In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, a young Frnech aristocrat and civil servant, made a nine-month journey through eastern America. The result was Democracy in America, a monumental study of the strengths and weakensses of the nation's evolving politics. Tocqueville looked to the flourishing democratic system in American as a possible model for post-revolutionary France, believing its egalitarian ideals reflected the spirit of the age - even that they were the will of God. His insightful work has become one of the most influential political texts ever written on America and an indispensable authority for anyone interested in the future of democracy. This volume includes the rarely translated "Two Weeks in the Wilderness", an evocative account of Tocqueville's travels among the Iroquois and Chippeway, and 'Excursion to Lake Oneida.' This is the only edition that contains all Tocqueville's writings on American, and includes a chronology, further reading and notes. Gerald Bevan's translation is accompanied by an introduction by Isaac Kramnick, which discussess Tocqueville's life and times, and the enduring significance of this book.
A contemporary study of the early American nation and its evolving democracy, from a French aristocrat and sociologist
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French aristocrat and ambitious civil servant, set out from post-revolutionary France on a journey across America that would take him 9 months and cover 7,000 miles. The result was Democracy in America, a subtle and prescient analysis of the life and institutions of 19th-century America. Tocqueville looked to the flourishing deomcratic system in America as a possible model for post-revolutionary France, believing that the egalitarian ideals it enshrined reflected the spirit of the age and even divine will. His study of the strengths and weaknesses of an evolving democratic society has been quoted by every American president since Eisenhower, and remains a key point of reference for any discussion of the American nation or the democratic system.
This new edition is the only one that contains all Tocqueville's writings on America, including the rarely-translated Two Weeks in the Wilderness, an account of Tocqueville's travels in Michigan among the Iroquois, and Excursion to Lake Oneida.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59), a French sociologist and historian, was active in the law and served for a time as foreign minister. He also wrote L'Ancien Régime.
Gerald Bevan is the translator.
Issac Kramnick is Professor of Government at Cornell and edited The Federalist Papers for Penguin.
“No better study of a nation’s institutions and culture than Tocqueville’s Democracy in America has ever been written by a foreign observer.” –The New York Times
“The Bradley edition of Tocqueville’s classic is the best now available in English.” –Charles A. Beard
“Professor Bradley’s edition should remain the standard one for our time.” –F. O. Matthiessen
With an Introduction by Alan Ryan