Tocqueville : American Exceptionalism?

1581 WordsSep 29, 20177 Pages
Tocqueville: American Exceptionalism Alexis de Tocqueville was born on July 29, 1805, in Paris, France. He was a historian, political scientist, and a politician, but he is best known as the author of Democracy in America. He began his political career as an apprentice magistrate, a role he was easily able to enter into due to his father’s role in French government. In the role of apprentice magistrate, Tocqueville witnessed the constitutional upheaval between the conservatives and liberals in France. With the inevitable decline of the aristocratic privilege on the horizon, he began to study the English political development. For Tocqueville, the July Revolution of 1830 and the resulting kingship of Louis Philippe of Orleans helped…show more content…
After the geographical location in context of America is explored, Tocqueville begins his exploration of the origins of Anglo-American people in society. The original settlers of America practiced Puritanism. Tocqueville considers Puritanism itself almost a form of politics. The Puritans founded the land based mostly on intellectual prowess over aristocracy. They were seeking shelter due to religious conflict in their motherland. The Puritans were of a mind to preserve their genetic culture, but as society progressed, the discontent with the English monarchal government festered. In fact, England was the driving force behind American democracy which really began with Puritan democracy. Puritan democracy was based on a sense of morality, but the downside was the religious intolerance that they founded their settlements on. The idea of a dissenter was distasteful and the Puritans had no problem fining or even executing anyone they thought were breaking their religious code, which for a settlement founded on freedom of religion and freedom itself, contradicts the ideals of both. The people who descended from the Puritans and newcomers who settled the northern area of the country tended to lean more towards the well-educated classes that held the intellectual and scientific knowledge in reverence. The South was almost a different land. A large population from the proprietary classes settled in the South and
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