In Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, the author takes great caution to warn America of a tyrant lurking in the shadows of society that could threaten and destroy this Nation’s freedom without its even noticing. That warning is this: if our natural tendency towards individualism goes unchecked, our political freedom as we know it will begin to dissolve and the powers of soft despotism will slowly begin to seep into the very foundations of American democracy. This form of Democracy was characterized by a unique character of self-governance amongst the citizens. It was the people living in the townships who governed their communities and their voices were heard because of the political arrangements that existed. Tocqueville argues that individualism is a vice specific to America and, that due to this latent truth, we alone face a new form of despotism never before seen in political arrangements. This type of tyranny introduces itself in providing us small conveniences. It seeks to lighten the burden of our civic responsibilities and then wholly robs us of all political freedoms. From that point it is not difficult for Americans to become entirely estranged from their once known founding political freedoms. In this paper I will lay out the logic which Tocqueville uses in order to make clear his warning and then show how modern America has been affected by the problem of “individualism.”
"Individualism Reverses Freedom in America Beginning with Political Freedoms,"
Pepperdine Policy Review: Vol. 12
, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/ppr/vol12/iss1/9