The Ideal of Alexis De Tocqueville: Manning, ClarkHardback
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- Publisher: Melbourne University Press
- Format: Hardback | 216 pages
- Dimensions: 137mm x 213mm x 15mm | 295g
- Publication date: 1 March 2001
- Publication City/Country: Carlton
- ISBN 10: 0522849253
- ISBN 13: 9780522849257
- Illustrations note: 12 b&w photos
Alexis de Tocqueville was a political theorist in the 19th century. He argued that an egalitarian society would lead to a concentration of power in the hands of the central government, thus sacrificing liberty for equality. Tocqueville's ideas about democracy interested Manning Clark deeply. Clark undertook intensive research on Tocqueville at Oxford during the war, and completed his MA thesis in 1949 at the University of Melbourne. It is published here for the first time. The book seeks to shed light on: Tocqueville and his ideas, placed in their historical context; Tocqueville's ideas and their relevance in an Australian social/political context; the youthful Clark's Tocqueville thesis and its place in his collected writings; the purported Marxist framework of the thesis as the first of many controversies colouring Clark's writing life; the significance of later controversies about Clark and their links to ideas in the thesis.
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Manning Clark has an enduring stature in Australia's literary, historical and cultural landscape. The appearance of his previously unpublished MA thesis, accompanied by a substantial and scholarly Introduction, is a welcome addition to Australian historical literature.