This essay attempts to contextualise the purported novelty of Alexis de Tocqueville’s particular brand of liberalism. It regards the author not as an heir or precursor to any given political tradition, but rather as a compelled syncretist whose primary philosophical concern was the moral significance of the democratic age. It suggests that Tocqueville devised his ‘new political science’ with a keen view to the existential implications of modernity. In order to support that suggestion, the essay explores the genealogy of Tocqueville’s moral and political thought and draws a relation between his analysis of democracy and his personal experience of modernity.
London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK
Publication order reference