By Alexis de Tocqueville
during this penetrating research, Alexis de Tocqueville considers the French Revolution within the context of France?s background. de Tocqueville fearful that even though the progressive spirit was once nonetheless alive and good, liberty was once not its fundamental aim. simply because the first Republic had fallen to Napoleon and the second one had succumbed to his nephew Napoleon III, he feared that every one destiny revolutions could event an analogous destiny, without end imperiling the improvement of democracy in France.
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Extra info for Ancien Regime and the French Revolution
This equality of status profoundly impressed Tocqueville. Not only did it become the main theme explored in his great book, Democracy in America (1835-40); it was, he thought, the key to modernity. To succeed, all political and social institutions would from now on have to adjust to it. For the rest of his life he was preoccupied with trying to understand it. In the drive towards equality he discerned the central characteristic and consequence of the French Revolution. The success of Democracy in America opened his way into politics, as he had hoped and planned: from 1839 to 1851 he sat in the parliaments of the July Monarchy and the Second Republic.
I have resisted the temptation to expand phrases and sentences beyond the style used by Tocqueville in order to render the broad meaning of the French. Tocqueville has a lucid and economic approach to language and I have aimed to reflect this in the idiom of the English I have adopted. Alexis de Tocqueville, although from an ancient aristocratic family, felt passionate about liberty and equality. It is no surprise that he had throughout his life been an acute observer of the political landscape which followed the French Revolution and a keen participant in the affairs of government.
He was close to it, yet failed to see it. Furthermore, by his actions he anticipated its ethos. He was a precursor and already, one could say, a promoter. He could not see what it was from the advance signs and, when it finally came into sight, the new and extraordinary features which were to mark it out from the host of countless previous revolutions at first eluded everyone’s notice. Abroad, the Revolution was the object of universal curiosity, everywhere evoking in the mind of nations a sort of indistinct idea that a new age was in the making and a vague hope for change and reform.
Ancien Regime and the French Revolution by Alexis de Tocqueville
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