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Alexis De Tocqueville: Civil Society as a Voluntary Social Organization

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 Alexis De Tocqueville from what I have gathered about him I find him very interesting. His determination for looking at every aspect of America’s political system and everyday life astounds me. While reading about his views, De Tocqueville presented civil society as voluntary and as a nonpolitical social organization. From what I learned in class I find that spot on. He later goes on to talk about diversity and associations that are mainly on the path of inclusion such as religious organizations. One thing that I love about the States is the diversity and that there are people from all kinds of ethnicities and backgrounds to help protect diversity by coming together and helping one another with anything we can. With this, we all become a powerful group. From what I have read through De Tocqueville without civil society we isolate ourselves from society.

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Civil society and associations give us humanity. The good deeds we do for others to help them when all else fails, and its what we as a whole do for the common good. Not only do we stop the government from becoming too powerful, but we also help the people that the government cant. Social media is taking a huge role in spreading awarness for every issue. When we can actually see the problem, it gives people a reality check and makes them want to help.

In my opinion, the three most important values we as Americans have are liberty, equality, and democracy. I chose those three because when I picture what our nation stands for and what so many decades of hard work and suffering went into our world today I can proudly say we have made big progress. With that being said I know that we still have a very long road ahead, but millennials and associations are taking charge and making a stand.

De Tocuevilli said, “Amongst democratic nations, on the contrary, all the citizens are independent and feeble; they can do hardly anything by themselves, and none of them can oblige his fellow-men to lend him their assistance. They all, therefore, fall into a state of incapacity, if they do not learn voluntarily to help each other. If men living in democratic countries had no right and no inclination to associate for political purposes, their independence would be in great jeopardy; but they might long preserve their wealth and their cultivation: whereas if they never acquired the habit of forming associations in ordinary life, civilization itself would be endangered.” This quote really stuck with me because it made me realize that without volunteerism and associations that our own independent power is at risk. We lose the strength we have as a whole and political power would be out of our control. This is very frightening for many reasons because so many political leaders come from a certain background that didn’t need any assistance from associations and therefore they don’t know what the majority of Americans go through. If they do not understand and don’t come from that viewpoint they will probably never be willing to do everything in their efforts to help the ones they cant reach (the gaps).

Having liberty, equality, and democracy in our nation is a big part of why we have nonprofits. They fill in the gaps the government cant reach and they have a different perspective then the officials sitting in office. These factors make it crucial to start off small and make your voice heard.

With the nonprofit sector becoming so big and so many organizations forming I feel as though De Toquevilli would be surprised at how much it has grown. I feel as though it would please him greatly by how much power and control associations have and the volunteers giving their services.

Humanity, in my opinion, is coming to the point where people only look out for their own interests, but it is very heartwarming that there are people in the world who genuinely want to give their help for the greater good. The amount of people organizations help because the government can’t is astounding and gives me hope. It gives me hope for a better tomorrow and that in the near future we can all be closer to complete equality. I feel as though De Toquevilli had wanted the same and comparing how much these nonprofits have thrived since De Toquevilli came to the United States until now, I am very happy at the growth and can only hope it keeps growing.

I think that having equality and everyone having the help to grow is an amazing social and political idea that the U.S. has been a great leader in. With these organizations and their goals I think that if we all just take a minute out of our day to do something small to help people from the goodness of our hearts, we will in the future thrive as a whole. And that would be an ideal society.  

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