Alexis de Tocqueville: Philosophical Method of the Americans

Alexis de Tocqueville came to America in 1831 to study America.He was an aristocratic Frenchman whose father was a royalist from Normandy.At age sixteen Tocqueville entered the College Royal in Metz and studied philosophy. During his time at college Tocqueville began to have many doubts about the role of the aristocracy in French government.After finishing at the College Royal at age eighteen, Tocqueville moved back to Paris where he then studied law.He journeyed to the United States in 1831, and studied many aspects in the democratic society.He published The U.S. Penitentiary System and its Application in France in 1833.But his most recognized work is Democracy in America, Volume I published in 1835 and Volume II in 1840.
Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about philosophy in America.He stated that America has paid the least attention to philosophy out of all the civilized countries.Americans had no schools for philosophy of their own, and they had little or no knowledge and interest of the schools that exist in Europe.Even though they had little knowledge on philosophy they all had similar thoughts which governed them according to the rules.The people shared the same philosophical method.
To avoid the issues entangled in the class system they viewed tradition as only a means of information.Facts were seen only as a lesson and were used to avoid past problems.Tocqueville wrote that the Americans "accept tradition only as a means of information, and existing facts only as a lesson to be used in doing otherwise and doing better."The American mind reasons for itself and, "each American appeals only to the individual effort of his own understanding."Because of the individuality of the American mind the works of Descartes, a French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, were not studied.The Americans did not study speculative studies because of their social conditions.