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Democracy in America - Wikipedia
This book uses Tocqueville's idea of the virus to explore the fatal relationship between the concepts of utopia and dystopia in western social and political thought. It traces this relationship from Ancient Greece to post-modern America and attempts to untangle their apparently fatal connection through a new virology that might promote a less paranoid future for our global society. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x Other books in this series.
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It expresses well the general thought of the book and presents it in relief. What does my judge say about it? So prepare yourself in advance for all the exercises of mind and body. While waiting, I work as hard as I can in order to have a great deal for you to read. Others too would hear the complete work during the late summer and fall of , but oral reactions alone did not satisfy Tocqueville.
He had his manuscript copied in a fair hand, then sent it to certain members of his family and friends, and requested each recipient to criticize it as thoroughly as possible in writing. The first two volumes of the Democracy in America were published in January , less than three years after the return from America.
But circumstances had also favored the project. He had enjoyed almost a year and a half of relatively sound health and of freedom from both professional and family responsibilities. In Tocqueville hoped that the final portion of his work would follow within two or three years, yet the last two volumes were not destined to appear until April In the next half decade circumstances turned sour, and one obstacle after another arose between the author and his goal. The entire thing, which is quite small, makes a pleasant whole; it is a small aerial world where, I hope, we will both perch next year.
In the spring of , however, despite the charms of this country nest, he refused to settle down to begin the final parts of his work. Tocqueville often acted on the basis of personal beliefs, firmly held, Edition: current; Page: [ 24 ] Edition: current; Page: [ 25 ] and he was convinced that no author should hurry into print immediately after a great success.
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But there were also two other reasons for his refusal to resume the Democracy: travel and romance. In April, he and Beaumont sailed to England where, ever since the short visit of , he had hoped to return. Much across the channel remained to be seen, pondered, and compared with his American experiences.
If the United States was, for Tocqueville, the symbol of an advanced democratic society, England seemed the epitome of a successful aristocracy, and the Democracy was destined to present many more three-way comparisons—France, America, England—than had the first two volumes of the book. But he also had personal motives. About , he had met a young Englishwoman, Mary Mottley, who, though lacking great wealth or notable birth, had attracted him by her qualities of mind and spirit.
The companions traveled together until August, when a shortage of funds forced Tocqueville to return home. Arriving in Paris in August with the intention of resuming his American enterprise, he wrote to M.
Tocqueville's Virus: Utopia and Dystopia in Western Social and Political Thought
During the last months of , ensconced in his tower at Baugy, Tocqueville repeated the process of and drew up a list of subjects which he believed were important enough to become chapters. Probably refrain from doing it. During these first months of work, Tocqueville was still thinking in terms of a single additional volume. Division to make perhaps.
As began, Tocqueville ceased work and hurried to Paris where his mother lay critically ill. In the division of property Alexis was awarded Edition: current; Page: [ 29 ] Tocqueville, the ancient family home in Normandy, long uninhabited and badly in need of repairs. Tocqueville returned to the Democracy in the spring of Earlier, at the request of Mill, he had submitted an article to the London Review, and the Englishman, anxious to secure regular contributions, now pressed him for a second essay.
But Tocqueville pleaded the increasing demands of his American work and declined. He also mentioned for the first time his intention of publishing two additional volumes rather than only one. I hold to presenting myself in the smallest possible format. But in the end, there is a limit to being concise, and I have not been able to squeeze what I have to say into a single volume.
A bit more, and the only thing left to my family will be to have me declared incapable of managing my affairs and led off to Charenton. His only complaint concerned the difficulty of his task, which seemed to expand in direct proportion to his efforts. In the first part of my work I confined myself to the laws, which were fixed and visible points.