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European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche$
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Frank M Turner and Richard A. Lofthouse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300207293

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300207293.001.0001

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Tocqueville and Liberty

Tocqueville and Liberty

Chapter:
(p.21) Chapter 2 Tocqueville and Liberty
Source:
European Intellectual History from Rousseau to Nietzsche
Author(s):

Frank M. Turner

, Richard A. Lofthouse
Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300207293.003.0002

This chapter presents a reading of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Tocqueville stands as one of the thinkers who opened the intellectual path to an understanding of the new world of politics, economics, and ideologies that was emerging in the early nineteenth century. In Democracy in America, Tocqueville sought to provide a new conceptual framework with which to understand and analyze the newly emerging political world. The chapter examines his views on religion, democracy, patriotism, political obligation, and the concept of the Tyranny of the Majority. It concludes that in allowing himself to think freely and open-endedly about democracy, Tocqueville discerned as no one before him the ongoing conflict that would emerge in all states where political liberalism and liberal democratic structures prevailed. He saw that the problem of democracy would be tension between political and social demands.

Keywords:   Alexis de Tocqueville, intellectuals, nineteenth century, Democracy in America, public discourse, religion, democracy, patriotism, political obligation, Tyranny of the Majority

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