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Summary 2005(3)

Summary


Tocqueville, his Influence and the Question of Political Parties (Gilles Le Beguec)

Le Beguec’s essay comments upon an issue that is rather neglected in political literature: the evolution of Tocqueville’s thought on the rise and consolidation of modern political parties. He takes note of Tocqueville’s lack of a coherent and non-occasional reflection on the political party as a mechanism contributing to the development of the democratic state. However, a series of elements and a gradually increasing interest in the subject appear to reveal an evolution in Tocqueville’s ideas upon this theme. The said evolution seems to follow a highly personalised course, reflecting his declining faith in direct and highly individualistic political commitment, which led to a rethinking of the role of parties within the democratic framework. Such conduct resulted in an ambiguous and somewhat controversial legacy for the younger generations of Liberals, who were to provide the foundation of the fledgling Third French Republic.


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