Tocqueville and American Civilization  book cover
2nd Edition

Tocqueville and American Civilization

Edited By

Samuel E. Wallace

ISBN 9781560007036
Published January 31, 1994 by Routledge
125 Pages

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Book Description

Not long after Max Lerner completed his comprehensive and influential study, America as a Civilization. he began work on a sustained analysis and assessment of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. The result, Tocqueville and American Civilization. ls a primer of Tocqueville's central concepts, as well as a detailed discussion of their meaning in the twentieth century. Originally published 1n 1966, Lerner's study ls a sweeping introduction to both Tocqueville's life and thought. Lerner devotes most of his attention to an exposition of the text. A meditative reading of Tocqueville's landmark work, its strengths and weaknesses. He ls especially adept at explaining Tocqueville's treatment of what he refers to as "master ideas." They include "the idea of democracy," "the idea of revolution." "the idea of a social style and character," and "the idea of history and God and man interacting with each other within the 'fatal circle' of necessity and freedom." Another important issue Lerner discusses ls the fragility of freedom, a concern he shared with Tocqueville. The new introduction by Robert Schmuhl traces the influence of Tocqueville on Lerner, showing how Democracy in America became an abiding point of reference in Lerner's thinking about the United States and the world at large. It was Tocqueville who drew Lerner's attention to the fusion of custom, law, and innovation that has become the hallmark of the American character. As a result, Tocqueville and American Civilization continues to be important for social and political theorists, historians, and scholars of American studies.