An exclusive new translation of the most perceptive and influential book ever written about American politics and society—“the bible on democracy” (The Texas Observer) Alexis de Tocqueville, a young aristocratic French lawyer, came to the United States in 1831 to study its penitentiary systems. His nine-month visit and subsequent reading and reflection resulted in this landmark masterpiece of political observation and analysis. In Democracy in America, Tocqueville vividly describes the unprecedented social equality he found in America and explores its implications for European society in the emerging modern era. His book provides enduring insight into the political consequences of widespread property ownership, the potential dangers to liberty inherent in majority rule, the vital role of religion in American life, and the importance of civil institutions in an individualistic culture dominated by the pursuit of material self-interest. He also probes the deep differences between the free and slave states, writing prophetically of racism, bigotry, and prejudice in the United States. Brought to life by Arthur Goldhammer’s clear, fluid, and vigorous translation, this volume of Democracy in America is the first to fully capture Tocqueville’s achievements both as an accomplished literary stylist and as a profound political thinker.