for Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville
Tocqueville, Alexis de. Democracy in America. Translated by Henry Reeve, Esq. With an Original Preface and Notes by John C. Spencer. New York: Adlard and Saunders, 1838. xxx, 464 pp. Reprinted 2003 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. LCCN 2002025957. ISBN 1-58477-249-2. * Reprint of the first English-language edition. In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville [1805-1859] and Gustave de Beaumont [fl.1835] were sent to the United States by the French government to study American prisons, which were renowned for their progressive and humane methods. They were pleased to accept this assignment because they were intrigued by the idea of American democracy. Tocqueville and Beaumont spent nine months in the country, traveling as far west as Michigan and as far south as New Orleans. Throughout the tour, Tocqueville used his social connections to arrange meetings with several prominent and influential thinkers of the day. He recorded his thoughts on the structure of the government and the judicial system, and commented on everyday people and the nation's political culture and social institutions. His observations on slavery, in particular, are impassioned and critical. These notes formed the basis of Democracy in America. This landmark work initiated a dialogue about the nature of democracy and the United States and its people that continues to this day.
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