The making of Tocqueville's America : law and association in the early United States (Book, 2015) [WorldCat.org]
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The making of Tocqueville's America : law and association in the early United States

Author: Kevin Butterfield
Publisher: Chicago : The University of Chicago Press, 2015. ©2015
Series: Historical studies of urban America.; American beginnings, 1500-1900.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Alexis de Tocqueville was among the first to draw attention to Americans' propensity to form voluntary associations - and to join them voluntary associations - and to join them with a fervor and frequency unmatched anywhere in the world. For nearly two centuries, we have sought to understand how and why early nineteenth-century Americans were, in Tocqueville's words, "forever forming associations." In The Making of  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Kevin Butterfield
ISBN: 9780226297088 022629708X
OCLC Number: 904413575
Notes: Series "American beginnings, 1500-1900" appears only on dust jacket.
Description: viii, 311 pages ; 24 cm.
Contents: Part I. The concept of membership in America, 1783-1815 --
Friendship, formalities, and membership in post-revolutionary America --
Politics, citizenship, and association --
A common law of membership --
Part II. Practices and limits, 1800-1840 --
Everyday constitutionalism in a nation of joiners --
When shareholders were members : the business corporation as voluntary association --
Determining the rights of members --
Part III. Consequences : civil society in antebellum America --
Labor unions and an American law of membership --
Conclusion : the concept of membership in the age of reform.
Series Title: Historical studies of urban America.; American beginnings, 1500-1900.
Responsibility: Kevin Butterfield.

Abstract:

Alexis de Tocqueville was among the first to draw attention to Americans' propensity to form voluntary associations - and to join them voluntary associations - and to join them with a fervor and frequency unmatched anywhere in the world. For nearly two centuries, we have sought to understand how and why early nineteenth-century Americans were, in Tocqueville's words, "forever forming associations." In The Making of Tocqueville's America, Kevin Butterfield argues that to understand this, we need to first ask: what did membership really mean to the growing number of affiliated Americans? Butterfield explains that the first generations of American citizens found in the concept of membership - in churches, fraternities, reform societies, labor unions, mechanism to balance the tension between collective action and personal autonomy, something they accomplished by emphasizing law and procedural fairness. As this post-Revolutionary procedural culture developed, so too did the legal substructure of American civil society. Tocqueville, then, was wrong to see associations as the training ground for democracy, where people learned to honor one another's voices and perspectives. Rather, they were the training ground for something no less valuable to the success of the American democratic experiment: increasingly formal and legalistic relations among people. -- from dust jacket.

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