Tocqueville and Marx: Not Opposites
48 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009
Date Written: 2009
Several decades ago when I was a graduate student in political science, the common wisdom among eminent social scientists concluded that Tocqueville was the liberal answer to Marx.1 Writing at approximately the same time, diagnosing the social and political ills of the mid-nineteenth century, and predicting the future, Tocqueville and Marx appeared to many as opposites, and because Marx was wrong, then Tocqueville must be right. More specifically, these political scientists claimed that Tocqueville correctly predicted that a vibrant pluralism would substantively uphold democratic traditions, whereas Marx failed in his prediction of an end to class struggle and the emergence of a classless society.
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