by Alexis de Tocqueville
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
- John Locke
In this document by British philosopher John Locke, Locke argues for individual sacrifice so that people can live peacefully in a political society. Locke’s philosophical works heavily influenced American revolutionaries and the formation of democracy.Pair “Political Society” with “Excerpt from Democracy in America: Why Americans are So Restless” and ask students to compare the political ideas of the two texts. How do the two authors’ ideas concerning freedom and equality compare? How does John Locke suggest a society achieve equality? How does this compare to Alexis de Tocqueville’s beliefs?
Serving in Florida: Excerpt from Nickel and Dimed
- Barbara Ehrenreich
In “Serving in Florida: Excerpt from Nickel and Dimed,” author Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the first steps and early struggles in her social experiment.Pair “Serving in Florida: Excerpt from Nickel and Dimed” with “Excerpt from Democracy in America: Why Americans are So Restless” and ask students to discuss what success and happiness means in America. Is it attainable? How does Barbara Ehrenreich’s social experiment explore the sources of dissatisfaction that Alexis de Tocqueville identifies in his text? How has the pursuit of happiness and success changed over time?
- Mark Cartwright
This text explains how Athens created and organized one of the world’s first recorded democracies. Athenian democracy, especially given its systems of checks and balances and citizen participation, has been highly influential to many modern democracies.Pair “Athenian Democracy” with “Excerpt from Democracy in America: Why Americans are So Restless” to provide students with another example of a democratic society. How does the democracy described by Mark Cartwright compare to Alexis de Tocqueville? What inequalities can students identify in the democracy described by Cartwright? How has democracy evolved since the Athenian society described and Tocqueville’s analysis of America’s democracy?
Capitalism Will Eat Democracy — Unless We Speak Up
- Yanis Varoufakis
In “Capitalism Will Eat Democracy — Unless We Speak Up,” Yanis Varoufakis discusses the state of democracy today and how it relates to the political sphere and the economic sphere.Pair “Capitalism Will Eat Democracy — Unless We Speak Up” with “Excerpts from Democracy in America” and ask students to discuss how the two texts explore social and political systems in America. How successful do the authors of the two texts find them? What threatens them? What role does materialism play in democracy?
To the State Senate on Being Elected Its President
- Calvin Coolidge
In Calvin Coolidge’s speech “To the Senate on Being Elected Its President,” Coolidge addresses the Massachusetts Senate after being elected its President, and discusses how to achieve a just government and society.Pair “Excerpt from Democracy in America: Why Americans Are So Restless” with “To the State Senate on Being Elected Its President” and ask students to compare the two speakers’ observations of America’s social and political structures. How do the threats to democracy that Calvin Coolidge identifies compare to the problems that Alexis de Tocqueville discusses?