Democracy in America Abridged with an Introduction by Michael Kammen

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Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2008-08-08
Publisher(s): Bedford/St. Martin's
List Price: $28.79

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This new edition ofDemocracy in Americamakes Tocqueville's classic nineteenth-century study of American politics, society, and culture available finally! in a brief and accessible version. Designed for instructors who are eager to teach the work but reluctant to assign all 700 plus pages, Kammen's careful abridgment features the most well-known chapters that by scholarly consensus are most representative of Tocqueville's thinking on a wide variety of issues. A comprehensive introduction provides historical and intellectual background, traces the author's journey in America, helps students unpack the meaning behind key Tocquevillian concepts like "individualism," "equality," and "tyranny of the majority," and discusses the work's reception and legacy. Newly translated, this edition offers instructors a convenient and affordable option for exploring this essential work with their students. Useful pedagogic features include a chronology, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, illustrations, and an index.

Author Biography

Michael Kammen (Ph.D., Harvard University) is the Newton C. Farr Professor of American History and Culture at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1965. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and served in 1995-96 as President of the Organization of American Historians. His books include People of Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Origins of American Civilization (1972), awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History; A Machine That Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture (1986), awarded the Francis Parkman Prize and the Henry Adams Prize; Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (1991); and Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture (2006).

Table of Contents



A Note about the Text and Translation

List of Illustrations


Introduction: Tocqueville and His Tour de Force

Tocqueville’s Life and Character

The Journey in America

Content and Key Themes of the Work

How Democracy in America Was Received

The Relevance and Legacy of Democracy in America


Democracy in America

Volume I

Author’s Introduction

Part I

  1. America’s Founding and Its Importance for the Future of Anglo-Americans

  2. Anglo-American Social Conditions

  3. The Principle of the sovereignty of the People in America

  4. The Need to Examine What Happens in Individual States Before Discussing the Government of the Whole

    Part II

  5. Why It Is Accurate To Say That In The United States, The People Govern

  6. The Real Advantages Derived By American Society From Democratic Government

  7. The Omnipotence of the Majority in the United States and Its Consequences

  8. What tempers the Tyranny of the Majority

  9. The Principal Causes Tending to Preserve a Democratic Republic in the United States

  10. A Few Remarks on Present and Probable Future Conditions of the Three Races Living Within the United States

    Volume II


    Part I: The Influence of Democracy Upon the Intellectual Development of the United States

  11. The Principal Source of Beliefs Among Democratic Countries

  12. The Spirit in which Americans Cultivate the Arts

  13. Literary Production

  14. Certain Characteristics of Historians in Democratic Centuries

    Part II: Influence of Democracy on the Opinions of Americans

  15. Individualism in Democratic Society

  16. Individualism is Greater Following a Democratic Revolution Than In Any Other Period

  17. Americans Minimize Individualism with Free Institutions

  18. The Role of Voluntary Associations in America

  19. The Relationship Between Associations and Newspapers

  20. Connections Between Voluntary and Political Associations

  21. Americans Overcome Individualism Through the Doctrine of Self-Interest Well Understood

  22. The Taste for Material Comfort in America

  23. Why Americans Appear So Restless Amidst Their Prosperity

  24. How Americans’ Love of Material Comfort Combines with the Love of Liberty and a Concern for Public Affairs

  25. How Aristocracy May Result from Industry

    Part III: Influence of Democracy on Customs as Such

  26. Education of Girls in the United States

  27. The Young Woman as Wife

  28. How Social Equality Helps Maintain Moral Behavior in America

  29. What Americans Mean by Equality of Men and Women

  30. American Society Appears Both Restless and Monotonous

  31. Why Great Revolutions Will Become Rare

    Part IV: The Influence Exercised by Democratic Ideas and Attitudes on Politics

  32. Equality Naturally Leads to A Desire For Free Institutions

  33. The Type of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear

  34. An Overview of the Subject


A Tocqueville Chronology (1805-1859)

Questions for Consideration

Selected Bibliography


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