Democracy in America — Volume 1
Alexis de Tocqueville
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Out of Alex de Tocqueville's travels through the U.S. in the 1830's came an insightful study of a young democracy and its institutions. This edition presents Tocqueville's original text. Footnotes, bibliography. In 1831, the then twenty-seven year old Alexis de Tocqueville, was sent with Gustave de Beaumont to America by the French Government to study and make a report on the American prison system. Over a period of nine months the two traveled all over America making notes not only on the prison systems but on all aspects of American society and government.
This book gives great insight into what factors made the US so prosperous both before and after its founding as a nation. De Tocqueville's status as a foreigner gave him a perspective of the US that allowed him a much more objective and observant point if view than if he had been an American citizen born and raised in the country. My only complaint is that it gets a little repetitive from time to time but overall the thoroughness is preferable to brevity which this book is not. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in American history.