The Avatars of Religion in Tocqueville

Lucien Jaume

in Crediting God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233199
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823233212 | DOI:
The Avatars of Religion in               Tocqueville

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This chapter first discusses Tocqueville's debt to Lamennais, notably with respect to the fear of individualism and the means to maintain the social bond. Second, it examines the new meaning that Tocqueville gives to the concept of the religious, and why religion in America can be identified with what he calls the general opinion, that is, the opinion generally shared. This entails an examination of the new “authority” that is constituted by the public, an authority that fulfills the function of persuasion of individuals' minds and, in that way, forms a new ecclesiastical structure. The fourth and last point is that through this structure the “body of the people” possesses a fresh visibility under different and successive shapes.

Keywords: Tocqueville; Lamennais; individualism; religion

Chapter.  4946 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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