Brothers and others: Tocqueville and beaumont, U.s. Genealogy, democracy, and racism

Political Theory 32 (6):773-800 (2004)
After their voyage through the United States, Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont each wrote about the nature of race relations there. The author offers two theses regarding the nature of U.S. racism and its relation to U.S. democracy as revealed in Tocqueville's and Beaumont's texts. First, these works illustrate how European Americans, in subordinating Indians and blacks, produce not a politically and socially egalitarian democracy situated amid an otherwise racist society and culture but, rather, a social state internally structured by inegalitarian relations with non-Europeans. Second, in Tocqueville's and Beaumont's portraits there operate (1) a critical narrative of European Americans' fraternalized relations with Indians, marked by sibling-rivalry-like democratic envy, and (2) a critical narrative of European Americans' relations of absolute differentiation with blacks, marked by desire to secure inalienable status. Both strategies are, nonetheless, rooted in European American anxiety over democracy's flux
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DOI 10.1177/0090591704265931
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