Democracy in America By: Alexis De Tocqueville Democracy in America, by Alexis De Tocqueville is a book about how the American States and the federal government would grow politically and socially under the umbrella of democracy. Alexis De Tocqueville sees the United States as a unique entity because of how and why it started as well as its geographical location. Alexis De Tocqueville explains that the foundations of the democratic process in America are completely different from anywhere else on the globe. The people who came to America were the oppressed and unhappy in England and all were trying to find a place where they could start anew and create a political structure that would facilitate an individual freedom unlike anything that they had previously experienced in Europe. Alexis De Tocqueville believed that the nature of democracy in the New World rested within the fact that all of the emigrants were basically from the same social strata, resulting in the first new country where there was no preliminary basis for an aristocracy. He saw that even the soil of America was opposed to the structure of an aristocracy.
There were also outside influences lending unvoiced support for the creation of this new democracy. Being an ocean apart from its mother country, which at this time did not have the financial reserves to oversee its colonies, let the Americans govern themselves. If they had not had this sovereignty at the beginning America they might have become something completely different than it is today, but that was not the case, so these emigrants now had a fertile place to plant their ideas of a country founded upon the many ideas of the Enlightenment. Another large influence was the lack of neighbors. America had no worries of guarding and protecting its borders because there was not anyone there who could pose a threat. They could put all of their energies toward the creation of their democracy.
This democratic nation was to have no aristocracy and only one major division between its people, the North and the South. De Tocqueville saw two very different attitudes in these regions. The North and the South had conflicting views as to how they were going to advance themselves in the economic and political arenas. But the introduction of slavery into labor was the major conflict between the two. 'Slavery... dishonors labor; it introduces idleness into a society, and with idleness, ignorance and pride, luxury and distress. The influence of slavery, united to the English character, explains the manners and the social condition of the Southern States.
' With the advent of slavery, the South was creating a class system among themselves that would not exist in the other regions of the States. The few Southern founders were granted huge amounts of land with which to work, and instead of diving into the land themselves like the northerners did with their smaller pieces of land. They instead bought slaves and would eventually divide the country in a nasty dispute over their handling of affairs. De Tocqueville has left no aspect of American society out of his publication. He rips the American body open and examines all the things that are inside right down to the bare bones. It is a little scary to read of ones' own nation and its culture.
To realize that one's own life is not how he made it, but of how his ancestors have created society. Whether it be as to how Americans view their politics, or their social afflictions, de Tocqueville voices his opinions as to what is commendable, are conversely, what is wrong with every aspect of America. He sees America through the eyes of intelligent outsider who has no reason to make America sound anything other than it is. He has done a very thorough job, and his vision of nineteenth century America will surely help lead America into the twenty-first century with a better definition of itself..