Alexis De Tocqueville's Thoughts On Early 19th Century America

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When Alexis de Tocqueville came to America, he observed many things about American society and government. Overall, he was very impressed. He wrote his feelings about America in two volumes of work. These two volumes were compiled into a book, Democracy in America. De Tocqueville was amazed at how unrestricted American society was for European-American men. As a Frenchmen, Alexis de Tocqueville came from a society with rigid social norms. So when he witnessed life in America, where the poorer classes have the right to rise in society, he was very enthusiastic about America. De Tocqueville praised Christianity's strong role in Americans' lives. He felt that religion prevented many American from degenerating into a shallow, hedonistic life. But there were negative features of American life that he could not ignore; the treatment of blacks and Indians, and the lack of an enlightened aristocracy in America. And although De Tocqueville praised the egalitarian nature of America, he was worried that an over zealous desire for equality would lead to a socialist government in America.

Alexis de Tocqueville was a great admirer of the classless aspects of American democracy amongst European-Americans. Alexis de Tocqueville felt that there was not a schism between the classes in America as there was in most European countries. He notes that there are few rich men in America, and most Americans must work hard everyday. He praised the potential for social mobility in America. He liked the fact that Americans believed that all men were created equal. "But it is not only fortunes that equal in America; equality to some extent affects their mental endowments too."�(De Tocqueville 55) De Tocqueville cites the psychological difference between servant-master relations in the United States and European aristocratic servant-master relationships. The distinction highlights de Tocqueville's belief that the United States is...