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Alexis de Tocqueville and the Second Republic, 1848-1852: A Study in Political Practice and Principles
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Alexis de Tocqueville and the Second Republic, 1848-1852: A Study in Political Practice and Principles (Paperback)

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Drawing upon a variety of primary sources, this work scrutinizes Tocqueville's actual political action in 1848-1852 and suggests his famous Souvenirs (Recollections) reflect second thoughts more than deeds. As a pragmatic strategist operating from a small left-center faction, Tocqueville attempted to construct a future France uniting political liberty (including universal manhood suffrage) with social stability. The book details Tocqueville's contribution to the new constitution and concludes he deliberately strengthened the executive branch to counterbalance the strong unicameral legislature. While opposed to socialism, he advocated major advances in public education and government assistance to the poor. The work explores his relationship with Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. Tocqueville cultivated friendship with President Bonaparte, whom he hoped to utilize for his own political purposes. Tocqueville eagerly became Lois Napoleon's Foreign Minister and shared his desire for liberalizing the Papal government of Rome while suppressing domestic radicalism. As President Bonaparte approached the end of his constitutionally allowable term, Tocqueville advocated amendment of the constitution (unsuccessfully) and an illegal election to allow Louis Napoleon to retain power. He considered this the best option for preserving order and some liberty. However, he opposed Presidential use of military force and protested the coup of December 2, 1851. Ultimately Tocqueville blamed extremists, both socialists and reactionaries, for the destruction of the moderate republic he had labored to found.

History & PoliticsRegional & national historyEuropean history Publisher: University Press of America Publication Date: 02/04/2003 ISBN-13: 9780761825050  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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Sharon B. Watkins is Associate Professor, Department of History, Western Illinois University.

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