The American Vertigo is a book by Bernard Henry Levy that explores the American political and social institutions following the steps that were set by Alex de Tocqueville. The book presents the encounters that Levy had as he travelled around America trying to understand the American culture and vision which they seem to hold in very high prestige. One of the issues that attracts one while reading this text is its take on American democracy. Levy's makes ate affirming the claims that journey around America trying to evaluate the American democratic experiment.
This is as an extrapolation of Tocqueville records and his optimistic view on a nation which sounds very confident about its vision. This paper is going in this light to discuss about American perceive exceptionalim in its demotic vision. Levy's focus on the distinctiveness of American culture, which was also the driving force of Tocqueville, stems from his desire to learn how the United States operates. This is in addition to how it had managed to attain a stable democracy these efforts having failed in France paper will therefore try to explore some of the features of the American democracy as presented in the Federal Papers and how the American Vertigo relates to them.
Levy in his book clearly demonstrates that except the case in England, no other country in the whole globe at the particular time identified above had fully developed the popular equality and sovereignty which was quite exceptional (Levy, 2006). This is in addition to the decentralized political structures and forms of democratic politics that America used to exercise at this time as it was dictated by the American political thought. The American vertigo seems as if it discusses the amazing American character as presented in the federal papers. In the American vertigo one can clearly discern the confusion shared by this writer on how democracy was possible with the tugs of war between advocated of federalism who contributed to the ideas in the federal reports and the antagonism from anti federalist.
The Federal papers present arguments on the strong national government which served to prevent the occurrence factions in through forceful compromise and debate as way of attaining democracy. It also argued advocated towards having representative governments rather than pure democracy as the best structure that would ensure the country's stability preventing temporary passion from taking control of the nation. Anti federalist had perceived the establishment of representative governments as effective forms of power transfer from the majority to the minority as presented by Richard Henry Lee one of the anti-federalists.
Levy's perception in regard to the American difference are not only limited to politics only. He also explores the religious orientations that are very distinctive, voluntary organizations that are innumerable, Americans abundant economic opportunities, the absence of social hierarchical systems, the rejection of inheritance entitlements and so on (Levy, 2006). These are some of the issues that are heavily focused on in the articles that were presented by the federal papers. These ideologies as the federalists argued it out were key to the sustenance of democracy. They hence served to be bedrock of all the virtually subsequent American characters analyzed in the American vertigo.
To exemplify on some of the features of the federal papers that seemed evident in the observations that attracted the interests of Levy here are some social aspects of the American culture that Levy witnessed. The democratic American society was characterized by a religion where hatred never existed. This is because the universal respect attached to religion where there is no perceived dominant religion(Hamilton, 1991). The work of religious was to guide the people's minds and then leave them to their own independent devices which were intrinsic to their nature. On the part of voluntary organization, Levy confesses of witnessing organizations which he never thought existed.
Americans were characterized by boundless skills where communities set common goals and induced the community members towards striving to voluntarily achieve them (Hamilton, 1991). In regard to economic opportunities almost all habits and tastes which were born in the circles of equality came as naturally conducive to industry and commerce (Levy, 2006). According to Levy's Social democracy was much more heightened when it came how the society rejected social hierarchies and inheritance of entitlements. The people lived democratically without hereditary wealth. Every man had to work in order to live. Some occupations could be considered as more lucrative or arduous than other, but none of them way either low or high than the other.
Though Levy seemed to admire most of the many great things about the Americans, he does not fall short of underscoring some issues which he did not consider to construe American exceptionalim. These are probably what contributed to the confusion or the vertigo in the American culture. For instance some of its principles like that one of equality were considered to be built upon glaring political hypocrisy (Levy, 2006). For instance American jails as Levy observed were characterized with a lot of racism. America under its equality principle proclamation is also charged with perpetuation and expansion of slavery in its economic inequalities between black and whites which are otherwise gapping. This is also contributed to by its racism that is enduring in addition to its support of an imperialist foreign policy that is masked by forever rhetorically expansion of free markets and liberty.
To cap it all the issues that form the main concern in the American Vertigo seem to have a lot to do with what the federalist papers had presented especially on what pertained the interpretation of the constitution which was ratified later. The book is like trying to perform an analysis to examine the validity of the federal paper though this might not have been the intention of the author. However, the book is a good spectacle to help see the American society and culture from a different angle.