"THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN ABOUT AMERICA": VERY RARE FIRST EDITIONS IN ENGLISH OF BOTH PARTS OF TOCQUEVILLE'S MASTERPIECE, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA, WITH SCARCE FOLDING MAP
TOCQUEVILLE, Alexis de. Democracy in America. Translated by Henry Reeve. London: Saunders and Otley, 1835, 1840. Four volumes. Volumes I-II: Octavo, contemporary three-quarter brown calf, raised bands, marbled boards; Volumes III-IV: Octavo, late 19th-century three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. Housed in matching custom clamshell boxes. $60,000.
First editions in English of both parts of Tocqueville's important and influential analysis of American democracy, one of the most outstanding intellectual achievements of the 19th century—"one of the most important texts in political literature" (PMM)—with very scarce folding map colored in outline, handsomely housed in half morocco clamshell boxes.
Democracy in America is "the first systematic and empirical study of the effects of political power on modern society" (Nisbet). "One of the most important texts in political literature" (PMM 358). Commissioned by the French government, Democracy in America is the result of Tocqueville's 1831-32 tour of the United States to examine the American penal system. His extraordinary work was written and published in two distinct parts. The first part brilliantly examines contemporary American social and political institutions and practices, and the second proves that democracy could be the basis of a stable political system. Tocqueville's insights into American democracy deeply influenced European intellectual life and shaped the development of free institutions in the West. The first part of the work was published in French in 1835 and the second part in 1840; the present English editions were issued in the same years and precede the American editions of each part. Volume I with folding map and half title. Volume II bound without half title; no half titles called for in Volumes III and IV bound without rear subscription leaf (III), rear advertisement leaf (IV). Howes T278, 279. Sabin 96062, 96063. Clark III:111. Volumes I-II with armorial bookplates, small bookseller embossed stamps. Volumes III-IVwith small binder inkstamps of "W. Worsfold. London."
Volumes I-II with mere trace of foxing, small bit of archival tape reinforcement to inner verso of folding map; Volumes III-IV fine. An exceptional copy.