Tocqueville in English
Democracy in America was first translated into English by Henry Reeve, a friend of Tocqueville. The author criticized Reeve for the liberties he took with the text, including a tendency to downplay positive evaluations of democracy. Reeve, for instance, omitted Tocqueville’s chapter on civic associations. American philosopher Francis Bowen amended the translation in 1862, restoring that chapter. A variety of English language editions followed, as Tocqueville’s work settled into its status as a classic of political thought—a touchstone for reflection on American society and the habits of a people who for Tocqueville balanced democratic individualism with the practice of joining together to pursue common aims.