It has been said that a French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, who
visited the United States in the 1830's, "understood us" in a way that few
observers (foreign and domestic) have. Furthermore, Tocqueville's Democracy in
America is often cited by present-day critics because so many of the
observations in it seem extraordinarily suitable even more than one hundred and
fifty years later. Alexis de Tocqueville was born 1805 into a minor noble family,
in which his grandfather had been guillotined during the French Revolution. He
had come to the United States in 1831 to study the prison system, in which he
did not do, instead he wrote Democracy in America. He had stayed in the United
States through February 1832 for about nine months, so intrigued by democracy,
majority rule, and the absence of social hierarchy. Democracy in America was
first published in 1825, full of observations and interpretations, was written
as a sort of warning for European readers; "Is this what you want?" he asks.
This book was famous for two accurate predictions, one, the U.S. would someday
be a world power as would Russia, second, race would prove to be the most
intractable problem for the U.S.
One of Tocqueville's observations about the United States is that he
thought there is no country in the civilized world that is less attention paid
philosophy than the United States. This is applicable to American life in 1997
because the whole world is practically joined to the United States. Just about
every country in the world trades with, tours in, and watches for the United
States. What I mean by watches is that they practically always know what's going
on (except for the top-secret things) in the United States, whether it be by
television, computers, or satellites they know what the U.S. is doing. The U.S.
is basically a "free-for-all" county; the laws and schools are less strict than
other countries such as, Japan in which... [continues]
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