Individual Choice and the Structures of History: Alexis de Tocqueville as Historian Reappraised

Overview

Alexis de Tocqueville is recognized as one of the most important nineteenth-century historians. In this perceptive study, Harvey Mitchell examines afresh Tocqueville's works, including the Souvenirs of 1848 and his voluminous correspondence, to shed new light on his philosophy of history. Tocqueville's concern with historical forces and individual choice emerge as central to his work. Professor Mitchell reveals in Tocqueville a unity of thought and a deep involvement with the philosophical questions raised by ...

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Overview

Alexis de Tocqueville is recognized as one of the most important nineteenth-century historians. In this perceptive study, Harvey Mitchell examines afresh Tocqueville's works, including the Souvenirs of 1848 and his voluminous correspondence, to shed new light on his philosophy of history. Tocqueville's concern with historical forces and individual choice emerge as central to his work. Professor Mitchell reveals in Tocqueville a unity of thought and a deep involvement with the philosophical questions raised by historical continuity and change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...an elegantly erudite reappraisal of Tocqueville as a historian....Mitchell provides an enticing introduction to Tocqueville....we can be grateful to historians like Mitchell." The Vancouver Sun

"This book is based on a wide and sensitive reading of the primary and secondary literature. Recommended for all university libraries." Choice

"This is an important contribution to the expanding universe of Tocqueville scholarship. Harvey Mitchell has seized upon a major dilemma in the study of Tocqueville...Mitchell is at his very best." American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521024150
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Pages: 308
  • Sales rank: 1,051,630
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Part I. Introduction: 1. Frameworks; Part II. Paradoxes in Tocqueville's Idea of History: 2. Towards a theory of history; 3. Tocqueville's conceptualisation of moral choice and the particular; Part III. Plotting Crisis and Change: 4. Tocqueville's uses of intentionality and necessity in the 'Souvenirs'; 5. Towards the history of 'L'Ancien Régime et la Révolution'; 6. Three faces of history in democracy in America; Part IV. Historian of the Breakdown of the Old Society: 7. Tocqueville on the general laws of revolution; 8. The aristocratic ethos on the defensive; 9. Ideas and public opinion; Part V. Epilogue: 10. Further reflections; Select bibliography, Index.

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