Tocqueville's resistance to the social

History of European Ideas 30 (1):83-107 (2004)
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This essay examines Tocqueville's conception of the “social” against the background of debates over the relationship between the social and the political in France from the Revolution to mid-century. It focuses on three groups: those associated with the social philosophy of industrialisme, those concerned with the evils of pauperism from the standpoint of Catholic social reform, and those allied with the new Doctrinaire view of society and politics. It argues that Tocqueville consistently resisted the primacy of the “social” as articulated by these thinkers, even in the seductive form offered by François Guizot, whose influence on Tocqueville is examined in light of recent debates over this issue



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Cheryl Welch
Harvard University

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