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Chapter Summary

Early French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, in his Democracy in America observes and predicts that the "destiny" of America is "embodied" in the first Puritans and that Americans are a "puritanical people". Most US, especially conservative, sociologists and other social scientists concur with and celebrate this observation and prediction of Puritanism as American society's present and future or legacy, just as its genesis and "golden past". Tocqueville hence performs two important contributions to sociological analysis. First, he introduces the concept of "destiny" to considering modern societies, in America, thus as potentially applicable to sociological and other scientific analysis. If Tocqueville's statement is generalized, it implies that the "destinies" of societies, including Europe in his time and later, are primarily determined and predicted by religious and related cultural, as distinguished from secular.

Keywords: Alexis de Tocqueville; Democracy in America; Puritans



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