In this paper, I will be addressing whom the common men where from Jefferson’s and Tocqueville’s Americas and are the common men legacies flourishing in the America of 2013. I will discuss how both Jefferson and Tocqueville had different views of the common men and why they had these views based on their background and their beliefs.
Thomas Jefferson was a founding father and author of the declaration of independence. He stood strongly for the freedom and liberty for the common man. Jefferson’s beliefs and philosophy for the common man stemmed from his studies in Williamsburg and from the people who had heavily influenced him in early on in his life. Thomas Jefferson opposed the ruling of a monarchy such as King George III in Britain.
Thomas Jefferson had a love for the mildly educated agrarian society with dependable laws. He strongly believed that the people had the power in government, and the power of the people is what created a strong democracy. He believed that the common man should choose whom to vote for the natural aristocracy to run government. He believed in this simply because the people choosing are the ultimate censors, they are the form for the foundation of the republic. These views that Jefferson held were because of his hatred towards Europe and how inefficient government was. He saw how Europe was controlled by systems of inequality, feudalism, and the right of primogeniture. He also had an animosity for the lack of unused land that can ultimately be utilized by small landholders and the corruption he finds in large growing cities. Jefferson believed in the common people, who must be filtered through the wisdom of the best bred and educated.
Tocqueville on the other hand had different views of the common man. Tocqueville, a French aristocrat, admired what the United States represented when he came to visit in the 1830s. He admired the freedom and liberties that the people had. And he also admired at the fact that there was no right of primogeniture. That anyone can become anything they chose to be in America. Tocqueville though, had slight differences from Jefferson in viewing the common man. Tocqueville saw the common people as having merely good qualities than the ruler but that the level of intelligence of a society as a whole is limited by the amount of leisure people have. Lower class people had less leisure time to focus on education and instead focused on making a living. This would mean that their decisions in voting for the best person to rule would be lacking. Also, people of low class would not always want to elect people of higher merit because for the passion of equality, it annoys them. Tocqueville also write on how are laws are founded on precedent; it is difficult for the common people to follow them on their own (Vol 1, Part 2, Chapter 8).
Jefferson’s view on today legacy of America’s common people would likely not be pleased with what the nation has become, as liberty has been eroded, equality has been set aside, preferences have risen to the forefront. Although many things such as public school and many universities and the fact the our education as a nation has grown exponentially since then, the somewhat educated 2013 America does not care about government or what it entails for us. They simply live about…