The Images of Democracy: Tocqueville and American Exceptionalism

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Date

2016

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Gillespie, Michael
Spragens, Thomas

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Abstract

This thesis addresses how Alexis de Tocqueville’s political thought is related to American Exceptionalism. First, I illustrate the multiple meanings of the concept of American Exceptionalism and in what sense it is indebted to Tocqueville. Second, I articulate how the historical background and personal qualities of Tocqueville contribute to the success of his masterpiece Democracy in America. In the main part, by analyzing Tocqueville’s Democracy in America and other writings on America, I argue that he indeed reveals America as exceptional and increasingly recognizes this idea through a process of intellectual development. An elaboration on Tocqueville’s theoretical contribution to the discussion of American Exceptionalism can reveal the different images of modern democracy as he suggests and how they would influence the prospect of human freedom.

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Zhao, Kuangyu (2016). The Images of Democracy: Tocqueville and American Exceptionalism. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12316.

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