In aristocracy wealthy people coming to power and running the government but in democracy, poor people coming to power and they are stealing from the government; using their power to build their own dictatorship; -Tocqueville says something close to this in the book. It got my attention and highlighted. After reading vol I and II Democracy in America written by Alexis de Tocqueville I would like to share some notes from the book from my perspective and what I think. Not just every American citizen but also, who want to understand American people and their culture should read this book.
Let me start with -who is Tocqueville and why he traveled to America.
He is a French diplomat, judge, and historian.
He's born into an ancient aristocratic family. One of his relatives fought at the Battle of Hastings under William the Conqueror. His elder relatives suffered during the French Revolution.
His great-grandfather was guillotine he also was forced to watch his daughter guillotine and several other relatives in the family suffered execution during the revolution.
He shows us the predicted inevitable acceleration of American domination of the world in a more diplomatic way than Aldous Huxley.
I wish Tocqueville re-visit to the U.S just to see more as Huxley says to a journalist: to know worse, one needs to know from time to time.
Why did Tocqueville come to America? He has always been interested in prison reform and he knew that in America they were trying out new ideas for the penitentiary. He wants to write a book about it, this will help his career and it will also help him to get out of France. There is no secret his primary interest was to study the Republican example that America was presenting to the world.
When he was in America, he meets with all of the key people such as John Quincy Adams, he also meets with Sam Houston before he was a ‘Sam Houston’ he also meets with Andrew Jackson at the White House.
He did become rich from the sale of the book(that time, selling your own book like almost selling your own brand car) but he was already rich. He was fluent in English, he married an English woman.
I like his second book Vol II more than the first one even he writes 3-4 years later still it was more informed about specific details.
My favorite notes from his book vol I and II
Alexis de Tocqueville quotes about Journalism in America. Vol II Chapters VI:
To suppose that newspapers only serve to protect freedom would be to diminish newspapers' importance: they maintain civilization.
There are neither nobles nor literati in America, they just do not trust the rich. Thus, jurists constitute the upper political class of society and the largest intellectual section of society. The American aristocracy is found in the bar associations of lawyers and in the courses of judges.
Muhammad debases the Quran and in it explains not only religious doctrines, but also political deceptions, civil and criminal laws, and scientific theories. The Bible, on the contrary, only speaks of people's general relationship with God and with each other. It teaches nothing beyond that and doesn't force people to believe anything else.
Any law that, in repressing the turbulent spirit of the army, should tend to diminish the spirit of freedom in the nation and to overshadow the notion of law and right would defeat its object; it would do much more to favor than to defeat the establishment of military tyranny. After all, and in spite of all precautions, a large army in the midst of a democratic people will always be a source of great danger. The most effective means of diminishing that danger would be to reduce the army, but this is a remedy that all nations are not able to apply.
There is so much to learn from this French Judge about his time of life’s America. I’m also recommending this book to all law students and journalists.
I’m very into old rare books, and I’m highly recommending to read this great article from Bloomberg ‘Retail Might Be Struggling, But the Rich Are Buying Rare Books’.
Also to see some of the books I have read and what I’m currently reading, go to my Goodreads page.