The primary focus of Democracy in America is an analysis of why republican representative democracy has succeeded in the United States when it failed in so many other places. Tocqueville also speculates on the future of democracy in the United States, discussing both possible threats to democracy and possible dangers of democracy, including his belief that democracy has a tendency to degenerate into what he calls ''mild despotism.'' He also observed that the strong role religion played in the United States was due to its separation from the government, a separation all parties found agreeable. Translated by Henry Reeve
y of the undertaking increase admiration for the remarkable ability with which the task was performed.
Were literary excellence the sole claim of "Democracy in America" to distinction, the splendor of its composition alone would entitle it to high place among the masterpieces of the century. The first chapter, upon the exterior form of North America, as the theatre upon which the great drama is to be enacted, for graphic and picturesque description of the physical characteristics of the continent is not surpassed in literature: nor is there any subdivision of the work in which the severest philosophy is not invested with the grace of poetry, and the driest statistics with the charm of romance. Western emigration seemed commonplace and prosaic till M. de Tocqueville said, "This gradual and continuous progress of the European race toward the Rocky Mountains has the solemnity of a providential event; it is like a deluge of men rising unabatedly, and daily driven onward by the hand of God!"
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