Communal Solidarity and Individual Freedom — Antagonists or Allies?

George Caleb Bingham, The Verdict of the People (1854) (St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri)

Editor's note — this essay was submitted to the 2020 edition of the Hubert Butler essay contest, an initiative by the House of European Art London (HEART).

As he jotted down his fascination with American life, De Tocqueville likely thought Democracy in America (1835) would be read back in France more like a travelogue than a towering work in…