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Tocqueville's Democracy In America Essay

928 words - 4 pages

Alexis de Tocqueville?s novel Democracy in America touched on many topics having to do with democracy, not in the United States, but also in his home of France, as well as England. His views were established during his stay in the United States. Tocqueville made a number of references about the political activity in the United States. He did this ranging from the courts to the executive branch. Henry David Thoreau touched on many of the same topics as Tocqueville. They both believe in the motto of that government is best which governs least. In all honesty, I also agree with that saying. For a government that has less control of the people, leaves the individual feeling much more independent, as we were meant to be. Thoreau?s Civil Disobedience focuses on the negative aspect of the government. He talks of the importance of the individual in society. In my opinion, government is necessary, but not needed as much as it is perceived to be. What is needed are laws, not just those natural laws; but those that keep the majority of society as honest as possible.The government has the power to be abused by those that run it, before the people are able to act through it. According to Thoreau the rule of government places constraints upon the individual?s rights. Thoreau feels that government shows how easy it is for men to be ruled successfully, even by themselves. There have been a number of incidents in the history of the United States where the government has come in the way of the individual. Thoreau feels as though there is no need for government and laws. This is because the federal government is ruled by the elite majority, and is not based upon justice. Thoreau was very adamant about his beliefs about the government taking away the rights of the individual. He feels that we will not be truly free with government ruling as it has been.?There will never be a really free and enlightened state until the state comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly.? (Thoreau, Civil Disobedience) This is due to the fact that the government does not always recognize the individual as being human. Those that run the government look at those that they govern as subjects.Thoreau looks at the government and its laws as the majority forcing their rules upon individuals who were not meant to be governed in that manner. We were placed on this Earth with natural laws, and the laws of man are not necessary. He has been stated as saying that he "was not born to be forced." That is what those laws that are placed upon individuals...

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