Democracy in America Today Analytical Essay by Nicky

Democracy in America Today
An analytical review of Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America."
# 128586 | 942 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | US

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This paper provides a review and analysis of Alexis de Tocqueville's classic nonfiction work "Democracy in America," which was written in 1831. The paper notes that some of Tocqueville's observations about American culture and society still seem eerily descriptive of present-day American values, such as observations about the status of different racial groups. The paper explains that this area mercifully has mostly changed, as slavery is omnipresent in the America that Tocqueville describes. However, the paper elaborates, capitalist land ownership, choice, independence, and freedom from government-imposed rules, were values celebrated in America even in Tocqueville's work. The paper concludes with Toqueville's acknowledgement that shows how even in the 19th century, people were aware of the irony that a nation of democratic liberty and property ownership was founded on taking the liberty and property away from entire peoples.

From the Paper:

"Beyond formal institutional and political structures, one of the greatest differences between America and Tocqueville's own nation was that of the importance of individualism. Tocqueville's America is a frontier society, characterized by rough, hewn-hearty men and rough individualism. "The citizen of the United States is taught from infancy to rely upon his own exertions in order to resist the evils and the difficulties of life; he looks upon the social authority with an eye of mistrust and anxiety, and he claims its assistance only when he is unable to do without it" (I.12). Tocqueville praised America's free press and freedom of political and religious associations, imported from England, but fostered in a nation that had never known control from above over these institutions. Yet Tocqueville feared the tyranny of the majority over the minority, and noted the singular power of local as opposed to national government power, in comparison to Europe. This individualism and dislike of government intervention lingers on--the greatest insult that could be cast Barack Obama's way by his Republican opponent during the 2008 campaign was that he might be 'socialist' and in favor of wealth redistribution. America today still has fewer social services for its citizens than its democratic European counterparts."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. 1831. Available from the University of Virginia [7 Nov 2008]

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Democracy in America Today (2010, July 28) Retrieved December 08, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Democracy in America Today" 28 July 2010. Web. 08 December. 2022. <>