Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 6

Democratic man, aristocratic man, and man simply

Manent, Pierre
Perspectives on Political Science; Spring 1998; 27, 2; ProQuest
pg. 79

Democratic Man, Aristocratic


Man, and Man Simply
Some Remarks on an Equivocation
in Tocqueville's Thought

PIERRE MANENT
Translated by DANIEL J. MAHONEY and PAUL SEATON

would like to draw your attention to a difficulty at once continuity of European civilization. And even if he gives an

I seriou, and re~eal.ing in what Fran~ois .:uret has aptly


called TocquevIlle s "conceptual system. I
extremely retined analysis of the new relations connecting
the modern state and modern society, one which we have
again learned to admire,' he does so by employing the well-
established conceptual idiom of "representation."
THE ORIGINALITY OF TOCQUEVILLE'S
CONCEPTUAL SYSTEM Now let us consider Benjamin Constant, who embodies
restlessness or irony within French liberalism in as striking
To grasp clearly what is original in Tocqueville it is nat- a way as Guizot does assurance or satisfaction. 4 To be sure,
ural and necessary to indicate, if only brief1y. the approach Constant is unequaled in displaying the paradoxes, contra-
of his contemporaries with whom he is most naturally com- dictions, and ironies of modern politics and society. But his
pared. My main example will be the French philosopher. conceptual equipment is as traditional as GuilOt's; he per-
historian. and statesman Fran~ois Guizot. whose Sorbonne haps expends even less etfort in reworking it and rendering
courses at the end of the french Restoration were passion- it rigorously consistent with his personal vision. Like
ately followed by Tocqueville. 2 GuilOt's, Constant's thought is dominated by the idea of
Guizot's strength lie, in the competence and assurance representative government. And even if he did not appreci-
with which he employ~ tested. available. and inherited cat- ate the place of that idea in the thought of Montesquieu, he
egories. These categories arc essentially and explicitly those formulated quite clearly and fully the "Scottish" idea of the
of French and Scottish eighteenth-century authors, cate- contrast between successive ages of war and of commerce.
goric, sllch as civilization. the middle classes. and repre- Leaving the liberal circle. let us turn to Karl Marx. We
sentative gmernment. More implicitly. he also has recourse see that he. too, shares the "Guizotian" vision of a political
to much hoarier conceph dating from antiquity, such as that history that develops in correspondence with social history
of the mixed regime. By his confident use of traditional and "represents" it.
notions. drawn unequally from both the Enlightenment and It is here that we come to my point of departure. Toc-
the ancients. Guizot illustrates his thesis of the essential queville eludes, although he does not reject or refute, the
categories common to Guizot and Constant, the categories
of "liberal sociology." These are the categories of the dom-
inant self-interpretation of modern politics-of the inter-
Pierre Manent, olle oj' France '.1 leading political philoso- pretive circle within which Marx himself remained caught.
phers. is a proj'essor (lj' studies at the Ecole des haute,l' In particular, how can one fail to note that Tocqueville never
hlldes ell sciences sociales in Paris. Daniel J. Alahoney is thematizes the notion of representation, even if as a matter
an associate pro/I'ssor or politics at Assumption College. of course he makes use of it in his description of American
and Paul Seaton is a doctoral candidate in political science institutions? (The word representation appears only one
at Fordham University. The tralls{({(ors are coeditors or time in the chapter and paragraph titles of Democmc\' in
Modern Liberty and Its Discontents: Seleqed Writings of America, which are quite numerous and frequently rather
Pierre Manent (Rmmwl1 & Littlefield. j(Jrlhcoming J. © 1997 long.) More precisely the only basic ref1ection Tocqueville
Pierre Mal/em. expresses concerning representative government (he formu-
79

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
80 Pen,pectives on Political Science

lates it twice) ends by denying to representation any durable deceptive symmetry. Democracy in the metapolitical sense,
political effectiveness s How, then, does he proceed? in the Tocquevillean sense. can be conceived and presented
Tocljueville has recourse to the notion of democracy, as a "generalization" or a "universalization" of democracy
whose llfigin is found in Greek politics and thought, where in its original political sense. the maxims of the "citizen"
it signifies a political regime. The word and the notion had becoming those of "man" in all his roles. Tocqueville says
not recovered or acquired credibi lity at the time of the elab- exactly this (see note 6, trmls.). He writes:
oration of Enlightenment philosophy and politics because it
was attached to a too disordered, insufficiently rational, too In the United State, the dogma of popular sovereignty is in
no wayan isolated doctrine unrelated to habits or the totali-
harsh. and. in a word too inhuman phase of human histo- ty of dominant ideas: on the contrary one can conceive of it
ry-onc that had been surpassed thanks to the progress of as the last link of a chain of opinion, which envelop the
civilization and representative government. Civilization and entire Anglo-American world. Providence has given to each
representati\ e government are what distinguish the modern individual the degree of reason necessary for him to be able
commercial republic from the ancient warrior democracy, to direct himself in the things that exclusively concern him.
This is the great maxim upon which civil and political soci-
to the advantage of the former in the eyes of the dominant ety rests in the United State,: the father of the family applies
liberal "chon!. It :IS to be remembered that the American and it to his children, the master to his servants. the township to
French revolutionaries (b.-Iared that they founded represen- those it administers, the province to the township. the state to
tative rcpublics and not democracies. the provinces, the unioll to the states. Extended to the whole
Of course by llsing this term. in one sense Tocqueville of the nation it hecomes the dogma of the sovereignty of the
people.
only follows thc example of his contemporaries-under Thus in the United States the generative principle of the
both the Re"-lorallon and the July Monarchy everyone spoke repuhlic is that same that regulates the greater part of human
of "democracy." But better than anyone else he enables us actions.
to ~ee the singularity of this usage: the name of a political
regime comes to designate a "generative principle ... that Democracy thus has a generative principle that we are
regulates the greater part of human actions."(' A political able to know. As I stated above. Tocqllevi lie never revealed
concept comes to designate something we can provisional- to us the "generative principle:' if there is one. of aristocra-
ly call "metapolitical." cy. And how could he, inasmuch as aristocracy for him cov-
Is thi, idea of democracy clear) And. to begin with. is it ers simultaneously the Greek city. Rome. the European old
distinct') It can nut be distinct unless there is something regime. modern England. and perhaps even the American
other than democracy. another thing that one can name. Indian tribes'? But what then is this gcnus that includes
That is aristocracy. Tocljuevi Ill' interprets human history species that previously were considered incompatible')
and comprehends the order of political things by means of Does Tocqueville, practicing an improvised and maladroit
the pairing of democracy and aristocracy. And even if he "division:' simply label as "aristocracy" everything that is
docs not account for the generative principle of aristocracy. not democracy') However. if his division is so poorly con-
even if he docs not confirm that aristocracy has one, even if ceived that it appears to be barely plausible. why is it as
aristocracy appears to us to be sketched rather less positive- fruitful as it is'?
ly than negatively. w, the anti type of democracy, it is
nonetheless clear that it. too. is a "metapolitical notion." DEMOCRACY, NATURE, AND HISTORY
Like democracy, it enw lops all the aspects of human life.
Thi, polarity is ,0 marked and ~o determinative that it One might suggest that. by defining aristocracy and
seems that lOlive in democracy and to live in aristocracy are democracy as "regimes of humanity" rather than as political
two essentially distinct t'Xperiences of the human condition. regimes, Tocqueville only recovers the original Greek
In a manner of speaking, it is to belong to two distinct meaning of the notion of regime and moreover the meaning
humanities without relation to each other. In the "General of politics. For Aristotle. as well as for Plato and ThllCy-
View of the Subject" that closes volume :2 of Democmc." ill dides, there corresponds to each regime a human "type"
A/lwrico and thus the \\ork as a \\hole, Tocqueville writes and, in this sense, a "distinct humanity." But besides the fact
the following with respect to aristocracy and democracy: that the Tocquevillean regimes correspond only partially to
"They arc liJ."e two distinct humanities. of which each has its the Greek regimes. one consideration obliges us to distin-
particular advantages and disadvantages, and goods and guish them rigorously. The Greek regimes arc affected by
evil" proper to it ... these prodigiously different societies an essentially "cyclical" history, a history that is circum-
are incomparable." There is thus a "demoeratic man" whose scribed and regulated by nature.
feature~ (I dare not say whose "nature") Tocqueville In contras!' Tocquevillean democracy hears or implies a
describe, \\ ith as much amplitude as precision. The portrait process. an indefinite history. This is in fact the prime
of the "ari~t()cratic nHtIl-' is less complete and at the same motive of the inquiry conducted in Democracy in America
time more composite: it stands forth nonetheless with and the main wellspring of its pathos: One does not know
salient characteristics. But where i, man simpliciter? What where democracy is taking us. Of course. Tocqueville tells
does Tocljuc\ille answer when we ask him. What is man- us in his introduction to the work that he crossed the ocean
neither aristocratic nOt' democratic man. but simply man, to discover the "natural limits" of democracy: "There is a
man "in all the truth of his nature"') Does he even respond') country in the world where the great social revolution of
The pairing ari stocracy-democracy contains perhaps a which I speak seems to have nearly attained its natural lim-

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Spring IYYR. Volume 27. Number 2 RI

its." Even without underlining in too emphatic a fashion the then does it envelop a continuous. unending process of rad-
precaution;, Tocqueville here takes-"seems," '"nearly" icalization? More exactly, why does the "passion for equal-
(quite significant precautions and reservations in the con- ity" grow even when conditions become more equal?l~
text in which the author gives a summary of his results, and Here we touch one of the most important points of Toc-
the increase in knowledge obtained by his voyage)-one queville's diagnosis, which prevents us from simply saying
must note that in numerous other passages Tocqueville that for him democracy is "in conformity with nature." If
writes that even in America "democracy has surpassed all of men naturally '"hunger and thirst" for justice, why do they
its fomler limits,"? or that "there is something precipitous, I have an even greater "hunger and thirst" for justice. that is,
almost could say revolutionary, about the progress made by democracy, when they have more and more democracy, that
society in America:' x In short, the American example ought is. justice? Hunger is not naturally insatiable.
to guide our action. and it can temper. without completely Increasing our perplexity. Tocqueville next teaches us
abolishing, our ·'terror." However, it cannot, like the Greek that this process of equalization, taking on ever more ampli-
idea of "nature," give us a knowledge that closes the hori- tude. risb ceasing to be just. of moving toward a new form
zon of possihilities. "Where are we going. therefore? No of injustice by oppressing or sterilizing the higher parts of
one can ,ay: we lack the terms of comparison ...."9 the soul. l" Must we say that democracy is too just for the
To be sure. for the Greeks themselves there is a history of majority of men ever to renounce it, but also too unjust to
the Athenian democracy. a proce~s or a progress. but the leave to certain men the place or power or prestige that
progress is circumscrihed by the limits of politics and of would allow them to reverse the historical movement? But
human things. The "democratic party" or the "extreme peo- this last "injustice" is itself also just because this overturn-
ple"!1l or the Salaminian rowers!! were quite capable of ing of democracy, if per impossible it were possible. would
acquiring even more power. and Athens itself. under their mean the restoration of aristocracy. thus of injustice. Or is
impetus. or to make room for them. was quite able to justice itself subordinated to the opposition between
expand the range of its domination. There comes a moment. democracy and aristocracy? As these give birth to "two dis-
however. when the eternal nature of political and human tinct humanities." are there then two "distinct justices"? But
things a,serts its empire and punishes the immoderation of at no point does Tocqueville affirm or even suggest this. In
Pallas Athena's city. At that time, Athens leaves the scene of fact, the very idea of subordinating justice and truth to a
history. Thucydides' history thus unfolds a tragedy. political partiality, even a majoritarian one, caused him hor-
In Tocquevilles democracy the power of democracy is ror. 17 But can he truly escape from such a conclusion?
not the power of man over man, or the power of one party I do not wish to show Tocqueville mistaken or lacking,
over another. or it is so only very secondarily and provi- nor do I desire "to complete" or "to perfect" him. Rather, I
sionallylC It is rather the power of man over himself: more am attempting to discern the meaning and import of the
and more actions. more and more sentiments, more and division of humanity into two '"regimes of humanity" and to
more thoughts. come to live under the democratic regime. that end to specify in particular the use he makes of the
And it seems that this process of the conquest of man by notion of nature.
democracy is both irreversible and indetinite. Putting before
us the Athenian democracy and the Spartan "aristocracy," THE NATURE AND THE ART OF DEMOCRACY
Thucydides displays two possibilities of human nature actu-
alized and pushed to their limit~ in the greatest conflict To follow Tocqueville. we must state here that he adds
known to Greece. The two possibilities, however, are another "division" internal to democracy to his initial divi-
always ((lei) possible. that is. always at least potentially co- sion between democracy and aristocracy. He distinguishes
present in human things as two subtly but radically differ- in a quite trenchant manner between the nature and the art
ent modulations of the same humanity. In contrast, the Toc- of democracy. Its nature, its "instincts." push it blindly
quevillean aristocracy and democracy are two successive toward ever greater equality, even at liberty's expense; its
and exclusive versions of humanity (we do not dare to speak art preserves liberty. Notice that I say "preserves." In treat-
of "the same" humanity when Tucqueville himself speaks of ing the relations between democracy and liberty, Toc-
"two distinct humanities"). where one has definitively queville endlessly repeats the same double affirmation: On
defeated the other and will continue to increase its victory. one hand, democratic man naturally desires and has a taste
In Tocqueville's view, aristocracy had to yield its place for liberty; on the other, if he must choose, he naturally will
because. despite its merits-and the aristocratic man has prefer equality. IS In the context of democracy, liberty ap-
many features Tocqueville invites us to appreciate and to pears to him to be threatened. This menace is redoubtable,
admire-it was essentially unjust. founded in the final but it is possible to ward it otf: "[TJhe Americans have
analysi~ on force.!3 Democracy possesses an assured status shown that it is not necessary to despair of regulating
because it is essentially just.!~ Once men are in possession democracy, with the assistance of laws and mores."19 This
of justice. a justice in which the great majority have an last formulation is even more striking because it is found in
interest. it is hard to see how historical progress could "turn the first volume of Democracy in America. published in
back;' that is, how men could renounce the "gains of 1835. (Reviewing the second volume in 1840, Saint-Beuve
democracy." But if democracy is just. it is because it con- could write: "Monsieur Tocqueville carries the cross of
forms to man's nature or situation. One would be right to democracy.") It is the democratic art that allows us to ward
suppose. therefore, that it is an eminently stable state. Why off the threat and not to despair of democracy.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
82 Perspectives on Political Science

The democratic art i~ employed to prevent democracy's dy than the discovery or invention of a new good. As Toc-
nature from oppressing or sterilizing man's nature. In this queville emphasizes several times, by means of the demo-
context Tocquevillc designates an opaque moral and social cratic art. democratic man learns or is reminded that he is
being. democratic man, who is at once nature and will, or not alone on the earth and that he has fellow citizens. What
who,e nature is to will ever more equality. How, and a paradoxical necessity it is to have to instruct individuals
according to what criteria and in the name of what princi- that they are parts of a community in a society in which
ples, can we enlighten and regulate an individual's the sentiment of human resemblance. especially in the
"instincts''') What bit will be strong enough to master this form of pity, is so strong! The elimination of aristocratic
impetuous. blind steed, or what prod will be sharp enough inequality and constraint, felicitous in themselves, trans-
to animate this obtuse and obstinate cow'? Tocqueville. as lates into a lessening of the visibility and presence of the
everyone knows. multiplies his recommendations. social bond.
First of all. let me say a word about religion. By its ori- I cannot delve here into the most difficult question raised
gins and perhaps by its essence. it is external to democracy; by the contrast drawn by Tocqueville between an inherited
this is why it can regulate democracy. It says to democratic social bond and a constructed one. A bond produced by lib-
man's liberty. to his envy. and to his disordered passions, erty is obviously preferable to one submitted to by con-
You will not go any further' And this circumscription of lib- straint. But, on the other hand, the more that a bond is con-
erty is. in fact. a consolidation of it. However. if, as in ceived and experienced as freely and sovereignly instituted,
Europe. religion remains strictly external to democracy, the more it runs the risk of being less and less a bond, of
religion will not be: democracy's restraint but its enemy. To having less and less the nature of a bond. A bond freely con-
be able to moderate and not comhat democracy, religion structed and instituted is by definition a bond that could not
must adapt itself to democracy. On the other side of the have been. It soon will be experienced as being able not to
coin. democracy must appropriate religion for itself. From be, as not being a bond. If we suppose that humanity lives
this, it seems to me, comes a fundamental hesitation or by means of the various bonds that attach men to each other,
ambivalence about democracy's relation with religion: One the more these bonds become democratic the more human-
must fear that the "pantheism" natural to democracy might ity will live with the awareness of the contingent or arbi-
come to destroy the religious nature of man 21l and that the trary character of the bonds that constitute it. Its "human
reciprocal adaptation of religion and democracy might ulti- tenor" will tend therefore to diminish.
mately mean democracy's triumph over religion. Was not
this final fear already contained in Tocqueville's initial and
THE LOVE OF LIBERTY
apparently so "promising" observation. "Puritanism was
not only a religious doctrine: it also overlapped on several How can one approach such questions without knowing
points with the most ahsolute democratic and republican what the principle of the democratic art is. without knowing
theories'''?21 its wellspring in the human soul. the passion or virtue that
In contrast. there is no hesitation with respect to the animates and sustains it? Tocqueville does not make this
democratic art. since it is a matter of taking advantage of a decisive question a theme. He treats it in passing, respond-
division internal to democracy. ing to the circumstance: the only time that he comes to a
In what does the democratic art consist') To what are its stop before it (in The Old Regime and the Revolution) he
good effects owing') In what is its goodness situated? Let us has recourse to pathos:
take the exemplary case of associations. The art constructs
or re-creates the social bond that in aristocratic societies I have often asked myself where is the source of this passion
for political liberty which, in all ages has caused men to do
was given with the hierarchy of families (and which the the greatest things humanity has accomplished, in what sen-
democratic equality of conditions has eroded). This con- timents it is rooted and nourished ....
struction or reconstruction-because it is deliberate, setting What in all ages has attached liberty so strongly to the
in motion the free initiative of equal citizens--can be heart of certain men are its own features, its own charm,
judged superior to the "natural" bond fumished by aristoc- independent of its benefits, it is the pleasure of being able to
speak, to act, and to breathe without constraint, under the
racy. whose ultimate foundation. we must never forget,
sole government of God and the laws. Whoever seeks in lib-
resides in force. In aristocracy the social bond is both suf- erty anything other than itself is made to serve ....
fered, or at least received. and unequal: in democracy it is ... Do not ask me to analyze this ,ublime taste. one must
free, or deliberate. and equal. Democracy thus appears to experience it. It enters of itself into the great hearts that God
have a double advantage. has prepared to receive it: it fills them; it inflames them. One
But Tocqueville simultaneously presents associations as must not try to make it comprehensible to the mediocre souls
who have never felt it. 23
a never-ending effort to overcome the disassociation intro-
duced by democratic equality and to preserve the "civi- This quite beautiful "elevation" surprises us. Liberty. and
lization" threatened by what one might call democratic therefore one can suppose, the art of democratic liberty
"nomadism": "lTlhe Anglo-Americans arrived fully civi- have their natural wellspring in a grace granted to a few. It
lized on the soil their posterity occupies," but the diminu- is an immediate gift of God that eludes both art and reason;
tion of "individual influences" due to extreme democracy it cannot be analyzed. Love of liberty here has a foundation
puts the civilization itself in danger. 22 In short the associa- that is clearly and emphatically inegalitarian and thus anti-
tive etlort appears to be more of a remedy to a new mala- democratic; the exaltation of "great hearts" and the disdain

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Spring 1998, Volume 27, Number 2 83

for '"mediocre souls" certainly docs not belong to the an effect much more than an intrinsically worthwhile end.
"instincts" of democracy. But do they belong to its art? This is even true with Montesquieu. It is true that he wrote
I do not belie\e that one can minimize the importance of about the English, "This nation would love enormously its
such a declaration-one unique in the published work of liberty, because this liberty is true" (The Spirit offill.' Laws.
Tocquevillc,c-l who hirn~elf stresses that it is the fruit of a book 19. ch. 29). But if one takes into account the context
lifetime '5 meditation. f\iowhere as clearly as here does he of his remark. one sees that the love of liberty of which
attribute a natural hasis to his political doctrine. Do we Montesquieu speaks is, on one hand, an impatience with
finally grasp here the natural ha,is common to aristocracy everything that would threaten liberty: on the other hand. it
and democracy. the tertil/Ill quid, the humallllm COll1l1lune is a certain knowledge of its benefits. But these are precise-
which overcomes their '"division": do we finally grasp "man ly the two things that Tocqueville says liberty is not when it
simply." homo sim/Jlex') is truly loved for its own sake. It seems to me that with Toc-
To know the answer to the question. we should put this
"love of liberty" to the test in each of the great Tocquevil-
lean "regimes."'
It appears difficult to find it or to make a place for it in
democracy. because its characteristic inequality so directly
contradicts democracy's basis. One could say, of course.
that it prO\ ides the "homeopathic" dose of aristocracy that
is necessary for every political organization, even the demo-
T he "rights of man" are
rooted in the necessity
of self-preservation.
cratic one. For example. in Hobbes's social contract. which
is ,0 emphatically egalitarian. it is necessary for a few, out
of pure generosity or greatness of soul, to take the risk of
beginning the process of disarmament and alienation of
one's rights in the state of nature. But there too. it is the case queville liberty becomes, as we say today. a ralLie. and it is
that once the first step is taken, and the example given and this that I am attempting to get at.
followed, Leviathan ha~ within itself all the means to persist At the risk of violating the most salutary rule of histori-
in heing without the support of that generosity, which cal interpretation. in my conclusion I would like "to under-
Hobbes telb us is '"too rarely found to be presumed on."2) stand Tocqueville better than he understood himself' by
And in a democratic society, the noble pride of the "great suggesting that far from appearing "in all ages" as God pro-
hearts." so difficult to hide according to the testimony of vides. the pure love of liberty is rather a quite singular. but
Tocqueville's contemporaries. would he a permanent chal- very interesting. aspect of the life of democratic societies.
lenge or defiance to the passion of equality. That passion
would ~atisfy its envy by depriving those men of political DEMOCRATIC SPIRITUALITY
careers worthy of their ambition and in accord with the
country's true interests. Democratic society is basically satisfied, and it has good
However. the nondemocratic love of liberty is no more at reasons to be so. But this satisfaction expresses itself in
home in aristocratic \ocieties. Aristocratic liberty is the something that resembles dissatisfaction. There is in the
"enjoyment of a privilege"; it is a noble version of "ego- democratic desire "to improve one's condition" a frenzy
ism"; it is inseparable from a proud domination over those that resembles dissatisfaction. In an analogous way, the
who are not free. 2h Aristocratic liberty is not pure, and it sympathetic recognition of human similarity in democratic
does not have the idyllic flavor of the liberty eloquently society is also the envious desire for an ever-greater human
praised in the above-cited passage from The Old Regime resemblance. As for the dissatisfaction of well-born souls, it
alld the RCl'Olwioll. One would have great difficulty indi- has as its flip side a satisfaction characterized by an exquis-
cating a hi~lorical experience. an aristocratic political expe- ite bitterness: No longer able proudly to appropriate power
rience. that corresponds to the Arcadia sketched by Toc- as a privilege, but also unable to consent to the "social
queville. In fact. he neither indicates nor even suggests one power" of the majority or of public opinion, they taste the
with any clarity. Thus at the very moment when we believe pure love of liberty. Thus the elect of nature accede to pure
we have grasped him. the tertiuIn quid. the human Lim COln- nature.
fmllle. the homo simplex eludes us. This third man. this pure The "elevation" that Tocqueville displays in honor of lib-
lover of liberty docs not appear to be common to both aris- erty could easily be employed in honor of another deity. of
tocracy and democracy except to the extent that he does not another "value." In fact, democratic convention and the
find a place in either regime. social project of democracy detach the different human
The reader will wonder why I have taken so much time experiences that. until then. bound them to one man's power
on the "conceptual status" of this "love of liherty." It is over another. Now the "old" experiences-such as art. liter-
because this love. as a passion or disposition of the soul. ature. love, and religion-attain an unprecedented purity, a
played a very small role, to say the least, in the thought of truly "ineffable" one, since no "common sense" or "com-
the founders of liberalism. The "rights of man" are rooted mon world" any longer makes them communicate among
in the necessity of self-preservation. In the liberalism of the themselves. nor allows men to communicate among them-
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries liberty. is a means and selves concerning them. This is precisely the "new experi-

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
84 Perspectives on Political Science

ence" that democracy brings. In this sense democracy. 5 " .. [A]lthough the form of the government is representative. it is
evident that the opinion" prejudices. interests. and even the passions of the
which provides ',olid ~atisfactions for the great majority,
people cannot fllld any durable obstacle which would prevent them from
also has "mystical" satisfactions for the few. The latter are being translated in the daily direction of society" (Democracv ill America
perhaps even more separated from the majority than they [hereinafter cited as DA J I: 2. ch. I); and "It is true that the representative
system was almost unknown in antiquity. In our day. popular passions
have ever been: 1'\0 communication is possible between the show LIp with more difficulty in public affairs: one can be sure, however.
vulgar prose of commercial society and the ineffable expe- that the representative always will end by conforming himself to the mind
riences of the few. of those who have sent him and that they will cause their inclinations as
well as their interests to prevail" ([)A I: 2. eh. 5).
Tocqueville nowhere sketches the profile of homo sim- IAll translations from Tocqueville are our own. Rather than citing any
ple.r. The polarity between democracy and aristocracy (that particular translation of [)emocmc\, in America we have cited each quota-
is. everything that preceded democracy) remains at the end tion by DA followed by volume number. volume part. and chapter for easy
reference to any edition. Manen!'s references are drawn from the two-vol-
of the inquiry what it was at the beginning. The "division" ume edition of De 1(/ dhnocmtie ell Ameriqlle, in OeUl-res compleres de A.
never leads to any '·unity." The reason is that in the end Toeque)'ille (Paris: Gallimard. 1951). Trans.]
democratic man is divided: He is preoccupied with distin- 6. DA I: 2. ch. 10.
7. DA l: 2. ch. 5.
guishing and separating in his experiences. with an ever- 8. DA I: linal chapter.
more-refined. chimerical scrupulousness. what had been 9. DA I: author's introduction.
affected by aristocratic inequality. by man's power over 10. Aristotle Politics I 277b.
II. Aristophanes. The Assell1hlr of' WOlllel1. verse 38.
man, and what can be defined and experienced as pure 12. DA l: 2. ch. 2. "On Parties in the United States."
nature. This is really neither the egalitarian nature of 13. [)A I: linal chapter.
democracy nor its liberal art. but rather its work, For reasons 14. See TocqueviIle's Eta! wcial and poliliq!!e de la France (/\'{lnt et
depuis 178Y. in L 'Ancien regime et la Rel'Olutiol1. vol. I (Paris: Gallimard.
one can easily see. this work is endless. 1952). 62-63.
15. DA 2: 2, ch. 13 and 4. ch. 9. Here Tocqueville writes. "It is thus nat-
NOTES ural that the love of equality ceaselessly grows with equality itself." I do
not understand why this is ··natural."
l. ISee Fran~ois Furet. "Preface" to [)~ la democratie en Amerique 16. DA 2: I. ch. 10: 3. ch. 19: 4. ch. 6.
(Paris: Garnier-Flammarion, 1481).7. The preface is entitled "Le systeme 17. DA I: 2. ch. 7.
conceptuel de la [)ell1ocratie ell Amerique." Tr({}H.] 18. The following is an excellent example: "I think that democratic peo-
2. [For Manent's retlcction on Guizot"s role in the history of modern ples have a natural taste for liberty: left to themselves they seek it, they
liberal thought. see "Fran~ois Guizot: The Liberalism of Government:' in love it and they see with pain when someone deprives them of it. But for
An Intellectual Histon' of Liheralism (Princeton. N.J.: Princeton Universi- equality they have an ardent passion. insatiable. eternal. invincible: they
ty Press. 1995). 93-102. Guizot's 1828 lectures at the Sorbonne. assidu- want equality in liberty. and. if they cannot have it. they still want it in
ou,ly followed by Tocqueville, are available again in English. See Guizot. servitude.. ." (VA 2: 2, ch. I).
The Historl' of Cil'ikatiol1 ill Europe (London and New York: Penguin 19. DA I: 2. ch. 9.
Books. 1997 J. On Tocquevillc and Guizot. see Larry Siedentrop's intro- 20. DA 2: I. ch. 7.
duction to the above-mentioned edition (xxx-xxxiii). Trans.] 21. DA I: I. ch. 2.
3. See De 1(/ peine de mort I'll matiere politique (1822: reissued by 22. See, successively, DA I: 2. ch. 5 and ch. 9. and [)A I: I. ch. 3.
Paris: Corpus des philosophes frall<;:ais. Fayard. 1986), and. especially. Des 23. Alexis de Tocqueville. The Old Regime and the Rel'Olution. book 3,
movellS de gOllvemell1ent et d'oppositi(}!1S dans I'erat actuel de III France ch.3.
[intro. hy Claude LefortJ (1821; reissued Paris: Belin. 1487). 24. See, however, DA 2: 2, ch. I.
4. [See \1anent\ chapter on "Benjamin Constant and the Liberalism of 25. [Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan, cd. Michael Oakeshott (selected and
Opposition" in An Intellt:ctllal Historr a/Liheralism. 84-92. See also Ben- with an introduction by Richard S. Peters) (New York: Macmillan. 1962).
jamin Con.stanl. Political Writings. ed. by Biancamaria Fontana (Cam- part I. eh. 14. III. Trans. [
bridge. UK: Cambridge University Press. 1988). Trans. J 26. See Tocqueville. Etat social et politi'll/e. 62.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.

Оценить