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On this day in 1805, Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Paris, France

July 29, 2025

On this day in 1805, Alexis de Tocqueville was born in Paris, France.

So, why are we noting a Frenchman’s birth on an American history page? Tocqueville’s writings, most notably his multivolume Democracy in America, gave insight into American culture and government.

The commentary was a product of Tocqueville’s travels throughout America in the 1830s. Though written nearly 200 years ago, this outsider’s perspective is still widely studied for an understanding of what makes U.S. customs, character, and governance unique.

Democracy in America has something for everyone, covering topics from politics, democracy, and equality to gender dynamics, religion, and manners. Tocqueville noted both flaws and strengths of the young United States.

Did you know? Tocqueville came from an aristocratic family shaken by the French Revolution. Both of his parents were jailed during the Reign of Terror, only just escaping execution. Despite his aristocratic roots, Tocqueville was fascinated by democracy and liberty.

 

Cléral de Tocqueville

-Written by Anna Zemaitaitis, Communications and Design Officer

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July 29, 2025
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