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ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE,
OF DEPUTIES, ETC., ETC.
TRANSLATED BY HENRY REEVES, ESQ.
WITH AN ORIGINAL PREFACE AND NOTES BY
JOHN C. SPENCER,
COUNSELLOR AT LAW.
TWO VOLUMES IN ONE.'
No. 51 JOHN-STREET.
The Americans live in a democratic state of society which has naturally suggested to them certain laws and a certain political character. This same state of society has, moreover, engendered among them a multitude of feelings and opinions which were unknown among the elder aristocratic communities of Europe: it has destroyed or modified all the relations which before existed, and established others of a novel kind. The aspect of civil society has been no less affected by these changes than that of the political world. The former subject has been treated of in the work on the Democracy of America, which I published five years ago; to examine the latter is the object of the present book; but these two parts complete each other, and form one and the same work.
I must at once warn the reader against an error, which would be ex. tremely prejudicial to me. When he finds that I attribute so many different consequences to the principle of equality, he may thence infer that I consider that principle to be the sole cause of all that takes place in the present age: but this would be to impute to me a very narrow view. A multitude of opinions, feelings, and propensities are now in existence, which owe their origin to circumstances unconnected with or even contrary to the principle of equality. Thus if I were to select the United States as an example, I could easily prove that the nature of the country, the origin of its inhabitants, the religion of its founders, their acquired knowledge and their former habits, have exercised, and still exercise, independently of Democracy, a vast influence upon the thoughts and feelings of that people. Different causes, but no less distinct from the circumstance of the equality of con ditions, might be traced in Europe, and would explain a great portion of the occurrences taking place among us.
I acknowledge the existence of all these different causes, and their power, but my subject does not lead me to treat of them. I have not undertaken to unfold the reason of all our inclinations and all our notions: my only object is to show in what respects the principle of equality has modified both the former and the latter.
Some readers may perhaps be astonished that, firmly persuaded as I am hat the democratic revolution which we are witnessing is an irresistible
fact against which it would be neither desirable nor wise lo struggle, I should often have had occasion in this book to address language of such severity to those democratic communities which this revolution has brought into being. My answer is simply, that it is because I am not an adversary of Democracy, that I have sought to speak of Democracy in all sincerity.
Men will not accept truth at the hands of their enemies, and truth is seldom offered to them by their friends : for this reason I have spoken it. I was persuaded that many would take upon themseives to announce the new blessings which the principle of equality promises to mankind, but that few would dare to point out from afar the dangers with which it threatens them. To those perils therefore I have turned my chief attention, and believing that I had discovered them clearly, I have not had the cowardice to leave them untold.
I trust that my readers will find in this Second Part that in partiality which seems to have been remarked in the former volume. Placed as I am in the midst of the conflicting opinions between which we are divided, I have endeavoured to suppress within me for a time the favourable sympathies or the adverse emotions with which each of them inspires me. If those who read this book can find a single sentence intended to flatter any of the great parties which have agitated my country, or any of those petty factions which now harass and weaken it, let such readers raise their voices to accuse me.
The subject I have sought to embrace is immense, for it includes the greater part of the feelings and opinions to which the new state of society has given birth. Such a subject is doubtless above my strength, and in treating it I have not succeeded in satisfying myself. But, if I have not been able to reach the goal which I had in view, my readers will at least do me the justice to acknowledge that I have conceived and followed up my undertaking in a spirit not unworthy of success.
PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
The following work of M. DE TOCQUEVILLE has attracted great attention throughout Europe, where it is universally regarded as a sound, philosophical, impartial, and remarkably clear and distinct view of our political institutions, and of our manners, opin. ions, and liabits, as influencing or influenced by those institutions. Writers, reviewers, and statesmen of all parties, have united in the highest commendations of its ability and integrity. The peo. ple, described by a work of such a character, should not be the only one in Christendom unacquainted with its contents. At least, so thought inany of our most distinguished men, who have urged the publishers of this edition to reprint the work, and present it to the American public. They have done so in the hope of promoting among their countrymen a more thorough knowledge of their frames of government, and a more just appreciation of the great principles on which they are founded.
But it seemed to them that a reprint in America of the views of an author so well entitled to regard and confidence, without any correction of the few errors or mistakes that might be found, would be in effect to give authenticity to the whole work, and that foreign readers, especially, would consider silence, under such circumstances, as strong evidence of the accuracy of its statements. The preface to the English edition, too, was not adapted to this country, having been written, as it would seem, in reference to the political questions which agitate Great Britain. The publishers, therefore, applied to the writer of this, to furnisb