More Than Kings and Less Than Men

More Than Kings and Less Than Men : Tocqueville on the Promise and Perils of Democratic Individualism

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This book explains why Tocqueville saw the central task of modern statesmanship as combating 'individualism,' a type of civic apathy that he thought capable of robbing modern citizens of human virtue and issuing in a historically unprecedented form of despotism. It looks in depth at the mechanisms he proposed for avoiding the perils and securing the promise of democracy in his own day, and discusses how Tocqueville's insights might be applied in our own time.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 226 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 25.4mm | 272.15g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739133748
  • 9780739133743

Review quote

More than Kings and Less than Men is an exceptionally well written, thoughtful, and erudite work. In highlighting the classical elements of Tocqueville's thought, Professor Hebert deepens our understanding of the great political philosopher and enhances his stature as the one, indispensable source for addressing the moral ills of contemporary American life. A most welcome and worthy addition to Tocqueville scholarship. -- Sandord Kessler, North Carolina State Hebert shows us that the Tocqueville widely admired for his prescient insights into late-modern liberal democracy is also a philosopher of the first rank-who moderated classical and medieval views to devise a political science that encourages our strengths and corrects our failings. This elegant volume captures the spirit of Tocqueville's philosophy on liberty, religion, civic virtue, and leadership, making it indispensable for students of not only Tocqueville but also of liberal democratic theory and political theory generally. -- Paul Carrese, U.S. Air Force Academy Countless studies that analyze Tocqueville's optimism and pessimism about the future of democracy are available. When authors turn to the dark side of Tocqueville's Democracy in America, they concentrate on the tyranny of majority and the individualism and materialism that is said to be democracy's challenge. While hardly abandoning these interpretations, Herbert offers a different focus. He is concerned with the loss of virtue and how it might be restored within a Tocquevillian context. To accomplish this task, the author argues that Tocqueville turns to a natural aristocracy. Hebert (St. Ambrose Univ.) recognizes the old aristocracy no longer carries purchase and becomes a moral and intellectual elite that is steeped in the classics and recognizes the importance of Socratic virtue. This will occur in a 'Christian liberal democracy' because, readers are told, Christianity is 'an indispensable foundation for the institutions of modern liberal democracy.' Here, the author states that 'the average citizen [is] susceptible to the guidance of learned authority.' The author finds a larger role for modern elites than is found in other scholarly interpretations of Tocqueville. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections. CHOICE, September 2010 Provocative yet always fair-minded, Hebert successfully demonstrates that Tocqueville's ideas remain an invaluable aid for thinking through some of the major predicaments of democracy in our own time. Hebert's stimulating analysis of Democracy in America does justice to the complexity and profundity of Tocqueville's thought. -- Brian Danoff, Miami University of Ohioshow more

About L. Joseph Hebert

L. Joseph Hebert, Jr. is associate professor of Political Science at St. Ambrose University and specializes in civil, common, and constitutional law.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: Why Tocqueville? Why Individualism? Part 2 Part I.More than Kings: The Rise of Democratic Individualism Chapter 3 Chapter 1. Democracy, Political Science, and Human Nature Chapter 4 Chapter 2. Liberty, Rights, and Justice in the New World Chapter 5 Chapter 3. Majority Tyranny, Administrative Despotism, and the Triumph of Individualism Part 6 Part IILess than Men? Combating Individualism in Jacksonian America and Beyond Chapter 7 Chapter 4. Citizenship: Democracy vs. Self-Government? Chapter 8 Chapter 5. Religion: Separation, or Political Institution? Chapter 9 Chapter 6. Democratic Statesmanship Then and Now Chapter 10 Conclusion: Liberty and the Recovery of Human Greatnessshow more

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