Alexis-Charles-Henri ClÃ©rel de Tocqueville (1805-1859) was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America (appearing in two volumes: 1835 and 1840) and The Old Regime and the Revolution (1856). In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in western societies. Democracy in America, his major work, published after his travels in the United States, is today considered an early work of sociology. An eminent representative of the liberal political tradition, Tocqueville was an active participant in French politics, first under the July Monarchy (1830-1848) and then during the Second Republic (1849-1851) which succeeded to the February 1848 Revolution. He retired from political life after Louis NapolÃ©on Bonaparteâ¿¿s December 2, 1851 coup, and thereafter began work on The Old Regime and the Revolution, Volume I of which was completed by the time he died of tuberculosis. Amongst his other works are: Journey to America (1831-1832) and American Institutions and Their Influence (1835).