Tocqueville And Marx's Theory Of History

984 Words4 Pages
In their analyses of history, both Tocqueville and Marx offer uniquely distinct philosophies. This essay attempts to compare Marx and Tocqueville’s theories of History, tracking each theory’s underlying reasons for progression of history, history’s different stages and its handling of the issue of revolutions. I will begin by drawing out the definitive distinction between Tocqueville and Marx with respect to what is the driving force moving history. I will then proceed to argue why despite this distinction, Tocqueville and Marx are not diametrically opposite and how in fact they share the same underlying principles on the progressing of history despite ascribing it to different factors. Both Tocqueville and Marx operate within the stadial notion of history, viewing society as progressing through a series of distinctive stages of civilization. However, while Tocqueville outlines his theory of history based on an inexorable march towards equality of conditions guided by the force of Providence, Marx builds his stages of history corresponding to modes of production, increasing complexity of division of labour and different forms of ownership. Tocqueville saw equality of conditions as having an "immense influence ... on the whole course of society" (Toc: 9). He argued that the general state of equality of condition was "the prime cause of most of the laws, customs, and ideas" (Toc : 50); such that it influenced the formation of social norms, laws and mores besides shaping
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