Democracy in America

Materialistic Mishaps and Spiritual Success: Comparing 'Democracy in America' and 'Man's Search for Meaning' 12th Grade

Imagine the most important thing in life. Is it money? Is it friendship? Is it grades? Many people maintain that they value love or religion or knowledge more than material goods and success. Nevertheless, society as a whole is very materialistic. This mindset is unhealthy for individual psychology as well as the strength of a nation. Viktor E. Frankl (1905-1997), a Holocaust survivor and psychologist, asserted that every life has meaning; it is up to each individual to find the meaning to their life. Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), a French historian and political philosopher, argued against the malicious evil of materialism and the elevating power of spirituality. Both thinkers require their charges to go beyond the earthly desires and feelings and find something meaningful and lasting. While placing all of life’s focus into the material and temporary will eventually worsen hardship and misfortune, focusing on the eternal and spiritual will lessen the pain of suffering and enhance meaning in life.

Tocqueville claims that equality and capitalism in newly free nations can lead to the rise of tyrannical powers. If a nation “that has never known freedom or that has not known it for a long time” develops a system in which...

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