gled freedom, familiarity, and affection, which
at once show that new relations have sprung up
in the bosom of the family.
a similar revolution takes place in the mu-
tual relations of children. in aristocratic families,
as well as in aristocratic society, every place is
marked out beforehand. not only does the fa-
ther occupy a separate rank, in which he enjoys
extensive privileges, but even the children are
not equal among themselves. The age and sex of
each irrevocably determine his rank, and secure
to him certain privileges: most of these distinc-
tions are abolished or diminished by democracy.
in aristocratic families the eldest son, in-
heriting the greater part of the property and
almost all the rights of the family, becomes the
chief, and to a certain extent the master, of his
brothers. Greatness and power are for him—
for them, mediocrity and dependence. nev-
ertheless it would be wrong to suppose that,
among aristocratic nations, the privileges of the
eldest son are advantageous to himself alone,
or that they excite nothing but envy and ha-
tred in those around him. The eldest son com-
monly endeavors to procure wealth and power
for his brothers, because the general splendor
of the house is reflected back on him who rep-
resents it; the younger sons seek to back the el-
der brother in all his undertakings, because the
greatness and power of the head of the family
better enable him to provide for all its branches.
The different members of an aristocratic family
are therefore very closely bound together; their
interests are connected, their minds agree, but
their hearts are seldom in harmony.
democracy also binds brothers to each
other but by very different means. Under
democratic laws all the children are perfectly
equal and consequently independent: noth-
ing brings them forcibly together, but nothing
keeps them apart; and as they have the same
origin, as they are trained under the same roof,
as they are treated with the same care, and as
no peculiar privilege distinguishes or divides
them, the affectionate and youthful intimacy
of early years easily springs up between them.
scarcely any opportunities occur to break the
tie thus formed at the outset of life, for their
brotherhood brings them daily together with-
out embarrassing them. it is not then by inter-
est, but by common associations and by the free
sympathy of opinion and of taste that democ-
racy unites brothers to each other. it divides
their inheritance, but it allows their hearts and
minds to mingle together.
democracy, which destroys or obscures al-
most all the old conventional rules of society,
and which prevents men from readily assent-
ing to new ones, entirely effaces most of the
feelings to which these conventional rules have
given rise; but it only modifies some others and
frequently imparts to them a degree of energy
and sweetness unknown before.
democracy loosens social ties, but it draws
the ties of nature more tight; it brings kindred
more closely together, while it places the various
members of the community more widely apart.
From democracy in america. At the age of twenty-five in 1831, Tocqueville boarded a schooner with
his friend Gustave de Beaumont for a government-sanctioned trip to examine the American penal system.
The nine-month journey, taking him as far north as
Quebec and as far south as Louisiana, inspired his
four-volume magnum opus that appeared between
1835 and 1840. Tocqueville published the first part
of a study of the French Revolution, The ancien
régime and the revolution, three years before he
died in 1859.