Tocqueville, Alexis Charles Henri Clérel de (1805–1859)
Alexis de Tocqueville was born at Verneuil, in Normandy, France, on 29 July 1805. In 1831 he journeyed to the United States with his friend Gustave de Beaumont to study the American penal system. He then wrote Democracy in America, the first volume of which appeared in 1835, the second in 1840. Tocqueville was a member of the French Chamber of Deputies and served briefly as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the republic established after the Revolution of 1848. The events of this period are recounted in his Recollections (1893). Tocqueville was among those arrested during the coup d’état of Louis Napoleon on 2 December 1851, and he subsequently retired from public life. Tocqueville devoted his last years to a major study of the French Revolution, although he completed only the first volume before his death. This appeared as The Old Régime and the French Revolution in 1856. He died at Cannes on 16 April 1859.