Haiti in 1942

Watch it here and here


Toqueville on Democracy in America

The great advantage of the Americans is, that they have arrived at a state of democracy without having to endure a democratic revolution; and that they are born equal, instead of becoming so

– Alexis de Toqueville, Democracy in AmericaHonestly, I’m very disturbed by the latter part of the quote , “that they (Americans) are born equal.” What Toqueville might have in mind was a selective number of people, not all Americans equally. Condoleezza Rice , in a recentspeech, notes that “Black Americans were a founding population,” she said. ” Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That’s not a very pretty reality of our founding.” Furthermore, she notes that “What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn’t love and have faith in them — and that’s our legacy.”

Am I perhaps misreading Toqueville? What say you?

On Liberalism

In his influential work, THE LIBERAL TRADITION IN AMERICA :
An Interpretation of American Political Thought Since the Revolution
, Louis Hartz defines liberalism in the following words,

One can use the term ‘Liberal Reform’ to describe the Western movement which emerged toward the end of the nineteenth century to adapt classical liberalism to the purposes of small propertied interests and the laboring class and at the same time which rejected socialism. Nor is this movement without its ties to the earlier era….But the American movement, now as during that age itself, was in a unique position. For swallowing up both peasantry and proletariat into the ‘petit-bourgeois’ scheme, America created two unusual effects. It prevented socialism from challenging its Liberal Reform in any effective way, and at the same time it enslaved its Liberal Reform to the Alger dream of democratic capitalism.”

– (Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America , 228)