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Whereas, Alexis de Tocqueville offers his perspective on America as an outside observer, the literary genius James Fenimore Cooper offers his assessment of culture, politics and society in 19th century America. He doesn't hold democracy to be sacrosanct like we do today, but rather like any other system of government with its advantages and disadvantages. His look at the nature of liberty and its relation with equality is particularly intriguing. He is cognizant of the dangers posed to American self-government, which values legal equality. Equality, is a virtue, only insofar as it pertains to equal rights and equality before the law. Any effort at establishing equality of outcome is tantamount to tyranny and opposed to liberty. Cooper illustrates the precarious relationship between liberty and equality. Unless, tradition, custom, the rule of law and the Constitution are revered and upheld- the American Polity could easily collapse into majoritarian tyranny under a demagogue. One gains an appreciation of the system of government established by the American founding fathers after reading this book... They established a constitutionally-limited federal republic, with limits not only on the power of government, but with limits placed on the power of majority rule, so as to limit the fundamental role of government to protecting the rights of its citizens. This constitutional republic sought to balance out monarchial, democratic, and aristocratic elements...
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