Imagine a clown. The clown is juggling three balls-- a red one, a blue one, and a white one. Suddenly, one ball drops. Only two balls are thrown into the air. The audience murmurs and the clown gets nervous. The audience has seen people juggling two balls; it is nothing amazing. Some people become disinterested and get up and leave. The clown loses its support from the audience. Then, a second ball drops and only one ball is being tossed up into the air. It is not considered juggling. Anybody could do that if they wanted to. The crowd slowly disseminates. Finally, the last ball drops. The ball continues rolling until friction brings it to a stop. Nobody is watching anymore. The clown fails its purpose.
Similar to the clown juggling, America is “juggling” three balls: government, religion, and individual. The goal of America, like a clown, is to keep the three balls in the air. If America did not, then it is unsuccessful. In the nineteenth century, according to Alexis de Tocqueville and Washington Irving, the American identity is of prosperity and an equal society because of America’s middle-class society, location and geography, and the balance between government, religion and individuals.
First, America is a middle-class nation. In a middle-class nation like America, individuals are not poor enough to believe they had no chance of surviving and envies others (Tocqueville, 617) and they are not rich enough to have too much money and possessions to form a hatred for possessions like aristocracies (Tocqueville, 617). The men are between the two extremes, rich and poor, in that they are considered middle-class. Middle-class is a suitable life, but is never completely satisfying and never completely dissatisfying. It is a life people could live comfortably. However, a middle-class society creates a “passion for material prosperity” (Tocqueville, 617). A middle-class society is working well for America because it helps America prosper and become an equal society. Nobody is jealous of another and they work together to make the nation a better place.
In addition, America is an equal and prosperous society because of the location and geography of America. The shores are “ready for commerce and industry” (Tocqueville, 36), and the “inexhaustible Mississippi River” (Tocqueville, 36) made an “empty cradle of a great nation” (Tocqueville, 36). The nation that fills the cradle is America. America is located in a separate continent, over the seas, from Europe and Asia. America’s location allows the nation to thrive by itself without any danger. There is enough land for everybody to make a profit. Hence, no one is poor and everybody is equal. It is “a land of wonders” (Tocqueville, 475). America has “good fortune” (Tocqueville, 471) surrounded by “wilderness” (Tocqueville, 471) and far away from the main civilizations like Europe. Hence, industry grew freely, which allows a man by himself to create wonders (Tocqueville, 206). In addition, America owes much of...