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By Jean-Francois Lyotard

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In earlier tempests Constant, too, had been enamored, like Tocqueville, like Chateaubriand, by "the so frequent metaphor... "146 His feelings came out of a far more agitated life than Tocqueville's. However, Constant had framed this image around his private sensibility before the storms of politics closed in. 147 This theme followed him: he survived in his pitching vessel even if he could not very well hold the wheel. Twenty years later he wrote to Madame de Nassau: "chances for the future... are stormy for everyone and for me more than most.

177. Cf. Tocqueville, DA, n, 90-93. Tocqueville: sailing the open sea 35 thirty years later. He suffered acutely from incredulity, as if it were a disease, and made a kind of career of his bereavement. His very moving account of his crisis, though only appearing in Nouveaux melanges after his death (1842), surprised no one. It has been called "Tun des sanglots les plus vrais et les plus eloquents de la litterature contemporaine. 134 His revelation survives only because Madame de Beaumont saw fit to make a copy of this letter, which her husband had excluded from the canonical correspondence on grounds of delicacy.

And what the French Revolution sought to achieve... was to change the social order... [From what emerged] we can say that democracy [is inscribed] in the social order. That is the most clear and striking result of the revolution. There is the irresistible fact, independent of the will of men and governments. We can still affect the constitution of the state. 96 As we shall see, this was one of the two main points of departure for Tocqueville. The other was the creeping action of centralization (more a political than a social phenomenon, though "influenced" by social trends toward uniformity).

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