Soft tyranny

Soft tyranny is an idea first coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 work entitled "Democracy in America". [Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America" (New York: Bantam Books, 2000), 9-15.] In effect, soft tyranny occurs whenever the social conditions of a particular community hinder any prospect of hope among its members. [Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America" (New York: Bantam Books, 2000), 9-15.] For Tocqueville, hope is the driving force behind all democratic institutions. [Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America" (New York: Bantam Books, 2000), 9-15.] As such, whenever this all-encompassing hope is taken away from the people, liberal democracy fails. Examples of this failure can be seen in the Weimar Republic of Germany during the 1930s or in the French Third Republic around 1940. Hope for a better future effectively died in both of the aforementioned situations. As a result, fascist regimes were established to fill the void left by the departure of hope.

Inciting Rebellions

Soft tyranny is often cited by historians as being the driving force behind many insurrections. The most obvious area in which soft tyranny affects people occurs with their fiscal situations. Price control is typically considered to be a common feature associated with communist societies; however, it relates directly to not only rebellion, but also soft tyranny. For example, when seigneurial rights, such as land taxes and byway tolls, began to seriously irritate the French peasantry in the mid-eighteenth century, violence in the form of rioting emerged as a consequence. [John Markoff, "Peasants and their Grievances," "The Origins of the French Revolution," ed. Peter Campbell (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2006), 243.] In effect, the price of bread, which was a staple in the peasant diet, increased to the point where common peasants could not afford to purchase it on a daily basis. [ John Markoff, "Peasants and their Grievances," "The Origins of the French Revolution," ed. Peter Campbell (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2006), 247.] And whenever people cannot feed themselves, havoc tends to ensue. This instance in mid-eighteenth century France exemplifies a form of soft tyranny which can quietly disrupt and eventually unravel an entire socio-economic order.

References

External links

* [http://theconfessingcow.blogspot.com/2006/12/tocquevilles-times.html Tocqueville's Times] , blog entry concerning "soft tyranny" and Alexis de Tocqueville.
* [http://www.tocqueville.org/ In Search of Tocqueville's "Democracy in America"] , information and resources about Alexis de Tocqueville.
* [http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/home.html Democracy in America] , hypertext with a gallery of related projects describing America ca. 1820–1840.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Liberty — This article is about the political philosophy. For other uses, see Liberty (disambiguation). Part of a series on Freedom …   Wikipedia

  • List of topics in social and political philosophy — * And theory of conservatism * A Conflict of Visions * A Few Words on Non Intervention * A Vindication of the Rights of Men * Accountability * Action theory * Actual Idealism * Adam Müller * Adamites * Agency (philosophy) * Aggravation of class… …   Wikipedia

  • Mutual liberty — is an idea first coined by Alexis de Tocqueville in his 1835 work Democracy in America.[1] In effect, Tocqueville was referring to the general nature of American society during the 19th century. It appeared to him, at least on the surface, that… …   Wikipedia

  • international relations — a branch of political science dealing with the relations between nations. [1970 75] * * * Study of the relations of states with each other and with international organizations and certain subnational entities (e.g., bureaucracies and political… …   Universalium

  • United States — a republic in the N Western Hemisphere comprising 48 conterminous states, the District of Columbia, and Alaska in North America, and Hawaii in the N Pacific. 267,954,767; conterminous United States, 3,022,387 sq. mi. (7,827,982 sq. km); with… …   Universalium

  • ancient Greek civilization — ▪ historical region, Eurasia Introduction       the period following Mycenaean civilization, which ended in about 1200 BC, to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific… …   Universalium

  • Blue Öyster Cult — The title of this article contains the character Ö. Where it is unavailable or not desired, the name may be represented as Blue Oyster Cult. Blue Öyster Cult Background information …   Wikipedia

  • Blue Öyster Cult — (2006) Основная ин …   Википедия

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Blue Oyster Cult — Blue Öyster Cult Blue Öyster Cult Le Cronos du BöC Naissance 1967 aujourd hui Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.