Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was born in Paris on July 29, 1805. His parents, both of aristocratic background, narrowly avoided the guillotine during the aftermath of the French Revolution, and were exiled to England. They were later able to return to France during the reign of Napoleon. His father supported the Bourbon monarchy, eventually becoming Prefect of Versailles in 1826 and made a peer by Charles X in 1827.
Tocqueville entered the College Royal in Metz in 1821, at the age of 16, to study philosophy, and it was during these years that he began having doubts about the role of the aristocracy's role in France's government. He moved to Paris in 1823 to study law, and in 1827 became apprentice magistrate at the Versailles Court of Law. His sympathies became increasingly liberal, and he began voicing the opinion that a decline in the aristocracy was inevitable.
During the July Revolution of 1830, Charles X abdicated and ...