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The Aristocratic Sources of Liberty
Lucien Jaume
Translated by Arthur Goldhammer

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [in PDF format]


"Jaume has written a good book in the category of contextual studies, from which anyone can learn relevant facts of his life and thought useful for understanding [Tocqueville]."--Harvey C. Mansfield, New Criterion

"[I]mpeccable scholarship."--Jeremy Jennings, Standpoint

"Jaume has given us a brilliant reading of one of the most important books about America: one that is erudite, compelling, and frustrating. The culmination of Jaume's career, it provides much more than a deeper understanding of the arguments among French intellectuals in the 1830s and '40s. . . . Jaume shows how the question of America's future was part of a vigorous debate among French intellectuals over the meaning of liberty, aristocracy, democracy, and the role of the state in social life. And though Jaume argues against such a reading, these are debates we can still learn from today."--Shamus Khan, Public Books

"[T]he book is extremely well researched and rich. . . . [T]he book will not be exclusively of interest to Tocqueville scholars but also, and perhaps mainly, to students of the early French nineteenth century."--Tommaso Giordani, European Review of History

"[R]eaders who have previously studied Tocqueville's themes will find that Jaume's multilayered narrative leads them into rarely recognized sources of his thought and provides new perspectives on the dialogical construction of his best-known texts."--Lloyd Kramer, Canadian Journal of History

"Lucien Jaume pushes our understanding of Tocqueville's intellectual biography and political theory in . . . many new directions. . . . His book will not be the final word in Tocqueville studies, but it will be one of the first books read and cited by a generation of Tocqueville scholars."--David Selby, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"There are certainly many interesting insights and new observations in the book. Jaume's erudition is obvious on every page."--Helena Rosenblatt, Intellectual History Review

"Tocqueville is a serious book written by an immensely learned man, rich in suggestions for future research."--Ashraf Ahmed, Cambridge Humanities Review

"[Jaume's] erudite study offers readers an abundance of specific insights based on intimate acquaintance with primary sources from the nineteenth century and careful attention to the historical and linguistic nuances of Tocqueville's texts."--Aristide Tessitore, Review of Politics

"Jaume's book fills an important gap in the literature about Tocqueville. It highlights the blind spots of many admirers who have only looked to America to understand Democracy."--Andreas Hess, Dublin Review of Books

"Through an in-depth analysis of primary sources, cleverly combined with the vast collection of letters and handwritten notes yet unpublished, and paying a remarkable attention to the context, Jaume convincingly shows that Tocqueville's sympathy towards the American idea of citizenship does not come from a modern form of republicanism."--Danilo Breschi, European History Quarterly

"Jaume’s challenging intellectual biography is a 'must read' for serious scholars of Tocqueville, of nineteenth-century liberalism and of the political thought of the era."--Jeff Horn, European Legacy


"Tocqueville remains the most endlessly fascinating of all modern writers about democracy. Lucien Jaume, one of France's leading intellectual historians, is an outstanding interpreter of his thought, in all its political variety. Jaume wants to re-establish the distance between 'our' Tocqueville and the man himself, a product of his time and of a distinctive aristocratic social and intellectual milieu. In doing so, he allows us to see why Tocqueville is still such an appealing and unsettling figure for our own times. A wonderfully lucid book and an indispensable guide."--David Runciman, University of Cambridge

"Long in gestation, this is a major work by a major political theorist who is insufficiently known in the Anglophone world. Lucien Jaume succeeds admirably in providing a fresh reading of Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Based on deep and wide knowledge, this magisterial interpretation will immediately be recognized as significant by Tocqueville scholars, and it also makes an important contribution to current debates about the complex relationships between religion, democracy, and liberalism."--Cheryl B. Welch, Harvard University

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File created: 8/1/2017

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