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Jefferson and Tocqueville

Uploaded by ptaav on Oct 19, 2004

During the summer of 1776, the thirteen American colonies of Britain stood at the cusp of a curve that Tocqueville formalized almost seventy years later. The Declaration of Independence served as the defining moment in a long struggle between independence and privileged aristocratic government. Jefferson, Hamilton, and et al. united in challenge to what they rightfully viewed as discriminatory treatment at the hands of King George’s Britain.
Through this unity, they also sowed the seeds for the federal government that Toqcueville used as a basis for his observations on democratic systems, and the governments that they form.
In fact, Toqcueville provides a point for point explanation of the desires expressed in the first two paragraphs of The Declaration.
“All men are created equal…” evolves into “Men living at such times have a natural bias towards free institutions”. Jefferson, by assertion and the Constitutional Congress, by guarantee, allow Tocqueville, through logical, procedural analysis of post-Revolution America to prove and generalize. If all men are indeed created equal, argues Tocqueville, then all equal men will desire independence. Conversely, if all men are equal, then they will naturally desire independence.

Jefferson readily admits that rebellion is a heavy subject to consider, but defends the groups’ decision by placing individual freedoms over government existence. The home government encroaches on the basic tenements of freedom. The people in response have a right to defend from that encroachment, and if required, to forcibly stop it. Tocqueville observes that “democratic nations dread all violent disturbances”, but when their liberties are challenged, they “give or surrender additional rights to the central power”. The members of the Constitutional Congress allowed the Declaration to speak for them as a whole. Each particular state put aside their individual grievances in favor of the common cause.
Tocqueville also explains the development of the Congress’s government into a centralized organization. The people abhor its interferences with their day-to-day lives; yet depend on it in times of need. This parallels the American colonies individual attempts to negotiate with the Crown before the Constitutional Congress. They wanted little part in collaboration, or subjection to the common will until King George III rebuked them. Only then, did they decide to unite for the common cause. The particular state legislatures finally looked upon each other for assistance through the intermediate body of the Constitutional Congress.
Jefferson and the Constitutional Congress develop the general concept of...

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Uploaded by:   ptaav

Date:   10/19/2004

Category:   American History

Length:   2 pages (489 words)

Views:   2525

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