This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Political Freedom: Arendt And De Tocqueville

1923 words - 8 pages

Political Freedom: Arendt and de Tocqueville
Freedom in America emanates from the state of political freedom held by the citizens. Both Hannah Arendt and Alexis de Tocqueville provide criticism of the apparent shape freedom maintains in America as well as insight regarding how they perceive true political freedom. By using the observations and criticisms of de Tocqueville and the vision of Arendt, the position of modern America and its relation to the ideals of political freedom can be understood.
It is necessary to understand de Tocqueville's observation of equality in order to make the distinction of democracy and how freedom relates to it. According to de Tocqueville, democracy requires an initial ingredient of civil equality. Civil equality is the absence of social divisions and barriers. The necessity of equality then leads to individuals and the deconstruction of community bonds. This occurs because the presence of community requires separate social classes and dependencies based on the class relations. De Tocqueville says, "…equality places men side by side, unconnected by any common tie…" (de Tocqueville 194). Individuals' needs and desires in society evolve into individualism and the further pursuit of one's self-interest. Political liberties and freedoms are thus sacrificed in attempts to satisfy the private appetite for personal gains. De Tocqueville maintains that,
Selfishness blights the germ of all virtue; individualism, at first, only saps the virtue of public life; but, in the long run, it attacks and destroys all others, and is at length absorbed in downright selfishness.
(De Tocqueville 193)
Such selfish disassociation from society equates to tyranny of the majority under the despotic rule of centralized government because citizens no longer find reason or a feeling of responsibility in terms of a public realm that offers no direct personal reward. The collapse of public responsibilities is rooted in the growth of private desires.
Alexis de Tocqueville takes democracy down a miserable path where citizens become divided and governments become despotic and centralized. The morals of society collapse, connections dissolve between citizens, and "freedom produces private animosities, but despotism gives birth to general indifference" (de Tocqueville 195). Democracy in America does not end in despotic centralization; it concludes with the realization of the need for political freedom and the insinuation of power into the citizens through associations. "In order to combat the evils which equality may produce, there is only one effectual remedy, --namely, political freedom (de Tocqueville 197). Political salvation in America does not seep from the national government, nor does it fester within the states themselves. De Tocqueville recognizes associations, which are the political forces beyond the sphere of institutional government, as the necessary means of...

Find Another Essay On Political Freedom: Arendt and de Tocqueville

Literary and Political Appropriations of Eça de Queirós’s Work: a Contribution to the Study of Portuguese Literary Canon

1066 words - 4 pages Over the past century Eça de Queirós has become part of the Portuguese literary canon. Whatever the perspective we take into account, Eça comes across as one of the most celebrated and discussed writers of Portuguese language. As early as the late nineteenth century (with the first Spanish translations of his writings ), Eça’s work has been the object of a comparatively large and enthusiastic reception abroad, on a par only with Camões, Pessoa

Democracy in America Essay

1294 words - 5 pages ” (Tocqueville 169). Equality has been basically large in the legal and political organizations and the influence of the majority have also brought some consequences in the political structure. Even though the Americans have been able to have freedom of expression, due to the equality of the majority, this liberty has become restricted into more as a communal expression. For example, Tocqueville argue that “the majority raises very formidable

Rhetorical Strategies of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America

992 words - 4 pages Ever since he was born, Tocqueville had been exposed to politics and government. His father was the mayor of Verneuil, which was where much of Tocqueville's childhood was spent. As he grew up he took courses in law, which eventually aided him in writing Democracy in America. While on official business to view the American penal system, Tocqueville got his first taste of democracy. When the twenty eight year old de Tocqueville returned to France

On Revolution

1419 words - 6 pages behind the political participation in seizing and controlling the flow of the money.  Arendt’s theory of revolution: She is very critical of Marx and Marxism theory of revolution. Arendt happens to be critical about the liberal model of revolution too. Revolutions are not only about constraining the power of the monarchy. She believes there is more to it. In liberalism, its about creating a space of freedom, a vast space of freedom to pursue our own

Free Political Associations in Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America"

956 words - 4 pages Alexis de Tocqueville holds political associations, an important part of any political party, responsible for many of the decisions that they make. Political associations undoubtedly influence parties in a multitude of ways. The long arm of many political associations reaches to alter or remove current legislation, and sometimes works to pass new legislation. More often than not, political associations are successful in achieving the lofty goals

Alexis deTocqueville

3390 words - 14 pages is hardly hopeful, and is quite grim at times. He was a believer that nature dissociates men, at least in their civil capacities, and that it encourages them to think only of themselves. As varied as the colours of the earth, the interpretations of de Tocqueville, and his political ideas have ranged an immeasurable spectrum. Clearly, he was very concerned with the possibility of a new, “soft” despotism arising from unlimited democracy. He


1100 words - 4 pages their neighbors, their equals. When on occasion, they are called upon to make a vote for their new representatives in this government, a vote that provides satisfaction and confidence in their voice in politics. Upon which, they return to their everyday lives feeling that they are the ones in control of their government. De Tocqueville worries that this love for equality is that which could possibly threaten the freedom of the individual citizens

Analysing the Common Conception that Power Requires Violence and Viceversa

2561 words - 11 pages heavily by the current events of her time, of the on-going Cold War. Arendt believed that this ongoing nuclear stand-off serves to show how violence and the threat of violence has changed dramatically in comparison to the times when Marx and Weber were writing. Due to technological developments she states that “violence has now reached the point where no political goal could conceivably correspond to their destructive potential or justify their actual

Equality vs The Tyranny of Majority

3673 words - 15 pages “Tyranny of Majority” is a phenomenon in a democratic society where decisions are made by the majority group and the decision oppresses the minority group, comparable to that of tyrants. The term was first used by John Adams in 1781. It was later popularized by Alexis de Tocqueville in his book: Democracy in America; and further spread by John Stuart Mill. In their works, both Mill and Tocqueville are concerned about the existence of the

Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future Chapter 3 Discussed.

2643 words - 11 pages Name: Annemarie CreutzbergStudent number: 10573845Course: FPS 410Assignment: 4Hannah ArendtBetween Past and Future - Chapter 3What is Authority?IIntroductionIn this first chapter Arendt starts by saying that the title of this chapter is incorrect as it should be 'What was authority?' She says this because she believes that authority has disappeared from the modern world, due to the rise of political movements that wanted to replace the party

DeTocqueville and Mill, and the tyranny of the majority

991 words - 4 pages political philosophers. Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill existed among those most apprehensive of the democratic experiment. To each of these men, democracy certainly possessed certain positive attributes, but at the same time, represented a potential threat to the individual freedoms of man, through a much feared 'tyranny of the majority'.De Tocqueville and Mill both cite the possible oppression of minority groups as a significant

Similar Essays

Legally Blonde 2 And De Tocqueville

1867 words - 7 pages be ruled by ‘politics as usual’. The idea of ‘politics as usual’ defies De Tocqueville idea of popular sovereignty, which argues that people should rule themselves. The movie grapples between modern political practices of doing noting and one inspirational leader who comes from the majority to change the law for the better. When Elle gets to work in congresswoman Victoria Rudd’s office one of her colleagues, Rina, really wants to get on the

Freedom And Equality In The Comparison Of Political Systems

2490 words - 10 pages Freedom and Equality in the Comparison of Political Systems ABSTRACT: The notions of freedom and equality in a group are precisely defined in terms of individual exertions of influence or power. Freedom is discussed in the version ‘freedom from’ influence rather than in the version ‘freedom to do’ what one wants. It is shown that at the ideal conceptual level complete freedom implies equality. Given the plausibility of the definitions this

Political Life And Man’s Ultimate End: Reading The De Regno Of St. Thomas Aquinas

1476 words - 6 pages St. Thomas’ purpose in writing the De Regno is to provide practical guidance for a Christian king on how it is that he ought to conduct his proper authority. The king, imitating God, is to lead those subject to him to their proper end, and this will be nothing other than communal virtue. This instantiation of the practice of citizen-wide virtue is the intrinsic finality belonging to political society, and for St. Thomas, it is the genuine

Explore The Relationship Between Political Liberalism And The Concept Of ‘Freedom Of Press’. Critically Evaluate How It Is Applied Both In The Pri

946 words - 4 pages “Liberalism is an ideology based on the commitment to individualism, freedom, toleration and consent”. There are two types of liberalism; classical liberalism and modern liberalism. Classical liberalism is an extreme form of individualism. People are seen as egotistical and self-reliant. Classical liberalists are proprietors of themselves and their abilities who believe they own nothing to society or others. This suggests that there is an