DEMOCRACY, SOCIETY, AND LIBERALISM
During the Restoration, Legitimist writers such as Louis de Bonald considered the question of society in a manner opposite to that of earlier liberal thinkers. In his Demonstration philosophique du principe constitutif de la société [Philosophical Demonstration of the Constituent Principle of Society] ( 1827), Bonald argued that societies produced three types of governments: democracies, representative governments, and monarchies. He criticized representative governments as inherently unstable, and he advocated instead absolute monarchies; but he condemned democratic forms of government both because the people exercised political power and because they were at the same time subjects. These attacks produced a number of defenses of democracy, the most interesting of which viewed democracies as expressions of complex societies retaining the ability to guarantee individual liberty and equality.
The most penetrating analysis of modern society's democratic tendency was undertaken after 1830 by Alexis de Tocqueville. Descended from a noble Norman family, Tocqueville became a judge in 1827. Out of political favor following the July Revolution (1830), Tocqueville left for the United States to study its penal system. He resigned after his return to France in February 1832 and began writing Democracy in America (published in two parts in 1835 and 1840). After the overthrow of Louis Philippe, in April 1848, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and in June 1849 was named foreign minister. After Louis Napoleon's coup d'état of December 2, 1851, Tocqueville was arrested, then released. He
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Publication information: Book title: European Political Thought, 1815-1989. Contributors: Spencer M. Di Scala - Author, Salvo Mastellone - Author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 55.
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