Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy in America: Volumes One and Two

February, 2012
Library of America

Recently re-issued with a brand new introduction by Professor Olivier Zunz.

Volume One of De la démocratie en Amérique was published in Paris in January 1835, the first fruit of Alexis de Tocqueville’s extraordinary nine-month tour of the fledgling United States and, with its companion volume, arguably the most perceptive and influential book ever written about American politics and society. Introduced by historian Olivier Zunz and presented with a fidelity to the author’s style and meaning unequalled in any previous edition, here is Tocqueville’s vivid description of the “equality of conditions” he encountered in America and his brilliant assessment of its implications for government, civic association, property ownership, and race relations in the young nation.

First published in 1840, Volume Two of Alexis de Tocqueville’s De la démocratie en Amérique—arguably the most perceptive and influential book ever written about American politics and society—extends the insights of the first volume in describing the general features of democratic societies. Introduced by historian Olivier Zunz, here is Tocqueville’s brilliant panoptic portrait of the American mentalité: its fierce individualism, its inventive language, its pragmatic materialism, and its pervasive religiosity. Goldhammer’s masterful text, awarded the 2004 French-American Foundation Translation Prize, renders Tocqueville’s classic with a fidelity to his style and meaning unparalleled in any previous version.

Corcoran Department of History
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