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Democracy in America (Hackett Classics)

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ISBN-13: 978-0872204942
ISBN-10: 0872204944
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Plutocracy in America by Ronald P. Formisano
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Editorial Reviews

Review

A handy paperback edition offered primarily to teachers and students who can make no pretense of reading the entirety of the large work, but who want to sample some of its chief delights. . . . [Grant gives us an] exemplary translation . . . marked above all by great accuracy and fidelity to Tocqueville's text. . . . Kessler's editor's Introduction is a model introduction to a classic text for today’s students. It is clearly written, compact (without being too short or dense), and nicely structured. . . . A tour--and translation--well worth the price of admission. --Paul Seaton, Perspectives on Political Science



A fine piece of work. Kessler has presented one of the best summaries of Tocqueville's thought that I know of. The translation represents a clear improvement over both the Bradley translation and the Lawrence translation. In numerous cases, Grant has provided extremely useful notes covering the range of meanings and historical background of important concepts. Anyone teaching a course calling for selections from Tocqueville cannot do better than this volume. --Christopher Kelly, Boston College



This is an excellent product--a major improvement over the other available versions. I will use it when I teach Tocqueville. --Donald T. Maletz, University of Oklahoma

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hackett Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872204944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872204942
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "klfj" on March 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Toqueville's work unquestionably will last for as long as human nature remains the same. Certainly, it is diverting to read accounts about the topography and anachronistically idiosyncratic habits of the inhabitants of America over a century ago; the fundamental value of his work, however, lies in his acute understanding of human nature that does not change throughout time. I must, however, qualify this statement, since there is only one Book, the author of which I am in utter agreement. One part of his book I disagree with concerns the ways of ending slavery. It was not nearly as dangerously problematic as he thinks, since most Western nations that had had slavery peacefully eradicated it, and America could have done so by several means. (One way, although a distinct compromise, could have been for philanthropists, abolitionists, and/ or government to requite the slave owners their money and thereby instantly free those enslaved.) Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with much of the work, and think that more than most writers on the American polity, he truly perceives how certain tendencies of human nature are revealed in this particular society founded upon practical wisdom, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and faith. Many of his disquisitions on these tendencies that could be accentuated in American democracy are now more thought-provoking than ever. One prominent example is his understanding of an issue fundamental to Americans. He famously shows how they are pragmatically intent upon getting things done by combining in 'societies.' A problem could occur if ever the citizens in general become selfish and much less self-reliant: 'individualism' could arise. He articulates a bleak portrait of a society in which none care to take personal responsibility, but are willing to sacrifice freedom for temporary security. This is disquieting for modern society, and it would be well were more people to read his work and learn from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ghosh on November 9, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If all of Europe and especially France thought like Tosqueville, perhaps the whole continent of Europe would discover something nice about America. It makes mistakes but the country also rectifies them, and America has the big capacity to absorb and bounce back too. This is a good book and could be easily read in installents.
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By KLN on June 16, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The stuggles of our founding fathers and their political views are features of this interesting review of democracy in America. Little would they believe where thei wrork has taken this nation.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "klfj" on March 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
Toqueville's work unquestionably will last for as long as human nature remains the same. Certainly, it is diverting to read accounts about the topography and anachronistically idiosyncratic habits of the inhabitants of America over a century ago; the fundamental value of his work, however, lies in his acute understanding of human nature that does not change throughout time. I must, however, qualify this statement, since there is only one Book, the author of which I am in utter agreement. One part of his book I disagree with concerns the ways of ending slavery. It was not nearly as dangerously problematic as he thinks, since most Western nations that had had slavery peacefully eradicated it, and America could have done so by several means. (One way, although a distinct compromise, could have been for philanthropists, abolitionists, and/ or government to requite the slave owners their money and thereby instantly free those enslaved.) Having said that, I wholeheartedly agree with much of the work, and think that more than most writers on the American polity, he truly perceives how certain tendencies of human nature are revealed in this particular society founded upon practical wisdom, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and faith. Many of his disquisitions on these tendencies that could be accentuated in American democracy are now more thought-provoking than ever. One prominent example is his understanding of an issue fundamental to Americans. He famously shows how they are pragmatically intent upon getting things done by combining in 'societies.' A problem could occur if ever the citizens in general become selfish and much less self-reliant: 'individualism' could arise. He articulates a bleak portrait of a society in which none care to take personal responsibility, but are willing to sacrifice freedom for temporary security. This is disquieting for modern society, and it would be well were more people to read his work and learn from it.
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