This very short introduction allows the reader to understand the writings of Alex de Tocqueville most famously known for the two volume Democracy in America.
Tocqueville travelled for 9 months in America in 1831-32 with his great friend Gustave de Beaumont. The first volume of Democracy in America appeared in 1835. This volume was about the country of America and its virtues and faults and was rapturously received. The second volume published in 1840 and more about Tocqueville’s fears for the future of democracy didn’t register on the same scale as the first volume.
It’s fair to say Tocqueville appraised democracy in his work and only praised it when he saw it in action, notably in the townships of America.
Tocqueville also wrote about the revolutions in his home country of France. In The Old Regime, he argues that the 1789 – 95 revolution started in the society it was to destroy and that it was the work of the Old Regime of the French monarchy which set out deliberately but mostly unconsciously to destroy itself. Tocqueville argues this Revolution started in around 1439 or 1444 when Charles VII ordered a new tax without the consent of the nobility.
His other major work, Recollections, is an account of the 1848 revolution in France which Tocqueville witnessed and acted in. This revolution was a failure and shows what happens when citizens are inspired by philosophers.