Paper Sample on Tocqueville and the Problem of Racial Inequality

5 pages
1175 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Problem solving
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

What relationships of power are featured in Virginian Luxuries

The picture Virginian Luxuries (ca. 1800) was painted in the 19th century where it features two types of people in the American history. It is at this time that slavery was a common feature and the white man and black man were un-equals. The white men had power while the black people seems they did not have power. The second this is that it represents the gender difference. At the left side, a white man is well dressed while he kisses a black woman. On the right side, the white man beats a half-naked black man. From such feature in the picture, it shows that the white man had power over the black race (slaves). It shows the oppression the black race suffered in the hands of the dominant white race. Sexual abuse, mishandling, and de-humanization show the difference in power. The picture is an illustration of the unequal power relationship between slaves and masters (Lemire).

It is at this era that black men worked in crop fields and did not have any human rights as they were subject to land owners. The masters also used the women as objects of satisfaction. The painter also depicts the faces of the white men distinctly well although the black man and woman faces are presented without clear identification (Rothman). This shows how the black race was viewed by Europeans and other westerners while the blacks were seen as uniform animals or objects. The powerful white race had a dislike for the others and for this reason they mistreated and dehumanized them.

How are unequal power relationships reflected in the Toquevilles distinction between the three races

According to Tocqueville, in his publication on the Democracy in America," the white people had superior power and knowledge. He describes three races that were predominant in the 19th century while he advocated for future of two races. The white or the European race was presented as the first race which headed the political, social and economic structure. From Tocqueville view and affirmation, the white race was superior, intelligent and powerful and enjoyed life. The native Americans and the blacks (Negros) were different regarding their origin, essence, tradition and their perception towards the whites but both were oppressed and had a unique subordinate position in the society. The two races were oppressed in that they did not enjoy their freedom, their identity, their tradition and their nature in that they were violently oppressed. According to Tocqueville, the white race did not know how to subdue but knew how to destroy. The Blacks lost their freedom, their love for nature, their identity, and tradition through violent oppression. They were taken away from their native lands in Africa, where they forgot their origin, their tradition, and their language and had to learn to live like the white race (Baker). After losing their freedom, the blacks and their future generations were subjected to unsure future. Although they hated their masters due to their violation, they had to show love and admiration to them while avoiding their disdain.

The Native Americans, on the other hand, were better off than the blacks as they did not surrender to the European. However, they lost their land and lived in isolation. The Indians had their imagination inflated with pretended nobility of their origin and life. The Indians were expelled from their land by the Europeans by using their advanced technology and were made less civilized than their original state. They were to perish in the same isolated conditions they lived . on the other hand, the Negros wanted to be mixed with Europeans and had been slaves for a long term allowing for enslavement and believe the words of their masters.

What future does Toqueville predict for these groups of people

Toqueville had different predictions for the three races. First, for the native American, he predicted that they were destined to disappear. For survival, they were to start a battle or get civilized where one of the races would disappear. Additionally, Toqueville predicted that they were to be isolated by the whites. The second prediction was on Negros who were they were destined to the racial mix which would have expanded the race over the nations. With time, they would come to be more knowledgeable about their rights and a fight would occur between the two races. Toqueville observed that slavery was to be passed from one generation to the other to persist as a dehumanization and disgrace for the Black race and hate for the white race. He, however, suggested the intermingle of the two races as isolation was to bring conflict where one race would have survived.

Toquevile expected the white citizen race to be proud of themselves in the United States, but he indicated that the North American states were to abolish slavery and this would have prevented the southern states from unionizing or being equal races. He predicted that majority power would have distorted the human life socially, politically and economically (De Tocqueville). The opinion was expected to establish some way of life where it would have affected people perceptions and sentiments. He predicted that the future power would dehumanize men

Based on your own knowledge, how accurate do you believe Tocqueville's observations and predictions were?

Toqueville predictions can be said to be partially effective. He had predicted that the Indians were to be isolated but currently, Native Americans are located in 326 India reservation in America. The black Americans became free although they have been marked by blood and sadness. The American citizens have become a proud nation where vast diversity in culture lives in the same space enjoying the same rights. The United States have come to be known as the land of freedom where every race is equal to the other, and there is no oppression among the dwellers. The difference in his prediction can be seen the existing social engineering where the society is altered and guided according to those in power. Currently, authority and power are trusted and seen as a source of protection by those living in the society rather than a threat to personal freedom and liberty.

Some of Toqueville predictions did not come to happen as democracy in the United States has been upheld for almost a century. The power is to the people and to protect them in such a way that all are seen as equals, and personal opinion does not count unless it is meant for the advantage of others. The Blacks (Negros), the Europeans (White) and the Native American all live in the same society enjoying the same economy and political structure.


Works cited

Baker, Lee D. From savage to Negro: Anthropology and the construction of race, 1896-1954. Univ of California Press, 1998.

De Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. Vol. 10. Regnery Publishing, 2003.

Lemire, Elise Virginia. "Miscegenation": Making Race in America. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.

Rothman, Joshua D. Notorious in the neighborhood: sex and families across the color line in Virginia, 1787-1861. Univ of North Carolina Press, 2003.


Have the same topic and dont`t know what to write?
We can write a custom paper on any topic you need.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: