Home > Sample essays > Exploring Tocqueville’s and Marx’s Philosophy of Democracy: Examine the Role of Ideals

Essay: Exploring Tocqueville’s and Marx’s Philosophy of Democracy: Examine the Role of Ideals

Essay details and download:

  • Subject area(s): Sample essays
  • Reading time: 11 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published: 1 April 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 3,094 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 13 (approx)
  • Tags: Marxism essays

Text preview of this essay:

This page of the essay has 3,094 words. Download the full version above.



Marx’s theory of mankind, has an significant understanding in his originality in history, his critique of capitalism and liberal democracy, and  his theory of unfriendliness and his obligation and commitment to communism.

Marx supposed that the history of communism involved a continuous change of human nature, that nature is not immutable but focus on the social effect and social conditioning although, for Marx the social world is the world in which “man produces the requirements and neediness of life”.

Liberal rights and justice support the idea that each of us need protection and support from one another, these legal rights are rights of parting and separation. freedom from interference and freedom to obtain property. Marx says “thus the right of man to property is the right to enjoy his possessions and dispose of the same arbitrarily, without regard for other men, independently from society, the right to selfishness” this Marx explains, “leads man to see other men not as the realization, but the limitation of his own freedom”  Insisting on a regime of rights constituted by law supports the idea to notice and recognize other humans as a threat to our “free will and our integrity”.

J.S. Mill’s understandings of freedom and their analyses of the impediments to its realization. Marx’ and Mill’s philosophy, they share the two concept idea’s that growth and development is possible. Many will describe Progress as “development”. However, progress original definition is defined as “development towards a more advanced condition.” Although For Marx, progress is revealed through his justification of the history behind materialism. Historical materialism places changes in financial stage as the basis for changes in the structure of society. Variations and changes of the economic system are recognized by technological transformations. For instance, with the transformation introduced by the Industrial Revolution, the economic system of feudalism was changed and replaced by capitalism. Consequently, the superstructures associated with feudalism, such as serfdom, were excluded by the bourgeois revolution, which familiarized a new structure and new classes for the individuals such as bourgeoisie and proletariat. Therefore, Marx’s justification of past historical belief that materialism is the idea that progress is possible.

In the communist manifesto Marx outlined the following 10 points” Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. Abolition of all right of inheritance. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies especially for agriculture. The manifesto refers to the state That makes even a pure visualization of communism that may sound like socialism. But Marx argued that state ownership is a valid stage in the transition to communism. 

Tocqueville’s “America” is the typical case study for the interpretation of contemporary democracy, and his “Americans” the remaining example of democratic citizens. During this time, Tocqueville discusses America through the prism of democracy, or the equality of conditions. As “Democracy in America” publicized, Tocqueville believed that equality was the great political and social idea of his era, and he thought that the United States for bided the examples of the most effective examples of what equality is and the actions of equality. He appreciated American individualism but was advised that a society of many different individuals can easily be influenced in becoming atomized and ironically uniform when “every citizen, being adapted to all the rest, is lost in the crowd.” He felt that a society of individuals lacked the transition of social structures such as those offered by established orders to resolve and mediate between the relations with the state. The outcome might be a democratic “tyranny of the majority” in which individual rights were compromised.

Tocqueville was fascinated by much of what he saw in American lifespan, appreciating the strength and stability of its reduced economy and wondering the popularity of its churches. He also noticed the irony of the freedom loving nation’s neglected the Native Americans and its embrace the oppression of slavery.

Nietzsche's views on democracy are unpredictable and vary over time.  Nietzsche saw democracy as cultivating "herd mentality", which in his belief would breed mediocrity. He wants the very few people who live their day to day regular realistic life style.

He was not in favor of democracy nor a hierarchical structure. in terms of the main factors of his work is the criticism of what he calls the idols and ideals.

Nietzsche rejects any ideal. He's believes the idea that you should have an ideal to get inspired from or to reach. An ideal can be the religious ideals who believe in God, heaven, etc but also the belief of an atheist "religions" similar to,  such as democracy, anarchism, and communism. He is against people who have strong convictional faith.  He is also against any superior values and morals. His idea is that these ideals such as communism, have a similar common fact  of the denial in the real world. Deistic religions and atheistic religions such as democracy, socialism, views on advising principles to flourish for the denial in the real world.

So based on his huge critic about having ideals (nihilism as he calls it), he is against democracy and against classified structure as well since both of these are theories referring to something exemplarily similar to the real world. Democracy is not just a "how to organize a group of people" method, it's an ideal since it suggest that the perfect way to handle things is to do it this way and not any other. Democracy does not refer to the real world; it suggests that the real world should aim towards a democratic system. he's against theories and ideas that assume something is better than the real world. He is against this effect Because he thinks theories and ideas encouraging something idealistic is the fact of the real denial in the real world, it's the act of ignoring it and it creates an impression. To Nietzsche, Mankind creates and impressionable illusions by creating ideals.

Question1: In both Alexis de Tocqueville's "Democracy in America" and John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty" the concept of the tyranny of the majority and its relationship to individual rights are present in the texts. Using these two definitions of the tyranny of the majority explain how they are connected to individual rights and freedoms of press and expression.

   He was particularly impressed by the role of freedom of association the reinforcement collective action, freedom of the press in serving as a regulator for the individuals, and religious freedom in supporting the views that define the American character. Tocqueville views on tyranny of the majority, breaks down Tocqueville’s argument into three arguments component parts.   introducing Tocqueville’s thesis about the authority being the all-powerful character, of the majority in a democracy and his optimistic way of developing an disagreement with appropriate historical patterned examples.

  The argument of political power then leads to tyranny. Tocqueville offers two attention-grabbing and illuminating examples of, mob violence against anti-war journalists in the War of 1812 and the way free blacks are preventing from voting in the Northern states. Lastly Tocqueville’s most appalling claim that there is less freedom of discussion and individuality freedom of mind in America than in Europe, with negative outcome values for American character and culture.

   A closer look at de Tocqueville's views on American democracy

Was stated in the book when de Tocqueville provides an impression of the geography of the United States, the origins of its most relevant characteristic democracy and the exceptional control of the people when dealing with the moderating effects of pluralism to conflict the possibility tyranny of the majority. De Tocqueville, was steeped in the knowledge of the opposing effects of pure democratic rule. Impressed by the patriotism, loyalty and civic-mindedness of Americans, he expresses an optimism that liberty and equality can coexist.

    In the second argument, which was emphasized more than the first point in his argument he offers an analysis of democracy, attributing to it a dangerous tendency toward political apathy. De Tocqueville identifies this tendency as the most threat to liberty freedom because of the risk and chances of such apathy leading to tyranny.

De Tocqueville supposed the United States as “egalitarian”, individualistic, decentralized, religious, property loving, and lightly governed. De Tocqueville reports that it is the unlimited freedom to associate for political goals that stops and prevents tyranny of the majority, because in a country where associations are free, secret societies are unknown. Although, there may be controversial persons, but there are no conspirators.

   Religious toleration and the knowledge of a spiritual nation without a state religion befuddled de Tocqueville. Church and state remained separate but seemed alongside the reasoning to prevent the religious oppression that historically had led to divisiveness within the country’s populations.

In On Liberty, John Stuart Mill argues the classical liberal principles that  support democracies. Many Political thinkers in Mill’s era were troubled with the limitation of the over powering control the government should have over the actions and beliefs of an individuals., Mill emphasized that in order for society to progress an individual to live flourishing lives, individuals must have self-sufficiency over their significant choices, beliefs and actions. The state can control if a person’s actions are going to harm someone else, but if no harm will be made, then the individual should have the freedom of choice to believe or act how one decides to act. However, mills focuses on “The practical principle which guides them to their opinions on the regulation of human conduct, is the feeling in each person's mind that everybody should be required to act as he, and those with whom he sympathises, would like them to act. No one, indeed, acknowledges to himself that his standard of judgment is his own liking; but an opinion on a point of conduct, not supported by reasons, can only count as one person's preference; and if the reasons, when given, are a mere appeal to a similar preference felt by other people, it is still only many people's liking instead of one.”  He argues how one may feel for example Being upset, or angered is not a reason for a person’s freedom to be controlled. This is especially presented to be true, in Mill’s view, in the “realm of speech”. Mill presents three main arguments as to why speech should not be overpowered, even if the majority of individuals in a society think the understandings communicates may or can be incorrect or harmful to one.

As the theory of liberty it’s a main focus in this book is Mills hints the evolution of the idea of liberty over time. Mill defines liberty as” the limits that must be set on society’s power over individuals.” In this period of tyranny, applying liberty meant to protect those from tyrants. However, in our era, the individual must be protected from “tyranny of the majority” this was the leaning opportunity for people in the majority to enforce their beliefs, wills and thought on people in the minority. Mill focuses on three types of liberty that must be defended from tyranny such as liberty of belief, liberty to have the ability to plan our own lives, and the liberty to join with other common individuals where this does not harm anybody.

At first, Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority and is still improperly held in dread and mainly functioning through the acts of the authority establishments. But reflecting an individual that supposed when society is the tyrant however, Society collectively separate individuals who compose it and its means of tyrannising are not limited to the acts which it may do by the political functionaries. Society may execute its own mandates and if it effects the wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates in things with which it must not to interfere, it also practices a social tyranny more difficult than many different kinds of political oppression, usually advocated by such extreme disadvantages, it separates less means of escape, powerful and deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the humanity soul. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the official is not enough, there needs to be higher protection against the tyranny of the main opinion and feelings against the movement of society to be enforce by other resources instead of civil penalties, its own thoughts and gets ready as guidelines of lead on the individuals who disagree from them to chain the improvement, and, if conceivable, keep the arrangement, of any singularity not in amicability with its ways, and constrain all characters to design themselves upon the model of its own. There is a farthest point to the real obstruction of aggregate conclusion with individual freedom: and to find that breaking point, and keep up it against infringement, is as essential to a decent state of human undertakings, as assurance against political oppression.

Question 9: Power is a theme prominent in both Nietzsche and Foucault. Define and compare and contrast each of these thinkers understanding of power.

 Nietzsche describes The will to power Nietzsche believed to be the main driving force in human’s achievement, ambition, and the striving to reach the highest possible position in life.

As indicated by Nietzsche, everything is in change, and there is no such thing as settled being. Matter is, continually moving and changing, as are thoughts, learning, truth, and everything else. The will to control is the central motor of this change. For Nietzsche, the universe is basically made up not of realities or things yet rather of wills. The possibility of the human spirit or sense of self is only a linguistic fiction, as indicated by Nietzsche. What we call "I" is extremely a tumultuous clutter of contending wills, always attempting to conquer each other. Since change is a major part of life, Nietzsche considers any perspective that takes reality to be settled and objective, be it religious, logical, or philosophical, as life denying. A genuinely invigorating logic grasps change and perceives in the will to control that change is the main steady on the planet.

  In early works like "Human, All Too Human" and "Day break," Nietzsche commits a lot of his regard for psychology science. He doesn't speak expressly about a "will to power," yet on numerous occasions he clarifies parts of human conduct as far as a longing for control or authority over others, oneself, or nature. In "The Gay Science" he starts to be more unequivocal, and "thus Spoke Zarathustra" he starts to utilize the articulation "will to power."

The will to control as Nietzsche considers it is neither great nor terrible. It is an essential drive found in everybody, except one that conveys what needs be in a wide range of ways. The scholar and the researcher guide their will to control into a will to truth.

As though Foucault belief on Power and Knowledge according to Foucault is a multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate and which constitute their own organization. In Foucault, the idea of power is very similar to Nietzsche’s will-to-power, for, in his thought, power primarily constitutes the constant power relations which necessarily exist between living beings. For instance, in the interview “Truth and Power,” he states that 

the history which bears and determines us has the form of a war rather that of a language: relations of power, not relations of meaning. History has no “meaning,” though this is not to say that it is absurd or incoherent.

For or Foucault, power and knowledge are not seen as autonomous elements but rather are inseparably related however learning is dependably an activity of intensity and power dependably a component of information. Maybe his most celebrated case of a routine with regards to control/information is that of the admission as outlined in History of Sexuality. Once solely a practice of the Christian Church, Foucault argues that it became diffused into secular culture (and especially psychology) in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Through the confession which is also a  form of power. People were encouraged to “tell the truth” in order to produce knowledge about their sexual desires, emotions, and dispositions. Through these confessions, the idea of a sexual individuality at the core of the self-came into existence again, which is also a form of knowledge, an identity that had to be monitored, cultivated, and often controlled again, back to power. It is important to note that Foucault understood power/knowledge as productive as well as constraining. Power/knowledge not only limits what we can do, but also opens up new ways of acting and thinking about ourselves.

Foucault argues that discipline is a mechanism of power that regulates the thought and behavior of social actors through subtle means. In contrast to the brute, sovereign force exercised by monarchs or lords, discipline works by organizing space for example the way a prison or classroom is built, time is also the set times you are expected to be at work each day, and everyday activities. Surveillance is also an integral part of disciplinary practices. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault argues that modern society is a “disciplinary society,” meaning that power in our time is largely exercised through disciplinary means in a variety of institutions for example prisons, schools, hospitals, militaries.

A short examination of Nietzsche's and Foucault's idea has shown their huge comparability. In spite of the fact that Foucault does not concur with the entire of Nietzsche's reasoning, he cites him broadly, and we may view Nietzsche as the most imperative impact applied on Foucault. Nietzsche's real themes are imitated in Foucault's genealogical idea with a striking similitude. Initially, the possibility that the subject has no ontological premise, and that, in like manner, family history is the best verifiable procedure to contemplate the individual. Second, both were to a great degree inspired by power in social circles. In present day social orders, as they both show, the will to control is regularly inconspicuously changed into the will to information or the will to truth. They both likewise demonstrate that power is the significant power that makes subjects. For example, Foucault demonstrates that in dismissing homosexuality, the Victorians automatic made another class of people, and combined subjects. Most importantly, they demonstrate that information and truth can never be autonomous from power and thusly unbiasedly outlandish.

...(download the rest of the essay above)

Discover more:

About this essay:

If you use part of this page in your own work, you need to provide a citation, as follows:

Essay Sauce, Exploring Tocqueville’s and Marx’s Philosophy of Democracy: Examine the Role of Ideals. Available from:<https://www.essaysauce.com/sample-essays/2018-11-15-1542298101/> [Accessed 20-06-24].

These Sample essays have been submitted to us by students in order to help you with your studies.

* This essay may have been previously published on Essay.uk.com at an earlier date.