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View of America

Alexis de Tocqueville was a citizen of France, sent

to observe American prisons, by the French
government in the 1830s. While in America, he
began a journal, commenting on the
exceptionalism of America and its citizens.
He focused on five characteristics: Liberty,
Equality, Individualism, Popular Sovereignty, and
Laissez Faire.
Our class assignment was to select an era of
American History, after the Civil War, and look at
through de Tocquevilles eyes.
ERA 1960s
I selected this era because it is an age of
rebellion while also an age of peace. This era
was different than any other era before, they
spoke out against war, dressed different, and
had a new culture.
According to de Tocqueville, Liberty meant
freedom from arbitrary government control
and protection against a tyrannical
Liberty in the 1960s meant being able to
express themselves freely and still having

According to de Tocqueville, Equality meant
that America had no permanent class
structures, people were free to own land and
move up and down in society
Equality in the 1960s meant blacks and
minorities having the same rights as white
According to de Tocqueville, Individualism
meant that Americans were free to flourish
without hereditary distinctions
Individualism in the 1960s meant Americans
were able to express there themselves
without criticism or concerns of others
Popular Sovereignty
According to de Tocqueville, Popular
Sovereignty mean everyone was equal and
had the right to participate in political life
Popular Sovereignty in the 1960s meant that
every had a say in the current activities.
People were free to express themselves about
the war going on.
Laissez Faire
According to de Tocqueville, Laissez Faire
meant that the government had a hands off
approach to the economy
Laissez Faire in the 1960s meant that more
people wanted a stronger hands off policy, the
wanted more peace.
De Tocqueville Quote:
Two things in America are
astonishing: The
changeableness of the most
human behavior and the
strange stability of certain
principles. Men are
constantly on the move, but
the spirit of humanity
seems almost unmoved.
Alexis de Tocqueville
I believe that de Tocqueville
is trying to say that no
matter how much physically
changes in America, the
principles that were
founded here will never
change. People are
constantly on the move, but
will always know their rights
and their beliefs.
My Thoughts on de Tocquevilles views
Alexis de Tocqueville had a very prestigious view
of America. All of his views were specifically
based on what he white men had received. I think
he would still see our country as exceptional, I
think he would just see is as strange to see
minorities with equal rights. I think he would
almost be impressed to see how much America
has advanced in such little time. I dont think he
would see much has changed, except for whom
has received these freedoms and rights.