In Alexis de Tocqueville’s excerpt “Why the Americans are so Restless in the Midst of Their Prosperity”, there is an examination of the American culture being unhappy despite the ideal situation they are living in. Tocqueville believes that this is due to the insatiable desires that Americans have for material possessions, wealth and expansion.
Tocqueville’s view is that because Americans are constantly in search of acquiring more than they posses, they are unable to value and appreciate what they already have. This affliction causes them to aspire to 1that which is unobtainable. Because of the victory of the Revolutionary War, it has become an American principle to expand and grow as a nation to the highest amount achievable.
Tocqueville’s analysis and opinions are convincing. He made clear statements about what he noticed as an outside observational party. The justifications for his observations, however not easily deciphered, were that of a man who witnessed the unquenchable determination of the American culture first hand. Tocqueville also made reference to people who were living in areas of less prosperity, modernization and economic growth which gave his argument more justification from comparison.
It is my opinion that Tocqueville’s portrayal of the 19th century Americans still holds value in modern society. As a nation we have advanced in many ways, continually grasping for what we do not currently possess. We are presently living in a materialistic society. This yearning for more and more could easily lead to the downfall of our American culture if we do not properly evaluate and modify our behavior.