Tocqueville Essay Research Paper In the book

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Tocqueville Essay, Research Paper In the book Democracy in America, Tocqueville describes why he believes democracy, especially in America, is going to turn into a despot. Tocqueville believes that despotism is going to rise in America because when the inhabitant of a democratic country compares himself individually with all those about him, he feels with pride that he is the equal of any one of them; but when he comes to survey the totality of his fellows and to place himself in contrast to so huge a body, he is instantly overwhelmed by the sense of his own insignificance and weakness (Tocqueville v2, p10). This insignificance and weakness makes the inhabitant rely on the government more and thereby the government turns into a despotic one. This is why Tocqueville believes

that despotism will be the end result of democracy. Democratic nations, such as America, pride themselves on equality of conditions. The first and most tense passion that is produced by equality of condition is the love of that equality (Tocqueville v2, p94). Men love equality because it gives everyone equality of opinions and equality of worth, which means that no one person, is any better than anyone else. Americans do not believe just one person because their opinion is equal to that one person s opinion; but if the majority holds that same opinion then that one person will conform to the majority. At periods of equality men have no faith in one anther, by reason of their common resemblance; but this very resemblance gives them almost unbounded confidence in the judgement of

the public (Tocqueville v2, p10). This equality on an individual basis leads to a sense of individualism. Equality of condition leads to a sense of individualism. Since everyone is equal and on an individual basis no one needs or wants anything from anyone else, a sense of individualism or isolation arises. Democracy makes every man forget his ancestors and it hides his descendants and separates his contemporaries from him; it throws him back forever upon himself alone and threatens in the end to confine him entirely within the solitude of his own heart (Tocqueville v2, p99). This independence on an individual level leads to isolationism and therefore, leads to a feeling of dependence upon the government. As citizens become more dependent on the government, their desire for want

the government to take care of them increases, because they are no longer individually connected to each other. A citizens independence fills him with self-reliance and pride among his equals; his debility makes him feel from time to time the want of some outward assistance (Tocqueville v2, p294). This growing reliance on the government increases its power while at the same time taking away freedom from the citizens. Even though citizens of democratic nations would rather not be lead by one person, they are willing to be lead by the government as a whole, because it is seen as the majority authority. The citizens dependence on the government is what eventually leads to despotism. As equality separates individuals more and more from each other, the country becomes more

individually isolated. The citizens will start relying more upon their government to provide them with more public service programs. The more citizens rely on their government, the more isolated they become from each other. This viscous cycle of reliance and isolation is what ultimately leads to despotism. Despotism sees in the separating among men as the surest guarantee of its continuance, and it usually makes every effort to keep them separate (Tocqueville v2, p102). Therefore, democracy s passion for equality breeds individualism, because individually, each citizen feels a sense of pride. When an individual citizen compares himself with the majority he feels weak, so he depends on the government to make him feel stronger. America has tried to create associations to lessen the