Commentary Upon Alexis de Tocqueville

Commentary Upon Alexis de Tocqueville

  • Submitted By: cnelson
  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2008 2:30 PM
  • Category: Biographies
  • Words: 3347
  • Page: 14
  • Views: 1

On the very beginning, Alexis de Tocqueville did not intend to write an essay about Ireland but he was shocked by what he saw in his travel that he decided to write Alexis de Tocqueville's Journey in Ireland, July-August, 1835. This book looks like a travel book but, it is very much social, political and religious. However the originality on this book comes from its form -- indeed, the author made few comments and conclusions about what he saw and what resulted from his conversations. The conversations, too, are not usual: he only asks questions to his interlocutor. The questions seem first neutral but, actually, they let his opinions come to light. This way of proceeding looks like the way Aristotle, the philosopher from the Antiquity, discussed with people. Besides, the subjects of the book are varied and, sometimes, in a same interview, the questions have no links between them. However, the main themes are people and poverty, which leads to Irish people faced to the state -- and the relationship between state and the Catholic Church and between the latter and people.

On the first hand, the most important point that de Tocqueville noticed was the huge poverty among the population. He began his inquiry by asking several people about the population and above all about the poverty. This led him to ask these people about the poor laws and then about the relationship between the aristocracy and the people.

First, following Mr Fitzgerald, President of the Catholic College of Carlow, There is a growth of the population. Besides he quotes the Archbishop of Munster who tried to explain the cause for the growth of poverty. Indeed, following him, there is a dependence of landlords on their farmers for the elections. They divided their lands to have more farmers so more votes. But, the new election law changed this system and the landlords re-organized their estates by gathering them and so evicting many labourers and families....

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