Tocqueville and the Nature of Democracy

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One of France's leading and most controversial political thinkers explores the central themes of Tocqueville's writings: the democratic revolution and the modern passion for equality. What becomes of people when they are overcome by this passion and how does it transform the contents of life? Pierre Manent's analysis concludes that the growth of state power and the homogenization of society are two primary consequences of equalizing conditions. The author shows the contemporary relevance of Tocqueville's teaching: to love democracy well, one must love it moderately. Manent examines the prophetic nature of Tocqueville's writings with breadth, clarity, and depth. His findings are both timely and highly relevant as people in Eastern Europe and around the world are grappling with the fragile, complicated, and frequently contradictory nature of democracy. This book is essential reading for students and scholars of political theory and political philosophy, as well as general readers interested in the nature of modern democracy.
 

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Contents

THE DEFINITION OF DEMOCRACY
1
DEMOCRACY AND ARISTOCRACY
13
THE FORCE OF DEMOCRATIC EQUALITY
29
THE SOCIAL POWER
37
THE MILDNESS OF DEMOCRACY
47
DEMOCRATIC MAN
53
DEMOCRACY AND THE NATURE OF MAN
67
DEMOCRACY AND RELIGION
83
DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION
109
CONCLUSION
129
NOTES
133
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About the author (1996)

Pierre Manent, former editor of the journal Commentaire and assistant to Raymond Aron, earned an advanced degree in philosophy at the Ecole Normal Superieure. He is currently Director of Studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales and co-editor of the journal La Pense Politique.

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