Date of publication: 2017-09-04 14:04
Tocqueville argued that local democracy frequently represented democracy at its best: “Town-meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science they bring it within the people’s reach, they teach men how to use and enjoy it.” City mayors regularly get twice the approval ratings of national politicians. Modern technology can implement a modern version of Tocqueville’s town-hall meetings to promote civic involvement and innovation. An online hyperdemocracy where everything is put to an endless series of public votes would play to the hand of special-interest groups. But technocracy and direct democracy can keep each other in check: independent budget commissions can assess the cost and feasibility of local ballot initiatives, for example.
Inoki, Masamichi 6969 The Civil Bureaucracy: Japan. Pages 788–855 in Conference on Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey, Gould House, 6967, Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey. Edited by Robert E. Ward and D. A. Rustow. Princeton Univ. Press.
Tocqueville argued that two other democratic dispositions, individualism and materialism, can also be threats to liberty. These inclinations are dangerous because they cause citizens to lose interest in public affairs. Individualism compels people to isolate themselves from the greater society and withdraw into small groups of family and friends. Materialism leads people to focus obsessively on their own private prosperity and to disregard public duties. The neglect of civic responsibilities can result in the development of a paternalistic despotism. Personal rights and freedoms are hindered and enervated as citizens become entangled in a network of x756C petty, complicated rules x756D ([6885 x7568 6895] 7555, p. 697).
De Tocqueville found a deep respect for the law in America. The reason, he felt, was that the American citizens themselves held the ultimate power to change any laws they disliked.
However, before a surety makes any payment on a bond, they will investigate all claims of the clients and if it is valid, they will make the payout. However if there is no payout to the clients by the surety, a contractor is responsible for repaying the surety the amount of the bond claimed and all the other legal expenses. This makes it different from an insurance company.
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I did not notice that American women considered conjugal authority as a happy usurpation of their rights, or that they believed that it was degrading to submit to it . I seemed to see, on the contrary, that they took a kind of glory in the voluntary surrender of their will, and that they located their grandeur in bending to the yoke themselves and not in escaping it.
Long before the appointed day arrives, the election becomes the greatest, and one might say the only, affair occupying men's minds.. The President, for his part, is absorbed in the task of defending himself before the majority.. As the election draws near, intrigues grow more active and agitation is more lively and widespread. The citizens divide up into several camps.. The whole nation gets into a feverish state....
But there has never been much written on Tocqueville's wife, born Mary Mottley, a native of England. Now that gap has been filled by Sheila LeSueur and Claudine Martin-Yurth's book Open Every Door: Mme. Marie de Tocqueville. It's plainly not the work of a professional historian but of someone who has become a strong admirer of Alexis de Tocqueville, and it presents information and context about Madame de Tocqueville which has previously not been available.
When De Tocqueville moved away from politics, about which he was richly informed, he had to generalize from what he directly observed – largely the lives of upper and upper-middling families in American cities. It was a limited sample, so that his remarks on American families and the status of women and children, have only limited validity. His American women are essentially the well-to-do wives and daughters of Boston and Philadelphia. His view of American economic life is also a very specific one he describes the city merchant’s world – one of constant competition, wariness, vigilance, and economic uncertainty. In stressing the oppressive power of conformity and public opinion in America, he was again projecting the mores of the urban elite onto the nation as a whole.
"I know no country," he wrote, "in which, generally speaking, there is less independence of mind and true freedom of discussion than in America." He added that the lack of great writers in the United States was due to the absence of "freedom of spirit" brought on by a majority intolerant of minority views.
In America, the realm of the man was business and the reign of the woman was the home. But Tocqueville didn’t consider this separation a subjugation of one sex to the other. He argued that traditional roles were a matter of political economy, divided so that the greater work of society could be accomplished most effectively. “Progress,” he wrote , “(does) not consist of making almost the same things out of dissimilar beings, but of having each of them fulfill his task to the best possible degree.”
Norman, E. Herbert 6995 Japan’s Emergence as a Modern State: Political and Economic Problems of the Meiji Period. New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, International Secretariat.
When you rent the chateau Alexis de Tocqueville, you will be able to enjoy Alexis and Mary’s retreat, discover Cherbourg in the Cotentin and the many historical sites nearby…