Virtues Of Democracy By Tocqueville

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The Virtues and Vices of Democratic Governments According to Tocqueville

Democracy in America was written by Tocqueville to see how such a stable and prosperous democracy as America worked and to see why
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The same applies to ‘voting rights’: “The government of a democracy brings the notion of political rights to the level of the humblest citizens, just as the dissemination of wealth brings the notion of property within the reach of all men.”[6] Tocqueville goes on to say that this is one of the greatest advantages of democracy because it results in the movement towards democracy being accompanied by an equality of conditions for each citizen.

The last major virtue of democracy that Tocqueville flags up is that it encourages a respect for law. “Those who wish to attack the laws must consequently either change the opinion of the nation or trample upon its decision.”[7] By giving authority to the elected leaders, the laws they create are legitimate and those who disagree with them must change them by the power of argument, not by the power of force or by virtue of being born into the ruling class. This does mean that the interests of all are not necessarily protected by the law and “in the United States, where the poor rule, the rich have always to fear
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Firstly, democracy encourages individualism: “Individualism is of democratic origin, and threatens to grow as conditions get more equal.”[10] Equality tends to make people’s interests focus in on themselves. Without the societal bonds/duties present as in aristocracy, people do not realise their dependence on each other. Secondly, democracy encourages materialism. The passion for equality results in citizens thinking that they ought to be able to have as much wealth as everyone else. Indirectly, materialism also comes from the philosophical tendency fostered by democracies to disdain lofty ideas or thoughts of eternity. Therefore, people may neglect to use their political freedom which may lead to people willingly abandoning freedom for benevolent despotism on the promise that this better provides and ensures an orderly society with material prosperity.

There are also institutional dangers present in democracy. With

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