By Matthew Mancini
Complete in its chronology, the works it discusses, and the commentators it seriously examines, Alexis de Tocqueville and American Intellectuals tells the magnificent tale of Tocqueville's reception in American idea and tradition from the time of his 1831 stopover at to the U.S. to the flip of the twenty-first century.
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Additional info for Alexis de Tocqueville and American Intellectuals: From His Times to Ours (American Intellectual Culture)
Chevallier contended that Tocqueville’s texts were consistent with his political and moral values: the Algerian reports, they wrote, were ‘‘treated by the same expert and lucid pen’’ that composed Democracy in America. ’’25 This interpretation provoked a whirlwind of research by Melvin Richter culminating in one of the most important of all Tocqueville articles, published in the following year. ’’ Tocqueville seems indeed to have actively repressed his feelings about the violence that accompanied France’s actions in North Africa; and fearing lethargy in France itself, he also approved of war as a means of rousing the French citizenry to great thoughts and stirring actions.
Finally, Tocqueville was also brought into discussions in which he did not contribute to the analysis but was important because key concepts in political thought derived from his work. In 1962, the historian Richard Herr wrote a discerning study of Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution. He approached The Old Regime in Dantesque fashion as a text that could be interpreted at varying depths. Tocqueville’s description of the faltering society and government of the Old Regime, presented to the reader by means of the themes of centralization and an increasingly decorative aristocracy, are like waves on the surface of the sea, Herr wrote.
Richardson, Emerson: The Mind on Fire: A Biography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 453; the exhaustive research conducted by Merton M. , Melville’s Reading, rev. and enl. ed. (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1988), reveals no reference to Tocqueville; no record of either Tocqueville or Beaumont, including the Penitentiary System, appears in Marion L. Kesselring, Hawthorne’s Reading 1828–1850: A Transcription and Identiﬁcation of Titles Recorded in the Charge-books of the Salem Athenaeum (New York: New York Public Library, 1949).