Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Michel’s remain some of the renowned and proficient scholars who contributed in the development of sociology. They published and wrote numerous sociological materials in pursuit of addressing social constructs and challenges that faced humanity. Their social background, education, and career are some of the pertinent factors that played an integral role in shaping ideas, thoughts and argument brought forth by these scholars. The paper compares and contrast Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Michel’s and their contribution in sociology discipline.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis Charles Henri de Tocqueville was a renowned French historian, policy maker, and political thinker who widely contributed in development of sociology and Democracy in America. Born on 29th July 1805 in France; Alexis Henri de Tocqueville wrote two volumes namely; Democracy in America and The Old Regime and Revolution. In both volumes, Alexis employ a sociological approach to address challenges facing the society. The book entitled Democracy in America 1835 remains one of his famous literary publications that contributed in the development of sociology and political science disciplines (Robert, 2003). As a policy maker, historian, and classical liberalists, Alexis contributed in French politics under the rule of two monarchy regimes; July monarchy (1831-1847) and second Republic revolution (1849-1951).
Alexis de Tocqueville came from a well to do family and received material and moral support from his parents. His father was a constitutional guard under King Louis XV1 and later occupied a senior position in the government under the regime of Napoleon. His political career started in 1830 under the monarchy of July. Alexis participated in French politics and occupied numerous senior positions in the government. Alexis de Tocqueville became the head of Manche department and reformed trade policies. In 1843, he was appointed to head the department of counsel general. Alexis de Tocqueville was requested by July monachy regime to conduct survey about French Prisons and file reports (Cheryl, 2006). This move enabled Alexis de Tocqueville visits other places such as Algeria, America, England and Ireland; an idea that triggered Alexis de Tocqueville writing career.
In 1848, French Revolution regime emerged and replaced July Monarchy. However, Alexis de Tocqueville was appointed one of the members assigned the role of drafting the constitution. In the same year, He opposed the appointment of President Napoleon for the third term. Alexis de Tocqueville urged out that Napoleon had violated the French constitution. This move led to his detention as Vincennes jail, but later he was released. Alexis de Tocqueville died on 17th April 1869 after suffering from tuberculosis.
He was a German sociologist who contributed in the development of elite theory and sociology discipline. Born on 8th January 1876, Cologne Germany, Michel’s has published numerous materials in pursuit of developing sociology. The Political Parties remains one of his famous books and addresses the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Michel’s writing ideas and thoughts inclined towards classical theorists because he was a student of Robert Weber and a close friend of Weiner and Achilles Loria. As a political leader, Michel’s participated in Germany politics before moving to Italy where he continued with his political career. Initially, he transferred from Germany Social Democratic to Italian Social party on the premise that the later advocated for democracy. Robert’s contribution in Italian Social Party helped in the formation of modernization theory that determines the involvement of radical groups in governance.
Back ground history
Robert Michel’s was born and raised in a wealthy Germany family. His parents valued education and took him at school at a tender age. He studied at England, Paris and graduated from Leipzig University; Munich and Halle in Turin in 1897 and 1889 respectively. Michel’s was a brilliant student and remained loyal and respectful to his teachers. He became actively involved in Germany politics after being hired as junior lecturer at Marburg University. Later in life, Michel’s acquired a professorship at the University of Turin where he taught social economic and social sciences. In 1916, he transferred to University of Basel Switzerland as a professor of economics; a position he held until his retirement. His career as a sociologist started in the same period; an idea that accorded him international recognition. In his book entitled on Sociology of Political parties and democracy, Michel’s argues that social parties do not promote democracy since they transform to bureaucratic regimes (Seymour, 2004). Following these assertions, Michel’s joined Italian Fascism Party and participated in the Party’s activities. He died on 3rd May 1936 in Rome after a long illness.
Both Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Michel have published books and other literary materials, which contributed in the development of sociology. Alexis de Tocqueville published the two volumes namely; Democracy in America and The Old Regime and Revolution 1856. Both books articulate contemporary issues from a sociological perspective. Democracy in American remains one of his famous work and contributed in development of sociology and political science. Robert Michel’s published the book entitled Political Parties; an idea that promoted development of elite theory and modernization theory. Both theories remain relevant in the discipline of sociology and political science until today.
Both Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Michel’s were active in politics and contested for senior position in the government. Alexis de Tocqueville participated in French politics during July Monarchy and Second Republic Revolution monachy. He headed Manche and counsel departments and other government dockets in the government. Robert Michel’s participated in Germany and Italian politics and advocated for democracy and reforms.
Alexi’s de Tocqueville was a French historian and political thinker who devoted much of his time in developing sociology and political science. Although he devoted much of his time in political issues, he advocated for democracy that integrate sociological construct in its operation. As classical liberalists, Alexis urged that social order and democracy complement each other. He addressed political issues from a sociological perspective. On the other hand, Robert Michel’s was a Germany sociologist and more importantly a professor of social economic. Michel’s started as a sociologist, but at the end of his teaching profession, he inclines towards social economic, political science and pure economics.
Alexis de Tocqueville came from Norma aristocratic family while Michel’s was born and raised in a wealthy Germany family. Family background had an impact of the way each of these scholars articulated his thoughts and ideas about society. As a classical liberalist, Alexis de Tocqueville employs aristocratic approach to explain difference between American and Europe. On the other hand, Robert Michel’s employ empirical method in his analysis because he borrowed from Max Weber; his teacher. Therefore, both parties employ different approach to address sociological, political and economic constructs.
Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Michel’s are some of the eighteenth century scholars who contributed in development of sociology discipline. They published books and other literary materials which remain relevant until today. Alexis de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian who addressed social aspect exhaustively. Robert Michel’s was a Germany sociologist and professor of social economic. Although both scholars were raised differently they share common aspects. Both have published books and other literary materials and participated in national politics then. However, they differ in the way they articulate their issues and argument. Alexis de Tocqueville use aristocratic approach while Michel’s use empirical perspective. They affirm that they came from two different schools of thought.
Cheryl, W. (2006). The Cambridge Companion to Tocqueville. New York: Cambridge University Press,
Robert, G. (2003). Tocqueville Unveiled: The Historian and His Sources for the Old Regime and the Revolution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Seymour, M. (2004). "Robert Michels And the "Iron Law of Oligarchy"," chapter 12 of Revolution and Counter revolution. Change and Persistence in Social Structures, 2(4), 45-53.