Parsha in Progress Episode 15: Broken Tablets

Alexis de Tocqueville, who died 160 years ago today, was in his mid-20s when he set out for a nine-month tour of the United States. He was in an unsettled state at the time, full of energy and ambition but unable to wholeheartedly endorse either side in France’s political controversies. Tocqueville’s father, a noble from Normandy, had risen to become prefect of Versailles under the Bourbon monarchy, but the “July Revolution” of 1830 had just thrown the Bourbons out in favor of a constitutional government, and the fortunes of the aristocratic Tocqueville family were falling. Tocqueville felt politically homeless.

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