Tocqueville on America After 1840: Letters and Other Writings

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 30, 2009 - History - 560 pages
Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America has been recognized as an indispensable starting point for understanding American politics. From the publication of the second volume in 1840 until his death in 1859, Tocqueville continued to monitor political developments in America and committed many of his thoughts to paper in letters to his friends in America. He also made frequent references to America in many articles and speeches. Did Tocqueville change his views on America outlined in the two volumes of Democracy in America published in 1835 and 1840? If so, which of his views changed and why? The texts translated in Tocqueville on America after 1840: Letters and Other Writings answer these questions and offer English-speaking readers the possibility of familiarizing themselves with this unduly neglected part of Tocqueville's work. The book points out a clear shift in emphasis especially after 1852 and documents Tocqueville's growing disenchantment with America, triggered by such issues as political corruption, slavery, expansionism, and the encroachment of the economic sphere upon the political.

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Tocquevilles Views of America after 1840
APPENDIX 1 Tocquevilles American Correspondents
APPENDIX 2 Chronology
APPENDIX 3 Sources for the Texts

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About the author (2009)

French writer and politician Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Verneuil to an aristocratic Norman family. He entered the bar in 1825 and became an assistant magistrate at Versailles. In 1831, he was sent to the United States to report on the prison system. This journey produced a book called On the Penitentiary System in the United States (1833), as well as a much more significant work called Democracy in America (1835--40), a treatise on American society and its political system. Active in French politics, Tocqueville also wrote Old Regime and the Revolution (1856), in which he argued that the Revolution of 1848 did not constitute a break with the past but merely accelerated a trend toward greater centralization of government. Tocqueville was an observant Catholic, and this has been cited as a reason why many of his insights, rather than being confined to a particular time and place, reach beyond to see a universality in all people everywhere.

Aurelian Craiutu is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University in 1999. His book Liberalism under Siege: The Political Thought of the French Doctrinaires won a 2004 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award. Professor Craiutu has also edited several volumes, including Guizot's History of the Origins of Representative Government in Europe, Madame de Staël's Considerations on the Main Events of the French Revolution, Conversations with Tocqueville: The Democratic Revolution in the Twentieth-First Century (with Sheldon Gellar) and America through European Eyes (with Jeffrey C. Isaac). His articles and reviews have also appeared in many journals.

Jeremy Jennings is Professor of Political Theory at Queen Mary, University of London, having previously held posts at the Universities of Swansea and Birmingham (UK). He received his D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. In 2007 he was made a Chevalier in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques for services rendered to French culture. Professor Jennings has published extensively on the history of political thought in France, the role of intellectuals in politics, and the history of socialism. In 2002 he published a new edition of Georges Sorel's Reflections on Violence and in 2005 co-edited a volume entitled Republicanism in Theory and Practice. He has recently published articles in the American Political Science Review, Review of Politics, Journal of Political Ideologies and Journal of the History of Ideas.

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