It is impossible to fully understand the American experience apart from Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. Moreover, it is impossible fully to appreciate Tocqueville by assuming that he brought to his visitation to America, or to the writing of his great work, a fixed philosophical doctrine. James T. Schleifer documents where, when, and under what influences Tocqueville wrote different sections of his work. In doing so, Schleifer discloses the mental processes through which Tocqueville passed in reflecting on his experiences in America and transforming these reflections into the most original and revealing book ever written about Americans. For the first time the evolution of a number of Tocqueville's central themes - democracy, individualism, centralisation, despotism - emerges into clear relief. As Russell B. Nye has observed, "Schleifer's study is a model of intellectual history, an account of the intertwining of a man, a set of ideas, and the final product, a book." The Liberty Fund second edition includes a new preface by the author and an epilogue, "The Problem of the Two Democracies".