The Power of the Majority over Thought

While Alexis de Tocqueville mourned a lack of "freedom of discussion" in America in the early republic, today's pupils are concerned about peer pressure. Using excerpts of de Tocqueville's writing and discussion questions, scholars consider how these two dynamics are similar. Prompts probe the significance of these concerns for today's democracy.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Ask class members to come up with current examples of de Tocqueville's main ideas
  • Compare the dynamics in the lesson to those in works of fiction learners have already read
Classroom Considerations
  • Final installment in the "Tyranny of the Majority" three-part series
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
  • Resource makes ideas in the early republic relevant to today
  • Teaching notes make using the resource simple
  • None