The Making Of Tocqueville's America: Law And Association In The Early United States

Hardcover | November 19, 2015

byKevin Butterfield

not yet rated|write a review
Alexis de Tocqueville was among the first to draw attention to Americans’ propensity to form voluntary associations—and to join them with a fervor and frequency unmatched anywhere in the world. For nearly two centuries, we have sought to understand how and why early nineteenth-century Americans were, in Tocqueville’s words, “forever forming associations.” In The Making of Tocqueville’s America, Kevin Butterfield argues that to understand this, we need to first ask: what did membership really mean to the growing number of affiliated Americans?

Butterfield explains that the first generations of American citizens found in the concept of membership—in churches, fraternities, reform societies, labor unions, and private business corporations—a mechanism to balance the tension between collective action and personal autonomy, something they accomplished by emphasizing law and procedural fairness. As this post-Revolutionary procedural culture developed, so too did the legal substructure of American civil society. Tocqueville, then, was wrong to see associations as the training ground for democracy, where people learned to honor one another’s voices and perspectives. Rather, they were the training ground for something no less valuable to the success of the American democratic experiment: increasingly formal and legalistic relations among people.

Pricing and Purchase Info

$52.00

In stock online
Ships free on orders over $25

From the Publisher

Alexis de Tocqueville was among the first to draw attention to Americans’ propensity to form voluntary associations—and to join them with a fervor and frequency unmatched anywhere in the world. For nearly two centuries, we have sought to understand how and why early nineteenth-century Americans were, in Tocqueville’s words, “forever fo...

Kevin Butterfield is assistant professor of classics and letters at the University of Oklahoma, where he is also senior associate director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage.

other books by Kevin Butterfield

Stormwalkers
Stormwalkers

Kobo ebook|Feb 3 2015

$4.84

Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:November 19, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022629708X

ISBN - 13:9780226297088

Look for similar items by category:

Customer Reviews of The Making Of Tocqueville's America: Law And Association In The Early United States

Reviews

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

“The Making of Tocqueville’s America shows that law’s transformation ‘from Status to Contract’ in the nineteenth century was far from linear. Judges strategically inserted themselves into and subsequently withdrew from American associational life once the rules and principles of a ‘common law of membership’ had permeated citizens’ consciousness. Scholars working on nineteenth century law would thus do well to take this flexible form of judicial regulation as a starting point for further inquiry. . . . Perhaps the most fundamental question Butterfield’s work opens up is about law’s role in creating or dismantling community. Is law more Gemeinschaft or Gesellschaft? And if it can be part of either, what—if anything—does this mean for Tönnies’s aphorism? Scholars intent on confronting these questions certainly have much to learn from Butterfield’s focus on the way law is experienced by its subjects. His combination of socio-legal theory with archival materials furthermore commends itself for imitation. . . . A fascinating read.”