DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA. Translated by Henry Reeve Esq. With an Introductory Notice by the Translator.

(London: Longman, Greene, Longman and Roberts, 1862).

"One of the most important texts of political literature" (PMM). Tocqueville travelled to America to examine prisons and penitentiaries in this country, and upon his return he wrote DE LA DEMOCRATIE, the first book of reasoned politics on democratic government in America, which made his reputation. The book established many of the fundamental concepts of sociology. De Tocqueville's articulation and application of the concepts of power, social stratification, industrialism and mass culture in particular provided the theoretical framework for their more detailed treatment at the end of the century by Weber, Simmel, Tönnies, Burckhardt, Michels, Acton, Taine and Le Play.
Harold J. Laski calls Democracy in America “perhaps. . . the greatest work ever written on one country by the citizen of another.” The book grew out of a trip to the United States De Tocqueville took as an assistant magistrate, with Gustave de Beaumont, in order to study the American penitentiary system for France. From New York City they travelled as far east as Boston, as far west as Green Bay, as far north as Sault Ste. Marie and Quebec, and as far south as New Orleans. Their analysis was published in 1833, and immediatly afterward Tocqueville began to write the work by which he is best remembered.
The book treats specific aspects of government and politics, including the principal of popular sovereignty, the nature of the states and local government, judicial power, the American Constitution, political parties, freedom of the press, suffrage, the role of the majority and the methods used to ensure against its tyranny, and the present and possible future of the three races making up the population--whites, blacks, and the indigenous peoples. There is also a discussion of the difficulties inhibiting the creation of an aristocracy, and an analysis of the causes of prosperity. The second part was published in the following year.
DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA "remains the best philosophical discussion of democracy, illustrated by the experience of the United States, up to the time when it was written, which can be found in any language. More than this is true. Notwithstanding the changes which have occurred in the material and social circumstances of the United States during the last sixty years [written in 1898], the consequent elimination of certain factors in the civilization of this country, and the introduction of new and unforeseen problems,--notwithstanding all this, the student of modern popular government must revert to Tocqueville....When his work appeared, democracy was to some an 'ideal,' a 'brilliant dream;' to others, 'ruin, anarchy, robbery, murder.' De Tocqueville wished to lessen the fears of the latter, the ardor of the former class. He treats Democracy as a fact" (Daniel Gilman, in his introduction to the 1898 edition, quoted by Larned 2807). De Tocqueville's conclusions about the system of government chosen by the young nation, and the implications of that choice, have been reexamined by each succeeding generation since it was originally published. Item #70114

First Edition of the new revision and of the introduction. First Thus. Tall 8vo, publisher’s original purple cloth gilt lettered on the spine, with triple gilt fillet rules on the covers. lxiv, 522, [2]; xvi, 432, 24 ads pp. A very pleasing and very handsome set and an especially well preserved copy in the original cloth, as very fine. The spines are only very slightly mellowed, highly unusual for the susceptible purple in the cloth. VERY RARE IN SUCH FINE CONDITION.

Price: $3,500.00