Detocqueville and mill and tyranny majority

Everybody knows this is not true. In America the authority exercised by the legislatures is supreme; nothing prevents them from accomplishing their wishes with celerity and with irresistible power, and they are supplied with new representatives every year.


So the conservatives and the liberals both outdo each other in pandering to the minority — whose demands become increasingly shrill, intolerant, and unreasonable.

They try to bargain with him. But if you define it in terms of a quota, they object. And finally, on the role of business and commerce, the founders were divided. Tocqueville wrote that he did not know of any country where there was "less independence of mind, and true freedom of discussion, than in America".

The theory of equality is thus applied to the intellects of men; and human pride is thus assailed in its last retreat by a doctrine which the minority hesitate to admit, and to which they will but slowly assent. The result is a more extensive debasement of character.

But if this tendency to harm the minority is the centrifugal force of democracy, there is an equal and opposite centripetal force that is less obvious: It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood.

The right of governing society, which the majority supposes itself to derive from its superior intelligence, was introduced into the United States by the first settlers; and this idea, which of itself would be sufficient to create a free nation, has now been amalgamated with the customs of the people and the minor incidents of social life.

It is to a legislature thus constituted that almost all the authority of the government has been entrusted. It seems like the ones who complain the most, who are the most obnoxious and inflexible, the ones who are the least civilized and most abrasive — actually run the show.

Their father was not a racist, and if the manager at the Italian restaurant is racist, the family should not patronize the restaurant any more. It may be one of the greatest books written about any country by someone outside of it. In my opinion, the main evil of the present democratic institutions of the United States does not arise, as is often asserted in Europe, from their weakness, but from their irresistible strength.

Her husband Ned, for obvious reasons, capitulates quickly. Every sort of compensation, even that of celebrity, is refused to him. This irresistible authority is a constant fact, and its judicious exercise is only an accident.

As befitted someone who emphasized the importance of passions, prejudices, and feelings as against rational self-interest, Tocqueville was profoundly pessimistic about race relations in the United States.

This only seems to make the situation worse.

Alexis de Tocqueville

It covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. There are some nations in Europe whose inhabitants think of themselves in a sense as colonists, indifferent to the fate of the place they live in.

The fear of anarchy perpetually haunts them, and they are always ready to fling away their freedom at the first disturbance. I HAVE already spoken of the natural defects of democratic insti- tutions; each one of them increases in the same ratio as the power of the majority.


Democracy, he believed, was the wave of the future. Nobody is now arguing for the bowling alley. The aristocratic part of society supports him in some countries, and the democracy in others. These institutional arrangements will do more to preserve liberty from the threats of a government than relying upon the customs and mores of the people.

In America certain improvements are prosecuted with much more zeal and activity than elsewhere; in Europe the same ends are promoted by much less social effort more continuously applied.Tyranny of the majority; References Further reading. Allen, Barbara.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Tocqueville, Covenant, and the Democratic Revolution: Harmonizing Earth with Heaven. The Social and Political Thought of Jacob Burckhardt, Johns Stuart Mill and Alexis de Tocqueville.

Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, ; Transaction, Kahan. Home Essays Tyranny of the Majority. Tyranny of the Majority. Topics: Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot, Cambodia Pages: 2 ( words) Published: May 28, Majority rule is the principle that the greater number should exercise greater power.

Tyranny of the majority

DeTocqueville and Mill, and the tyranny of the majority Essay. This year is the bicentennial of the birth of Alexis de Tocqueville, one of the most famous political commentators about America. Although not always a consistent thinker, he stands squarely in the classical liberal tradition of understanding the capacity of society to self organize in the absence of a controlling central state.

Threat of Tyranny of the Majority not Strong enough to "Temper" the Spirit of Democracy In the present political spectrum, democracy is essentially understood as both the most humane and effective means by which to govern a body politic.

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Tocqueville in America The grand journey, retraced and reimagined. the tyranny of the majority, the soft despotism of modern equality. In the end, his reviewer and correspondent John. Tyranny of the majority (or tyranny of the masses) refers to an inherent weakness of majority rule in which the majority of an electorate can and does place its own interests above, and at the expense of, those in the minority.

This results in oppression of minority groups comparable to that of a tyrant or despot, argued John Stuart Mill in his famous book On Liberty.

Detocqueville and mill and tyranny majority
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