Tocqueville’s Blind Spots
THE SOURCE: “Tocqueville and America” by James Q. Wilson, in The Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2012.
Alexis de Tocqueville literally wrote the book on the Unites States. Democracy in America (1835–1840), informed by his wide-ranging nine-month visit to the country, is generally recognized as one of the classic studies of American political culture.
But Tocqueville was only human, and Democracy in America is still just a book. For all its insight, writes the late political scientist James Q. Wilson, the French nobleman’s magnum opus “left a bit to be desired.”
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