Democracy in America


Alexis de Toqueville

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Democracy in America: Chapter 42 Summary & Analysis

Tocqueville claims it would be a mistake to think that democracies end up compelling everyone to live in the same way: differences in education, fortune, and taste will always escape the power of equality of condition. Indeed, Americans prefer to divide up into many small, separate circles, whereas in aristocratic nations the different classes are vast, though they never mingle. Democracies will always thus include many small, private associations, none of which can be compared to the aristocratic “class.”
Tocqueville’s main point here is that America’s equality of condition actually ends up promoting the creation of many small, minor groups and associations. It’s in an aristocracy that people are more likely to experience a similar way of life with many other people (that is, the members of one’s class).
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