based principally on money such as the English, aristocratic pride remains, but since the limits of the aristocracy have become doubtful, each man fears that his familiarity will be abused. You avoid contact with someone unknown or you remain icy before him.

When there are no more privileges of birth or privileges of money as in America, men readily mingle and greet each other familiarly (YTC, CVf, p. 37).


influence of democracy on american sociability./

Chapter following those on egoism. Sociability, which is sacrifice in small things, with hope to find it in turn, is very easily understood on the part of beings independent of each other, but equally weak individually, and is not at all contrary to the egoism that I portrayed above./

Good qualities of the Americans. Sociability, lack of susceptibility. See Beaumont, C.N.6 (rubish of the chapters on sociability, Rubish, 2). The reference to Beaumont also appears in YTC, CVa, p. 30.


In the margin: “<All of this a bit affected, I think, in imitation of La Bruyère. Read it without warning in order to see the effect.>”


Today the influence exercised by race on the conduct of men is spoken about constantly. The philosophers and men of politics of ancient times have .-.-.-.- raceexplains everything in a word. It seems to me that I easily find why we resort so to this argument that our predecessors did not use.

It is incontestable that the race that men belong to exercises some power over their actions, and on the other hand, it is absolutely impossible to specify what the strength and the duration of this power is; so that you can at will infinitely constrict its action or expand it to everything depending on the needs of the discourse; precious advantages in a time when you expect to reason at little cost, just as you want to grow rich without difficulty.

[In the margin: Some men believe that this reserve of the English comes from the blood. The example of the Americans proves the opposite.]

After a digression for which the reader will, I hope, pardon an author who rarely makes them, I return to my subject (rubish of the chapters on sociability,Rubish, 2). The manuscript says: “Race in fact has some role, but I believe . . .”


Form that I believe I have already used; be careful.


Relationships of men with each other. Lofty and reserved manners./

Baden, this 14 August 1836./

To put with the good effects of a democratic social state./ One of the characteristic and most known traits of the English is the care with which they try to isolate themselves from each other and the perpetual fear that clearly preoccupies them of protecting themselves from contact with men who may occupy a position inferior to the one that they occupy themselves. In a foreign country above all this is carried to an extreme of which we have no idea.

This fault is infinitely less noticeable in countries in which an aristocracy of birth dominates and in those in which there is no aristocracy at all.

In the first, since ranks are never doubtful and since privileges are linked to an inalienable and uncontestable advantage, that of blood, each man remains in his place and no one fears meeting an intruder who wants to put himself in your place, or descending without noticing to the lower rank of someone unknown by keeping company with him.

In the second, since birth or wealth give only slight advantages and do not put the one who possesses them at a very separate or very desirable rank, connection with an inferior is not feared.

While in an aristocracy constituted on money, like that of England, privileges are very great and the conditions for enjoying them are always doubtful; from that comes this continual terror of doing something that may make you fall in rank.

This fault of the English is due so clearly to institutions and not to blood that it shocks the Americans even more than us. Cooper in his journey to Switzerlandreturns constantly to this unsociability of the English, and although he pretends to scorn it, he speaks about it too often not to show how much it offends him.

Nothing is more opposed to continual, free, kindly relationships among men than the frame of mind that I have just talked about (rubish of the chapters on sociability, Rubish, 2). Tocqueville is referring to Excursions in Switzerland by James Fenimore Cooper, published in 1836 in Paris by A.W. Calignani and Co., and by Baudry (see, for example, p. 71 and p. 143 of these editions).


When men of diverse education and fortune meet in the same places, the laws of good manners are no longer fixed; you observe those laws badly vis-à-vis other men and you are not hurt when they are not observed in your regard. That is above all true of free democratic societies in which men, busy together with great affairs, easily forget the outward aspect of actions in order to consider only the actions themselves.

That explains the tolerance and simplicity of the Americans toward each other.

But why are these same Americans intolerant and self-conscious in Europe? Because the remnants of rules and fragments of etiquette remain among us. The Americans, not knowing how to find their bearings in a society so different from theirs, are constantly at a loss, touchy, proud (YTC, CVf, p. 38).


On the jacket of the manuscript: “Read this chapter to several people and study whether it has the effect of being mannered and affected.”


“Because with a great deal of national pride, they are still not sure about the rank that they hold among nations, and because claiming the first rank, they are not sure that it is granted to them” (Rubish, 2).


You find, with the manuscript of the chapter, a jacket on which you read: “rubish that i leave with the chapter in order to examine it one last time.” Inside Tocqueville specifies: “. . . an American {of New England} who . . .”


Men of democracies naturally show pity for each other; having frequent and easy relationships together, not easily becoming irritated with each other, it is natural that they like to help each other in their needs. This is what happens in the United States. In democracies great services are rarely accorded, but good offices are rendered constantly. It is rare that a man appears devoted to service, but all are willing to help (YTC, CVf, pp. 38-39). There is no rubish for this chapter.


1. Character of domestic service in aristocratic centuries.

  • 1. Servants form a separate class that has its gradations, its prejudices, its public opinion.
  • 2. The perpetuity and immobility of classes make it that there are families of servants who remain for centuries next to families of masters. From that arises a confusion of sentiments, opinions, and interests between them.
  • 3. In that time it is easy to obtain a respectful, prompt and easy obedience, because each master presses on the will of his servants with all the weight of the aristocracy.

2. Character of democratic domestic service. No devoted loyalty, but an exact obedience arising not from a general superiority of the master over the servant, but from a contract freely accepted.

3. Transitional domestic service, where everything is confused. The master wants to find in his servants the devoted loyalty that arose from the aristocratic social state, and the servants do not even want to grant the obedience that they promised (YTC, CVf, pp. 39-40). In the rubish you find traces of a first chapter bearing the title: the master and the tenant farmer in democracies.


Conversation with Mr. Robinson, an American engineer of great talents. 22 March 1837./

[In the margin: Perhaps introduce this conversation in the text.]

Mr. Robinson told me that the English treated their servants with a contempt, a haughtiness and with absolute manners that singularly surprised an American.

On the other hand, he remarked that the French often used with their domestics a familiarity and a courtesy that did not seem less extraordinary to him. He had heard a lady say to a domestic who informed her about the execution of an order: I am very much obliged, so and so. This form seems strange to him. I see some French, he added, call a porter, Monsieur. It is something I could never do.

This same Mr. Robinson, said finally: in the United States domestic servants believe themselves obliged to do only what is in the contract. They are very independent and little .-.-.-.-.- relationships with the master, the position of superior and inferior is always kept.

This conversation gets very much, it seems to me, into the meaning of my chapter (Rubish, 2). The person speaking to Tocqueville is unidentified.


In the margin: “<If this remark is correct, the American of the preceding chapter was therefore not wrong. Clearly to delete either this or the sentence from the other chapter. That jumps out.>”


In the margin: “<Good sentence, but to delete. This piece must be pruned rather than added to.>”


“In a society all classes go together. They all move at the same time or all remain immobile. When a single class becomes immobile all the others stop by themselves.

I stop the wheel of a clock and everything stops” (Rubish, 2).


If you come to examine closely and in detail the principal opinions that direct these men, the analogy appears still more striking, and you are astonished to find among them, as well as among the most haughty members of a feudal hierarchy, pride of birth, respect for one’s ancestors and descendents, scorn for the inferior, fear of contact, taste for etiquette, for the traditions of antiquity.


In the margin: “≠When Mirabeau, this democrat still so full of the striking vices and virtues of the aristocracy, wanted to portray in his energetic style a cowardly and nasty being [interrupted text (ed.)].≠”


In the margin: “<Perhaps delete this.>”


Variant: “<Not only does he direct them without difficulty in everything that relates to him, but his influence extends to the entire ensemble of their actions. Hisexample or his lessons naturally lead their minds toward certain beliefs and open their hearts, as he pleases, to certain tastes. He modifies in a thousand ways their ideas and their mores, and even when he ceases to be their master, he remains in a way their tutor.>”


The manuscript says: “In aristocratic centuries . . .”


In the margin: “≠Caleb.≠”

In the rubish: “Caleb. The portrait of this man could only be drawn in an aristocratic country and can only be understood in a country that was so. The Americans will never know what Caleb means” (Rubish, 2).

In another place: “I have sometimes met Caleb amid the ruins of our aristocratic society” (Rubish, 2). This concerns Balderstone Caleb, the faithful and devoted servant of the landowner of Ravenswood in The Bride of Lammermoor of Walter Scott.

When he reread this chapter in September 1839, Tocqueville found it too theoretical. He asked Ampère to provide him with some examples, something the latter seems not to have done (Correspondance avec Ampère, OC, XI, pp. 129-31).


In the drafts you find several pages on the relations of master and servant. They are contained in a jacket with the title: chapter 4, some ideas relative to the influence exercised on the mores of the americans by their philosophical method (YTC, CVk, 2, p. 29).

On one of these pages in this jacket you can read:

[In the margin: It is clear that this entire piece beginning here and ending at the bottom of sheet 5 can only with difficulty be included in the consequences of just the philosophical method of the Americans. To reexamine./

This fits into another order of ideas. To equality of conditions itself which makes the servant higher and the master lower than in Europe, and not to the philosophical consequences that result from this equality. To put in the place where I will see general causes.

To keep but to transfer I think to another place this entire piece up to in aristocratic countries ...]

If, after examining the relationships of the son with the father, I consider those of the servant with the master, I no longer discover any analogy between the Americans and the English.

England is assuredly the country in the world where the two men are placed the farthest from each other, and America the place on earth where they are the closest and yet the most independent of each other.

That is due to several causes that I want to seek although interest in my subject does not absolutely oblige me to do so.

When among a people you find a very small number of great fortunes, a small number of destitute situations, and a multitude of comfortable fortunes, the result would seem to have to be that the rich feel stronger there and the poor weaker than anywhere else, but it is not so. When most citizens have attained . . . (YTC, CVk, 2, pp. 30-31). See note a of p. 696.


In the margin, with a bracket that includes this paragraph and one part of the preceding one: “<This is, I believe, the return of an idea already expressed in the chapter. See.>”


At the end of the manuscript:

Opinion of Louis on the chapter./


The chapter contains a very large number of new ideas. The style is good.


The first pages do not grab the mind of the reader. In general all of the aristocratic domestic service is of less intense interest than the rest. That is due not to the fact that the ideas are known, but to the theoretical way of presenting them.

According to Louis, I have made the moral condition of the servant in aristocracy worse than it was. But is he right?

The same reproach applies, although to a lesser degree, to the whole piece.

It is done to please philosophical minds. It does not get down enough to the level of ordinary minds. The subject is such however to interest all minds. It is a chapter that all readers will like to read and will believe themselves able to understand. So it must be put within their reach or in relief, and it can be done so only by getting a bit into facts, examples, details and by keeping myself less in abstractions than I do.

In summary this chapter is a very good piece that must be kept with the idea that it needs to be revised./

The general order of the piece must be kept./

Observation ofÉdouard.

He finds the piece good, but he thinks that new efforts must be made to put in relief my ideas relative to democratic domestic service, to fix more firmly by stylistic artifices the mind of the reader on this point, to bring out better than I do what is gained and what is lost in this new state.

Édouard would like me to use more the example of the Americans to demonstrate, by example, what should happen in a society where the master and the domestic servant find themselves together in the same electoral college.

The difficulty is that I know only very imperfectly what they want me to say.


In aristocracies farm rents are paid not only in money, but in respect, in affection, in services. Under democracy they are paid only in money.

Since a permanent bond no longer exists between families and the land, the landowner and the tenant farmer are strangers who meet by chance to discuss a matter.

Since fortunes are becoming divided, the landowner always has a desire to acquire and fears losing. He rigorously stipulates everything to which he has a right.

The landowner and the tenant farmer have analogous habits of mind and an analogous social situation. Between two equal citizens in straitened circumstances, the object of a rental contract cannot be anything other than money.

When you have one hundred tenant farmers, you readily make pecuniary sacrifices to gain their goodwill. You do not care about the goodwill of a single tenant farmer.

When democracy has made the idea of instability penetrate all minds, you have an instinctive horror for a contract, even an advantageous one, that has to last a long time (YTC, CVf, pp. 40-41).


There are no drafts of this chapter in the Rubish. In the manuscript, on the other hand, you find a jacket with various notes and fragments. The first page specifies:

“Pieces that began the chapter and that I believe must be deleted; they had the purpose of explaining what happened under aristocracy. I was afraid that this perpetual return to two social states was monotonous.

“To review one last time.” This jacket contains another version of the chapter, identical enough, except for the beginning:

In aristocracies in which great estates exist and in which custom and law fix the ownership of these estates in the same families, the landowner, by renting his fields, does not have as his only goal, or even sometimes as his principal goal, to enrich himself. Several other concerns share his soul. The tenant farmers with whom he deals are not strangers in his eyes. Their ancestors lived with his; his children will grow up amid theirs. They are tied to him and he to them by a long chain of memories and hopes. So the landowner wants to have his rights not only to the rent that they promised him, but also to their respect and their love; and he thinks that he owes it to himself not to impose obligations which are too hard on these men among whom he lives every day and whose well-being or miseries are necessarily before his eyes; and he is able to do so, for he enjoys an immense superfluity.

The richest and most powerful landowner of an aristocratic country cannot do without zealous friends and faithful servants, tenants ready to serve him. All those men are like instruments by the aid of which he seizes the surrounding population and handles it as he wills. It is through them that he succeeds in enjoying the greatest non-material advantages that wealth assures. Thus their support must be bought.

So in an aristocratic country the price of lands [v: tenant farms] is not paid only in money, but in respect, in affection, in services.

It ceases to be so as patrimonies are divided, as fortunes become equal, as the bond that united the upper and the lower classes comes to loosen <and as the relationship that existed between political power and possession of the land comes to disappear.>

When patrimonies . . .


“In the work of Candolle on the subjects of gold and silver, there are on the long leases of feudal times curious remarks that prove that leases rise and become shorter as equality increases. As conditions become equal, the costs of leases rise” (YTC, CVa, p. 31).


Inside the jacket of the manuscript that contains the drafts:

In aristocracies, the clauses of the lease are generally debated between a poor man to whom necessity has taught the importance of the smallest details, and a rich man who is accustomed to seeing everything broadly and to scorning small gains. The one treats the affair with all the fierceness given by need, and the other with the nonchalance suggested in such matters by a great superfluity. It is easy to foresee that the interest of the rich man must succumb in this unequal struggle.

In democracy, on the contrary, the landowner and the tenant bring the same needs and same desires.


Democracy has a general and permanent tendency to bring the worker and master closer and to equalize their profits more and more.

[In the margin: Chapter that it is not certain that I will include.]

This is the general rule, but in industry, such as it is constituted today in some of its parts, the opposite is seen.

That is an exceptional fact, but very formidable and that much more formidable as it is exceptional (YTC, CVf, p. 41).

On the jacket of the manuscript:

The question of knowing whether I should let this chapter remain is still doubtful and needs to be asked of B[eaumont (ed.)]. and L[ouis (ed.)]./

The subject can seem known and yet redundant because of chapter 34 quarto where the matter is already treated./

This chapter has the disadvantage of posing the greatest question of our time without even trying to resolve it. You are disappointed after reading it.

Chapter 34 quarto corresponds to chapter 20 of the second part of volume III, on the industrial aristocracy.


What I say about the servant always more or less applies to the worker. But democracy tends, more and more, to isolate the latter from the master, and while separating him from the master, to raise him to the same level.

Tendency of democracy to raise salaries, to make the worker share in the profits.

How in the current state of commercial science and habits there is an opposite tendency that accumulates capital in the hands of a few great manufacturers and reduces the workers to the greatest dependency and to the most extreme poverty.

That this tendency is already noticeable in the United States, although in a much less pronounced way than in France, and above all in England. To find out why? That it is there .-.-.-.-.-.-.- democracy that fills the world. It is the only door open in the future to the re-formation of an aristocratic society.

Democracy pushes toward commerce and commerce remakes an aristocracy.

This danger cannot be averted except by the discovery of means (associations or others) by the aid of which you could do commerce without accumulating as much capital in the same hands.

Immense question.

I believe that I would do well to touch upon these questions, to cast the most penetrating glance that I could at them, but without stopping there. They demand a book themselves (Rubish, 2).


In the margin: “<Perhaps instead of putting the general ideas separately in the first volume, they should energetically and in a few words be explained here. The more I think about it, the more I am of this opinion. I am leaving the notes for this part nearby.>”


The four paragraphs that follow are missing in the manuscript. In their place you find the following paragraph:

But there are in our times certain very important industries that must from the start be undertaken as large, with great capital, numerous relationships and a great credit, in order to pursue them profitably. In these industries, the master provides at greatexpense the raw material and the tools; the workers give only their labor. You understand from the first that the industrial entrepreneurs should necessarily expect great profits, for without that, they would remain idle and would not risk their acquired wealth for a small gain.

As it is necessary to be already . . .


In a first version, in the rubish, you find here this note: “This chapter is the [blank (ed.)] of the first volume. It was not found in the edition of 1834 [sic ] and was only inserted since” (Rubish, 2).


“All societies that are born begin by organizing themselves aristocratically. Industry is subject to this law at this moment.

“Industry today shows all the advantages and all the disadvantages inherent in aristocracy.”

“June 1838” (YTC, CVk, 1, p. 12). See note b of p. 980.


1. Why can I call the constitution of a certain industry aristocratic?

2. Why does this constitution tend to drive down salaries? What it has of aristocratic.

It can only be exercised by a small number of men, because in order to profit from this industry, you must have great capital, a great credit, very extensive relationships.

It places a few owners called manufacturers opposite a multitude of proletarians called workers who work in the factory as the agricultural population cultivated the land three centuries ago, without spirit of ownership and without gradual participation in the profits./

No permanent bond between poor and rich./

The poor become rich with difficulty, but the rich become poor easily, and if they remained rich, they would not always be in contact with the same poor./

.-.-.-.- Since the manufacturers are very few, they can easily come to an agreement and pay only a certain price for work and, if anyone refuses the conditions they propose, they can wait without ruining themselves. While the workers can reach such an agreement only with difficulty; and they die of hunger if they do not succeed in their project at the first blow./

Moreover, these are labors of a particular type that give to the body special habits that make it unsuitable to something else./

What it has of democratic.

Wealth accumulated in this way does not establish family. It forms an exception in the general system and does not take long to submit to the common law. There are great manufacturing fortunes, but there are no manufacturing families, nor even a manufacturing class that has its separate spirit, traditions, tastes.

If the children of the rich manufacturer constantly fall back into the crowd, every day out of the crowd arise men who take their place; thus there is never any classification or immobility in the social body, which forms nonetheless the characteristics (Rubish, 2).


“In a textile mill, on the contrary, the worker is a poor devil who owns only his hands and who needs them every day” (Rubish, 2).


In the margin: “<I am afraid that I said almost the same things in the same words in another place. To verify.>”


After showing how equality modified the relationships of citizens, I want to penetrate further and show how it acts on the relationships of family members.

The father in the aristocratic family is not only the author of the family, he is its political head, the pontiff....

Democracy destroys everything political and conventional that there was in his authority, but it does not destroy this authority; it only gives it another character.

The magistrate has disappeared, the father remains.

The same thing with brothers, the artificial bond that united brothers in the aristocratic family is destroyed. The natural bond becomes stronger.

This is applicable to all associations based on natural sentiments. Democracy relaxes social bonds, it tightens natural bonds (YTC, CVf, pp. 41-42).


On a jacket containing the manuscript of this chapter:

This chapter seems to me to contain some good things, but it was done by fits and starts, languidly and slowly. It demands to be reviewed all at once in order for the thought to circulate more easily. Review the rubish carefully./

Development a bit didactic and a bit heavy. If I could delete the aristocratic as much as possible and allow the mind of the reader to re-do what I remove. That would be much better.”

Note in the rubish: “The difficulty is that I do not know well what the intimate relationships of father and sons and of brothers among themselves are in America and that I can hardly speak except about France. I believe these relationships not hostile, but very cold in America” (Rubish, 2). On the family as antidote to the “democratic disease” see F. L. Morton, “Sexual Equality and the Family in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America,” Canadian Journal of Political Science XVII, no. 2 (1984): 309-24; and Laura Janara, Democracy Growing Up. Authority, Autonomy and Passion in Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America” (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002).


Former beginning of the chapter in the rubish:

There is a perpetual reaction of mores on the mind and of the mind on mores.

If you carefully studied the private [v: interior and exterior] life of the Americans, you would not fail to discover in a multitude of details the more or less distant effects of the philosophical method that they have adopted.

But such a study would take me too far away. I want to limit myself to providing a small number [of (ed.)] examples. I will show a few links, the detached mind of the reader will grasp the chain.

When men have accepted as general principle that it is good to judge everything by yourself, taking the opinion of others as information and not as rule, the relationship of the father with his children, of the master with his servants, and generally of the superior with the inferior finds itself changed.

[In the margin: Religion is a refuge where the human mind rests.

Politics forms an arena in which in the United States the majority, despite its desires, binds it and tires it out by its very inaction.]

Nothing is more visible than this in America.

In the United States, the family . . .

This fragment belongs to the single sheet found in a jacket on which you can read on the cover: “<S>

“It would be good to leave this small chapter after philosophical method in order to show its consequences. I would say at the end that what I had said about the relationship of the father and the sons extends to that of servants and masters and in general to all superiors and inferiors, as we will see elsewhere. This chapter is good” (Rubish, 2).


The manuscript says “legitimates.”


The Americans, however, have not yet imagined, as we have in France, removing from fathers one of the principal elements of power, by taking away from them their liberty to dispose of their property after death. In the United States, the right to make out your will is unlimited.

In that as in all the rest, it is easy to notice that, if the political legislation of the Americans is much more democratic than ours, our civil legislation is infinitely more democratic than theirs. That is easily understood.

The author of our civil legislation was a man who saw his interest in satisfying the democratic passions of his contemporaries in everything that was not directly and immediately hostile to his power. He willingly allowed a few popular principles to rule property and govern families, provided that you did not want to introduce them into the conduct of the State. While the democratic torrent filled the civil laws, he hoped to keep himself easily sheltered behind the political laws. This view is at the same time full of cleverness and egoism; but such a compromise could not last. For, in the long run, political society cannot fail to become the expression and the image of civil society; and it is in this sense that you can say that there is nothing more political among a people than the civil legislation.e


In the manuscript this note appears above, at the word “path.” At this place you find, instead, this other note:

Pieces that probably must be put in notes at the bottom of the pages of this chapter./

Note (B)./

I know that something analogous to what I have just said shows itself in England, one of the countries in the world where until today aristocracy has preserved the most dominion, and paternal authority the least power. From this juxtaposition you could conclude that the sentiment of independence in children is more English than democratic, and that it is due less to the habits of equality that have been contracted in the United States than to the political liberty that reigns there.

I do not think that it is so.

The bonds that hold together the various elements of the family seem to me still much less tight among the Americans than among the English, and they loosen visibly among the latter as their laws and their mores become more democratic. The result, it seems to me, is that if it is true that a certain sentiment of independence can exist within a family without equality reigning in the State, at least it must be recognized that democracy favors and develops it.

You must not forget, moreover, that England is a very aristocratic country in the middle of which a great number of democratic ideas have circulated from time immemorial and whose laws have always been intermingled with some institutions appropriate only to democracy.

What is the sovereign rule of public [v: national] opinion to which all the English of the last [century (ed.)] constantly declared that you must submit, if not a still obscure notion of the democratic dogma of the sovereignty of the people?

What does this general principle mean that the money of those paying taxes, whoever they are, can only be taxed when the latter have themselves or by their representatives voted the tax, if not the explicit recognition of the democratic right of all to participate in the government?

If I glance generally at English society, I see clearly that the aristocracy leads the State and directs the provinces, but if I look within the administration of the parishes, I discover that there at least the entire society governs itself; I see that everythingcomes from it [v: the people] and returns to it.1 I notice officers who, freely elected by the universality of citizens, are occupied with the poor, inspect the roads, direct the affairs of the church, administer in an almost sovereign way common property. The authority created in this way is very limited, I admit, but it is essentially democratic. Expand the circle of attributions and you will believe yourself suddenly transported to one of the towns of Massachusetts {New England}.

These reflections, which came in relation to a detail, could serve to explain many important things that are happening at this moment before our eyes.

So nothing that is taking place today among the English is an entirely new development. The English are not creating democracy, they are expanding in England the democratic spirit and democratic customs.


<Here a note. Ask Reeve.>

See the letter of Henry Reeve to Tocqueville (London, 29 March 1836, YTC, CVa, pp. 41-44); published by James T. Schleifer in “Tocqueville and Centralization: Four Previously Unpublished Manuscripts,” Yale University Library Gazette 58, nos. 1-2(1983): 33-36; and Tocqueville’s response (Correspondance anglaise, OC, VI, 1, pp. 29-30).


The following paragraph replaces this passage of the manuscript: “Thus at the same time that great changes are taking place today in society, changes no less great are taking place in the family.

“It is perhaps useful to demonstrate how these two things are connected and to show what the causes and the limits are of the democratic revolution that is finally being accomplished before our eyes.”


In the margin: “<Should this sentence be included?/