Summary Of Tocqueville

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Tocqueville

The Danger of a Non-Violent Oppressor

According to Tocqueville there is so little freedom of thought and debate in America, because the majority controls the minds and actions of the entire population. Unlike in an absolute monarchy, the American majority ideals penetrate the morals of each individual causing them to not want to behave outside of the norm. Americans refrain from expressing different ideas because they fear ostracism - in this system, even when people agree with the minority, they avoid associating themselves with it for fear of exclusion from society - thus the minority does not grow. The majority has so much influence because they make up every section of the government and exert their power by infiltrating
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Morality is inherent in mankind, whereas justice is created to conform to the beliefs of the people. The majority decides what is right or wrong until it creates a justice system to govern morality based on the foundation of justice they created. As Tocqueville states in Democracy in America, “there exists a general law which has been made, or at least adopted, not only by the majority of this or that people but by the majority of men. This law is justice” (107). From the influence of the decided upon morality- Americans went on to construct their way of judging morality - people blindly follow this system because Americans have been lead to believe the system of justice we have actually does judge morality and thus disagreeing with this the system is challenging morality. Arguing morality is an offense in itself because people strongly believe in the binary of morality. Again, justice is a human construct in this case because what is just or not is decided solely by the majority - a group that creates the very morals of those within it by allowing them to feel heard and while constricting the thought of those who oppose by making them feel other than. Americans created their legal system based on their other creation - …show more content…
Tocqueville claims that to be unlawful, one is opposing the majority’s idea of justice not real morality. Real morality and justice are inherent in humankind whereas what governs America is constructed by humans (107). Because Americans feel they have played a role in the refinement of the laws, they feel represented - thus they actually believe in the laws. This is dangerous because when everyone enforces the laws (not just the government's appointed justice keepers) everyone is forced into believing them - no one can think outside morality without being condemned for disagreeing with a government they are supposedly represented by. The idealization of the American government by the people within, forces people to agree with them because to disagree would be to disagree with the majority and the majority has the power to ostracize them. Fear of exclusion from society inhibits the desire to be a nonconforming individual

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