Democracy in America by Alexis

Americas constitution allowed for freedom of religion, which made religion centrally important in the lives of Americans in a way that it was often not given the state-enforced place of religion in Europe. Religions were diverse and thus a divisive force between citizens. Americans dream of home ownership and Americas status as the most religious nation on earth, underlines the importance of property and home ownership and the vital, personal importance of religion — from Protestant evangelicalism to the self-help movement in the nation that still exists today. Capitalist land ownership, choice and independence, freedom from government-imposed rules were values celebrated in America even in Tocquevilles era.

The importance of a rule of law in a society without tradition makes lawyers especially powerful, observed Tocqueville. It is hard not to think of modern lawyer jokes, when Tocqueville notes: “The French lawyer is simply a man extensively acquainted with the statutes of his country; but the English or American lawyer resembles the hierophants of Egypt, for like them he is the sole interpreter of an occult science” (I.16).

However, this means that Americans can use the law to serve their own ends with a lawyer, in contrast to nations where the law is less important than the will of the sovereign.

Beyond formal institutional and political structures, one of the greatest differences between America and Tocquevilles own nation was that of the importance of individualism. Tocquevilles America is a frontier society, characterized by rough, hewn-hearty men and rough individualism. “The citizen of the United States is taught from infancy to rely upon his own exertions in order to resist the evils and the difficulties of life; he looks upon.


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