Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-a-Thon: 2:00 p.m. (Update #2)

The introduction to Alex de Tocqueville's Democracy in America was a breath of fresh air after the convoluted Renaissance English of Thomas Nashe.

According to Tocqueville, all of Western history has been progressing steadily towards greater social and political equality. Once that spark was ignited, all advances in the arts, literature, science, and politics have further impelled its momentum. It is the great wave of history, frightening in its force and unpredictability. Though disheartened by what he perceives to be intellectual confusion around him in Europe, as no one seems to know what to make of democracy's ongoing march, Tocqueville trusts God's plan and is assured of its outcome. He foresees a society with less drama but with more contentment. Less highs and lows and more happy mediums. But for now, Europe is in painful flux and everything is up in the air. "Positioned as we are in the middle of a rapid stream, we stare fixedly at a few ruins we can still see on the shore as the current drags us away backwards to the abyss." A new age, he concludes, desperately needs "a new political science," since the old ways of thought no longer fit.

Tocqueville does not want to praise the new United States as the perfect society or perfect government. The purpose of Democracy in America is to explore how American democracy functions, its cultural effects, and what Europeans can learn from it.

8 comments:

softdrink said...

1, 2, 3, 4
Hope your book isn’t a bore
5, 6, 7, 8
Now go read some more

Eva said...

You're done with the first third of the read-a-thon!! I hope you're still enjoying yourself! Keep it up! :D

I love Tocqueville! I even wrote a paper on him for a college class. :)

rhapsodyinbooks said...

What fun to read such an intellectually stimulating book for the readathon! Good luck with it and onto the next!

Diane said...

You are doing great. I got a little thrown off schedule this am, but I’m back on track now. Keep up the good work!

I will surely need a nap a bit later unless, I walk around the house constantly until I fall over from exhaustion...LOL

alitareads said...

Happy Read-a-Thon day! Can you believe we're already more than a third done? Have fun today and enjoy the wonderful books you have lined up :)

Linda said...

Wow, Democracy In America. Doing great!

Kara said...

just keep reading,
just keep reading,
just keep reading reading reading,
what do we do we read read,

Oh ho ho ho i love to read
when you want to read, you want to read.

(Sung to the tune of Dory's Just Keep Swimming from Finding Nemo)

E. L. Fay said...

Thanks everyone!

Softdrink and Kara: love the rhymes people are coming up with!

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