Descriptions of America

Journal Entries and Correspondence

Click on a state or territory below to read Tocqueville and Beaumont's writings from that area

Alabama Canada Connecticut Georgia Kentucky Louisiana Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Territory Mississippi New Jersey New York North Carolina Ohio
Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina Tennessee Virginia Washington, DC

America in 1831
The nation that Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont visited in 1831 was a land vastly different from the United States of today. With a rapidly growing population of just over 13 million people, America was still a predominantly rural country, consisting of 24 states and a largely unsettled territorial claim stretching west to the Pacific Ocean.

Above is a map of the United States as it existed in the early 1830's. The route travelled by Tocqueville and Beaumont on their nine-month journey is highlighted in red.

Throughout their travels, both Tocqueville and Beaumont kept extensive records of their experiences in the form of journals and letters. Unfortunately, Beaumont's journals have been lost over the years, leaving his letters to France as the only records of his travel experiences. All of Tocqueville's writings from America, however, were preserved. Excerpts of their writings can now be read online using the clickable map above. By selecting a particular state or territory, you can retrace Tocqueville and Beaumont's itinerary and read firsthand accounts of their travels. There is also an online travel atlas, which provides a better look at the American road system in the 1830's (please note that this is a large file and may involve a lengthy download time).

Source: "Journey to America" by Alexis de Tocqueville, translated by George Lawrence and edited by J.P. Mayer, revised in collaboration with A.P. Kerr, Greenwood Press Publishers, Westport, CT., 1981; and
"Tocqueville in America" by George W. Pierson, Johns Hopkins University Press

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