Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville (29 July 1805, Paris – 16 April 1859, Cannes) was a right wing French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies. Democracy in America (1835), his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology and political science.
Tocqueville wrote of "Political Consequences of the Social State of the Anglo-Americans" by saying "But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom".
Tocqueville explicitly cites inequality as being incentive for poor to become rich. He cites protective laws in France at the time that protected an estate from being split apart amongst heirs, thereby preserving wealth and preventing a churn of wealth such as was perceived by him in 1835 within in the United States of America.
Many see his values as out of date for the modern world.
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