In doing so, Tocqueville made a number of prescient observations about American life whether it be the contrast between equality and liberty or Americans belief that they all belong to the middle class that remain as relevant today as when they were first written. While Tocqueville is often praised by both conservatives and liberals, either for his distrust of big government and fondness for decentralized power or for his concern with association and community, both tend to overlook his contempt for the coarse appearance of the individual members of Congress as well as his enthusiasm for the brutal nature of our prison system. Alan Ryan examines the often complicated and elusive Democracy in America, tracing the influence of writers such as Rousseau, Montesquieu, and Guizot, and explaining Tocqueville s original conceptions of equality and individualism within their historical context. In Ryan s hands, On Tocqueville becomes the perfect introduction and guide to Democracy in America.
On Tocqueville: Democracy and America features:
a chronology of Alexis de Tocqueville's life
an introduction and text by Alan Ryan that provides crucial context and cogent analysis
key excerpts from Democracy in America"