My name is Anna Boghiguian and I am exhibiting the Loom of History. In 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville came to America to study the prison system, the political and social character of American society, government, religious life, and deep racial and social inequality of a “moral” society. His Democracy in America studied the fading of Aristocracy and eventual emergence of a Democratic order, but warned that this can create new forms of Tyranny.
He said Americans had the vice of selfishness and egoism, and when they started to make a lot of money, individualism was accented. De Tocqueville didn’t condemn individuality if it went in the right direction for people to work together for a common purpose, as it would counterbalance the tyranny of the majority.
De Tocqueville felt that with the expanding bourgeoisie and the selfishness of individuals, the society would be so in love with seeking pleasure, that it would not even be aware of the despot leading them, because the despot would camouflage his behavior and that despotism under democracy would be more dangerous than the oppression under the Roman emperors or the tyrants of the past.
In democracy the despotic power acts like a protective parent who keeps his children perpetually infants and guides his people like a shepherd would guide his flock. In the system people use their thinking as a writer enclosed in a fence, the majority of the population is living in a fence, and if they leave the fence then their chances of being politically active within the system are ruined.