"Democracy in America"- America Falling at Tocqueville's Feet
Alexis De Tocqueville brought forward many observations and personal opinions about American democracy in his book ” Democracy in America”. Tocqueville made it clear his stance on the way America is pursuing democracy.
It’s not that Tocqueville was completely opposed to democracy, he only felt America was not being fair in it’s endeavors. He felt the minority has been silenced and brought to be considered shutout and powerless due to the majority rule in the legislature, who was elected by the majority and in all else majority has complete control. To elaborate more on the election side of democracy, he states the frequent elections and constant change of government does no good and creates instability. As a result, America is doomed to spiral into complete and utter anarchy due to us acting tyrannical and the inconsistency of law and order. There is just too much change. In my opinion, I feel Tocqueville summoned some pretty valid observation on our democratic system.
I cannot say I would go as far to say we will end up in anarchy; but, I will say there is too much change too often and that the minority needs a louder voice. Tocqueville stated ” Almost all American constitutions have been amended within the last 30 years, and there is no American state which has not modified the basis of its laws within that period”. While understanding that this was written in the mid 1800s, I can see how this may be applied to the modern American government. In America, it is our right under the First Amendment to protest and speak freely about what we believe in; but, what I have noticed is people protest against our own constitution… currently citizens are protesting the Second Amendment (the right to bear arms) while also trying to create new amendments or potentially ratifying them. I can see why it a great freedom to be able to protest these amendments, but isn’t this only creating more rules and regulations for ourselves? Why would people ever want to be potentially conquered by the government and have our liberties restricted and limited time after time again? Our government has reached the point where they are potentially devouring society, yet very few people are doing anything to prevent this. Take Obama Care for example, Republicans consistently are telling us that they can’t stop the Democrats from enforcing the proposal… but isn’t that their job to speak for those who support them? Why did they just give up on what conservative citizens view and unjust and restricting our freedom? This compares greatly to what Tocqueville was referring to power of majority.
We always cave to majority power. Jumping back to ratifying our constitution, we have consistently added and ratified amendments since it was created and people are still trying to ratify it even today. While this is a good in most cases, like creating freedoms for example with amendments such as the 15th and 19th, it becomes a problem when people want to continue to ratify it. If it has not been clear throughout this essay that I very much abide by the constitution, I feel that these laws were implemented by and created by the Framers for a reason. I highly doubt they expected people to attempt and ratify the original ideas that have kept this country in order for years. While I understand times change and there need to be certain ratifications in order to clearly specify the intent of the law, Tocqueville is right in saying there are too many changes too often, and that we need to just leave the laws alone and simply abide by them.
The set up of our government was created to keep itself in line, mainly with checks and balances, but if American legislatures continue to be uncompromisable, then I cannot help but only agree with Alexis De Tocqueville’s views as time progresses.