TOCQUEVILLE, Alexis de (1805-1859). De la Démocratie en Amérique. Paris: Charles Gosselin, 1835-1840.
4 volumes, 8o (197 x 129 mm). Half-title vol. 4 only. Woodcut publisher's device on titles, folding hand-colored lithographic map in vol. one. Pagination: vol. one, 367 pages; vol. 2, 459 pages; vol. 3, 333 pages; vol. 4, 363 pages. (Some leaves with browning, spotting, or staining, map with a few short marginal tears, a few repaired, title to vol. 3 with short tear repaired and mounted on a stub). Modern quarter leather. Provenance: Casino Litteraire (stamps on titles).
FIRST EDITION with pagination from vols. one and two conforming to Sabin and Howes, and the second part labeled volumes 3 and 4 on title. In his classic work on the American constitution, de Tocqueville was the first to wrestle with the spectacle of a "new" society, and the first to deal connectedly with the extraordinary size and natural wealth of America; however his work has been described as "tense with ambivalence." While he believed in the liberal commonplaces of his time, he also distrusted a society based on individualism, and deplored a politics dominated by self-interest. De Tocqueville's is the most perceptive inquiry into the nature and institutions of American society made by a foreign observer. It was written and published in two parts. The first, comprising volumes one and two, was published in Paris in 1835. Its popularity was immediate as two further Paris editions appeared in the same year and another in Brussels. The second part, volumes 3 and 4, appeared in 1840. Goldsmiths' 28902 (part I only); Howes T-278, T-279; Sabin 96060, 96061. (4)