Alexis de Tocqueville
(1805 - 1859)
At the age of twenty-five in 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville boarded a schooner with his friend Gustave de Beaumont for a government-sanctioned trip to examine the American penal system. The nine-month journey, taking him as far north as Quebec and as far south as Louisiana, inspired his four-volume magnum opus, Democracy in America, which appeared in four parts between 1835 and 1840. Tocqueville published the first part of a study of the French Revolution, The Ancien Régime and the Revolution, three years before he died in 1859.