De Tocqueville and Public Administration

What Alexis de Tocqueville really thought about American public administration.

Discusses Tocqueville’s observations about public administration in the United States. Argues that Richard Stillman II incorrectly concludes that Tocqueville is condemning American administration. The paper asserts that Tocqueville understood that the weaknesses in American administration were by design in order to prevent tyranny and over-centralization.
Often times, it seems that the best critic is an outside observer? one who can offer plain insight without prideful bias. This is demonstrated by the fact that the best-known commentary on American politics and administration was written not by an American, but by a 26-year-old Frenchman by the name of Alexis de Tocqueville. As an outsider, he had a much clearer perspective than those around him and was able to more accurately report on both the strengths and weaknesses of the American system.

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