In the reading the “Radical Individualism” which is derived from the book the American Democratic in Peril the issue of individualism in the American tradition was discussed. The definition of individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses independence and self-reliance.
This reading states that America unlike the majority of other nations is based on political ideas or as quoted in the reading “The America Creed” in others says that America is not held together by common backgrounds, ethnicities or religious beliefs but is bound by the symbolism and the impact of events that made America the nation it is. Almost like a pre established code. Prior historical events are the reason we interact and live in unisons like the things we fought for in this country. Politics, equality and individualism were major thing that people have been fighting for, for years in America and throughout the world. Many individuals stood and fought for many different things that they believed in, in America.
Alexis de Tocqueville, who was a French derived political thinker and historian visited the United States and interpreted our way of life. In fact it was stated in the reading that he was the force behind the word individualism used to describe the domineers of the people in America. I find it very interesting that Tocqueville would come to America and analyze us as a people without seeing everyone in America. I also was impressed by the way he presented both sides of his story in depth.
Tocqueville was amazed by what he had saw during his visit to America. I was also intrigued by the fact that he honestly felt that America would be doomed by radical individualism but at the same time liked the idea of individualism. He felt that people or individuals rather loved being individual because of the ideas of social class mobility, you could be what you wanted to be, there where no limitations, and the possibility of becoming very rich. This also was the reason that many immigrants migrated to America for the American dream in a sense. Immigrants felt that they could come to America and if they worked hard enough they could become wealthy. Every individual felt that they had there future in there own hand. With saying this Tocqueville feared for America as a successful democracy because he felt that an one individual would acquire and attitude that everything is their own. Tocqueville felt that individualism was every affect in democracy but if it was taken to far it would override democracy. He felt that the individual would turn into what he called “egoism” egoism is “a condition that leads a person to think of all things in terms of himself and to prefer himself to all”. He feared this would cause a disconnecting with society. I disagree with this because as individual as many people are when the same things affect a numerous amount of people they natural come together and it becomes a public issue not a private issue anymore and this brings upon interconnectedness. I feel that it isn’t realistic that an individual would be able to take over a whole state.
The fact that he feels that a feeling or what he called “habits of the heart” which he states is “the unconscious feelings and attitudes, or the whole moral and intellectual state of the people” would be one of the main reasons that the American democracy would stand strong is very interesting to me. I was surprised that he didn’t think the social