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Boundaries of the State In Us History$
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James T. Sparrow, William J. Novak, and Stephen W. Sawyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226277646

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226277813.001.0001

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Beyond Tocqueville’s Myth: Rethinking the Model of the American State

Beyond Tocqueville’s Myth: Rethinking the Model of the American State

Chapter:
(p.57) Two Beyond Tocqueville’s Myth: Rethinking the Model of the American State
Source:
Boundaries of the State In Us History
Author(s):

Stephen W. Sawyer

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226277813.003.0002

It is striking the extent to which Tocqueville's vision of US politics has trumped all other visions of the American state abroad during this formative period. This essay is part of a broader attempt to explore writers and historians who uncovered a very different American state in the nineteenth century. By focusing on other interpretations of the American state—especially that of Adolphe Thiers—it attempts to puncture the reigning myth of nineteenth-century American statelessness from the oblique angle of Europe at the same time that it gives voice to those observers whose interpretations more satisfactorily reconcile the past and present of American public power and its legacy across the world.

Keywords:   French liberalism, American State, French State, American liberalism, Civil War, The Paris Commune, democracy, civil society, Alexis de Tocqueville, Adolphe Thiers

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