Democracy in America

Front Cover
Signet Classic, 1956 - Literary Collections - 317 pages
35 Reviews
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59) came to America in 1831 to see what a great republic was like. What struck him most was the country's equality of conditions, its "democracy." The book he wrote on his return to France, "Democracy in America," is both the best ever written on democracy and the best ever written on America. It remains the most often quoted book about the United States, not only because it has something to interest and please everyone, but also because it has something to teach everyone. When it was published in 2000, Harvey Mansfield and Delba Winthrop's new translation of "Democracy in America"--only the third since the original two-volume work was published in 1835 and 1840--was lauded in all quarters as the finest and most definitive edition of Tocqueville's classic thus far. Mansfield and Winthrop have restored the nuances of Tocqueville's language, with the expressed goal "to convey Tocqueville's thought as he held it rather than to restate it in comparable terms of today." The result is a translation with minimal interpretation, but with impeccable annotations of unfamiliar references and a masterful introduction placing the work and its author in the broader contexts of political philosophy and statesmanship.

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Review: Democracy in America Volume 1

User Review  - Seth Hettena - Goodreads

In Issac Asimov's book Foundation, there is a mathematician who is able to predict accurately large scale future events. Now Foundation is a work of science fiction, but de Tocqueville was doing this ... Read full review

Review: Great Books of the Western World

User Review  - Garrett Starr - Goodreads

I have always wanted this collection, but over the years I purchased other books instead. When our church moved into our current digs, this entire collection was hidden away in a back room and covered ... Read full review

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About the author (1956)

Alexis de Tocqueville was born in 1805 to a noble French family that had survived the French Revolution. His father gained some political power under the reign of the Bourbons, and after the July Revolution of 1830, the family was exiled along with the king. Tocqueville, then twenty-five years old, stayed in France, swearing allegiance to the new government. Shortly thereafter he and a friend, Gustave de Beaumont, sought and received a government assignment to study the prison system of the United States. They arrived in America in 1831. After extensive travels across the young nation, Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America (published in two volumes in 1835 and 1840). The publication of the first volume made Tocqueville a well-known figure, but he led a quiet life, accepting modest governmental posts, traveling around Europe, and marrying an Englishwoman. In 1848, Tocqueville once again rose to political prominence after a prescient speech that foretold of revolution. After serving through the massive upheavals and overthrows of government, Tocqueville retired from political life in 1849. Always weak in health, his lung disease grew progressively worse from that period on. Moving south several times on doctor's recommendations, Tocqueville succumbed to death in 1859, in Cannes.
Richard D. Heffner received his A.B. and M.A. from Columbia University and has taught history and political science at the University of California, Sarah Lawrence College, and the New School for Social Research. He has been University Professor of Communications and Public Policy at Rutgers since 1964. Mr. Heffner also produces and moderates his prize-winning weekly public television series, The Open Mind, and for twenty years was Chairman of the motion picture industry's film rating system. In addition to Democracy in America, Mr. Heffner is the editor of the Mentor book A Documentary History of the United States.

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