Democracy in the United States of America
The shortcomings of democracy in the United States of America are evident; however, its benefits can be realized in the long run. American laws are usually incomplete or substandard; nevertheless, they are more professionalized in the process of legislation. The laws on democracy are made for the benefit of a large number of people. However, lack of essential democracy skills is not fatal due to the fact that mistakes can be retrieved. Besides, individuals should always track the activities of the legislative assembly members to ensure they do not deviate from the interests of the public. Legislation might not be very skilful; however, they will not pursue aims that are very hostile to a large majority of individuals. It is in this regard that this paper will discuss the rights, judges and lawyers in relation to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.
Rights in Relation to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
The rights of the people are vital for the prosperity and cohesiveness in the society. In the US, due to the fact that everybody has some kind of property, every citizen acknowledges the right to property. Similarly, the democratic government in the US makes the concept of the political rights to go down to every citizen. In his Democracy in America, Tocqueville observes that the religious and moral concepts of rights in America appear to be vanishing; hence, it is enormously vital for people to associate the concept of rights with individual interests (Tocqueville and Reeve 1839). The USA has been capable of doing this by giving its citizens the political rights right from the beginning of the country’s existence. This is not always the case with other nations: it might not be easy to extend the political rights, since individuals might misuse these rights in order to compensate for the long period that they have been deprived of them (Tocqueville 319).
In any democracy, the ability of individuals to participate in the process of establishing laws is a strong public practice (Rogers 823). Permitting individuals to have some responsibilities in the American government makes people see that the interests of the country are theirs, and as a result, they will be very patriotic. Due to the fact that American citizens have had the privilege to exert their political rights right from the start, there is an entrenchment in their habits of freedom. According to Tocqueville, in case autocracy ever emerged in America, it would not be easy for it to conquer the habits of American people that have been developed because of the rights and freedoms they have enjoyed (Tocqueville and Reeve 1840).
While discussing the advantages of the entrenched habits of political rights in America, Tocqueville made an extremely vital comment regarding the nature of freedom as well as the complexity involved in obtaining and preserving it (Tocqueville and Reeve 1838). He stated that the vice cannot be repeated frequently as there is nothing more productive than the idea of being free; nevertheless, there is nothing more complex than the apprenticeship of freedom. Dictatorship usually portrays itself as a repair of all the evils people have suffered from, as an initiator of the order as well as the support of the justified rights (Tocqueville and Reeve 1839). These statements of Tocqueville are very essential as they demonstrate the dilemma he experienced, since his wish was to transform the political environment in France. Thus, Tocqueville did not bother about lack of apprenticeship in liberty that was witnessed in France (Tocqueville and Reeve 1838). This is mainly because the US government made it much complicated for its citizens to acknowledge the freedom that they enjoyed in the country.
The concept of democracy has some other effects on the citizens as discussed by Tocqueville in his book. He observed that the democracies in the countries do not appear to produce great men of virtue or heroism; however, they just produce average and mild characters. He noted that anything that an individual might think does not really matter, since the forces that are beyond individual control are very natural, thus resulting in the increase of equality of individual conditions. The best way to react to this is by creating the best the conditions by improving the strengths of democracy and removing its general weaknesses (Tocqueville and Reeve 1838).
Lawyers and Judges in Relation to Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
Lawyers throughout the world act as a noble class as they have a deal with the side effects associated with democracy. They develop a taste for formalities and order from their professional studies. They also develop a hate for the whims as well as enthusiasms for democracy (Slater 171). Because of the knowledge that lawyers possess, they are categorized as a privileged class, and their common law occupation has a universal link. In his book, Tocqueville observed that being hidden beneath the soul of a lawyer, an individual will get the habits and tastes of real nobility. Besides anything else, all lawyers love order. As a result of this, they become very conformist and loyal to the authority (Tocqueville and Reeve 1841).
Lawyers in any democracy are mainly capable of gaining political power due to the fact that they usually step into places where the wealthy and the upper-class reside (Slater 180). They are not disliked by people since they are usually raised in similar standards of living with the common citizens. Therefore, they have a very unique ability to blend a noble element into a democratic system (Berry, Portney, and Thompson 235).
The noble element exists in lawyers because of their knowledge as well as due to the kind of laws that exist in America. Because laws are usually established according to particular standards, it is very hard for a common citizen to follow such laws individually. Consequently, they need interpreters, who are lawyers. In the areas where laws are just written out, for instance, in France, the lawyers are not required, and therefore, they are not acknowledged (Mead 143).
In many cases, judges and lawyers influence the American democracy though courts. The laws usually diminish the judicial powers mainly by making the judges to be elected as well as by subjecting them to regular reelection, which has extremely harmed democracy. Due to the influence of the lawyers in America, the civil laws have not changed greatly, while the political laws have been changing regularly since lawyers do not have a great influence on them (Hayes 818).
Besides, even with surpassing the legal powers of the lawyers, American laws usually influence the distribution into all the political regions. The legal language is normally used, and many public officials have been lawyers previously and have kept their lawful habits (Gottschalk 290). The legal powers that lawyers have are not conspicuous but are very effective, as it involves the entire society by entrenching each of the component and work secretly upon its insensible patient.
Speaking judicially, the efficiency of the judiciary system is very contestable due to the fact that the members of the judiciary system usually do not have enough professionalism required to make certain vital decisions (Wilson 199). Nevertheless, its main benefits and importance can be observed when the jury is viewed as a political institution. The concept of the jury is very republican since it directly regulates the society to be in control of the people. The system of the jury directly affects the people’s sovereignty (Feldman 877).
Judges are brilliant in inculcating the good traditions into people’s minds. They usually instill the habits of the minds of the judicially system that are essential for an effective use of the rights, and they also educate individuals to be fair and take responsibilities for their individual actions. Besides, the juries compel citizens to put much attention to the individual affairs of other people, hence combating individualism. Thus, the jury is the most effective way of education. As Tocqueville stated, “even if the American laws were very oppressive, there would be some freedom to protect you from the manner in which the laws are implemented” (Tocqueville and Reeve 1841).
Generally, the judiciary branch usually offers an essential noble force that affects the dictatorial trend of democracy. Nevertheless, Tocqueville demonstrates how the judiciary system fights some of the defects of American democracy. He stated that “the American aristocracy is established on the bench or at the bar” (Tocqueville and Reeve 1840). The more an individual looks at what happens in America, the more he or she is convinced that the most powerful institution is formed by a legal body, and therefore it is the only balance for democracy in America. This form of counterbalance usually comes in a place where democracy requires it so as to give a healthy logical order as well as the rationality when individuals appear to be swayed easily by notions. In the book, Tocqueville observed that when American citizens become smashed by their enthusiasms or get moved away by their concepts, then the lawyers will apply a roughly invisible brake that slows and halts them (Tocqueville and Reeve 1840).
In addition, Tocqueville had highly and uniquely insightful views on the significance of the American jury system. According to him, the benefits of the jury system are not based on its ability to provide precise and just judgments (Tocqueville and Reeve 1840). Actually, he thought that judges who have many years of legal professional experience would do an excellent job compared to the inexperienced judges (Tocqueville and Reeve 1840). Nevertheless, the jury system is just beneficial in the political circle since it is a strong tool for education of the public, mainly in educating individuals on how they can correctly use their rights and freedoms.
This is a lesson that is very essential for the welfare of the American democracy. From the remarks made by Tocqueville, it is obvious that the jury system needs to be recognized as a free school where each citizen goes to learn his or her rights (Tocqueville and Reeve 1839). They will also be able to associate with highly educated and enlightened people within the society. The advocates will provide advice to each citizen so as to ensure that everyone who attends the workshop is well acquainted with his or her rights (Wilson 200).
Based on the analysis of Democracy in America by Tocqueville, it is evident that the major reason for the political good will as well as practical intelligence of the USA is the long experience that they have had with their juries in cases related to civil issues. The juries therefore offer a perfect way for both, which permits individuals to exercise their rights and freedom as well as to get educated on how to precisely use them.