Constitutionalism: The Tyranny Of The Majority Essay

This essay has a total of 379 words and 2 pages.

Constitutionalism: The Tyranny Of The Majority

In this excerpt from Democracy in America Alexis Tocqueville expresses his sentiments
about the United States democratic government. Tocqueville believes the government's
nature exists in the absolute supremacy of the majority, meaning that those citizens of
the United States who are of legal age control legislation passed by the government.
However, the power of the majority can exceed its limits. Tocqueville believed that the
United States was a land of equality, liberty, and political wisdom. He considered it be a
land where the government only served as the voice of the its citizens. He compares the
government of the US to that of European systems. To him, European governments were still
constricted by aristocratic privilege, the people had no hand in the formation of their
government, let alone, there every day lives. He held up the American system as a
successful model of what aristocratic European systems would inevitably become, systems of
democracy and social equality. Although he held the American democratic system in high
regards, he did have his concerns about the systems shortcomings. Tocqueville feared that
the virtues he honored, such as creativity, freedom, civic participation, and taste, would
be endangered by "the tyranny of the majority." In the United States the majority rules,
but whose their to rule the majority. Tocqueville believed that the majority, with its
unlimited power, would unavoidably turn into a tyranny. He felt that the moral beliefs of
the majority would interfere with the quality of the elected legislators. The idea was
that in a great number of men there was more intelligence, than in one individual, thus
lacking quality in legislation. Another disadvantage of the majority was that the
interests of the majority always were preferred to that of the minority. Therefore, giving
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