What Tocqueville Saw in the Courts

Source: Law & Liberty
by Alan Kahan

“Alexis de Tocqueville was a lawyer. Although by all accounts he was not a courtroom star, his brief legal career (he spent 4 years as the equivalent of an assistant public prosecutor) left a strong mark on him. Wherever he travelled, and whatever he wrote, he paid considerable attention to the judicial system. In the American case, Tocqueville studied the text of the Constitution, was a close reader of the Federalist Papers, spoke with Joseph Story and James Kent, perhaps the greatest American jurists of their time, and read their legal and constitutional commentaries. He attended trials and discussed the legal system with many American lawyers. Partly this was a result of his ostensible mission in the United States, to study the American penal system, but mostly it was because of his abiding interest in the law.” (09/12/23)