Before the wedding

Back from the USA, an epidemic of Cholera is raging in France.

Alexis de Tocqueville wrote “From the prison system in the United States and its application in France” which was published in January 1833, and announced the forthcoming publication of a future volume on “institutions and mores in America.”

On March 9, 1833, Tocqueville made his first and final argument in defence of his cousin Louis de Kergolay and his father, accused of legitimistic insurrection; both are acquitted. At the same time he resigned from his post as a deputy judge at the Versailles court, following the dismissal of his friend Beaumont by the Ministry of Justice.

He promised Mary to marry her on July 29, 1835, the day of his 30th birthday when he could override the strongly unfavorable opinion of his family.

He travelled to England in August 1833 where he discovered working-class misery.

On his return, he begins writing his book on the United States. He prepares two large volumes, one on politics, the other on society. He needs to get it out quickly and for it to be a success, in order to get financial autonomy to marry Mary. He also wants to get into politics and needs the notoriety that his work can bring him.

In mid-October 1834, Alexis handed over his manuscript to his publisher, whose title became “Democracy in America.” The publisher Gosselin does not believe in its success, it draws only 500 copies.

In reality this book is a huge success. Alexis become known in salons, especially at Mrs. Récamier’s, where he rubbed shoulders with the greatest minds of his time, including Châteaubriant. The book is translated into English and sold in England and the United States.

1835: the year planned for the marriage of Alexis and Mary, who converted to Catholicism. His father Hervé de Tocqueville finally agreed; his brothers and sisters-in-law are violently opposed to this marriage:

“You disgrace the family,” his brothers say.

“I would never have allied myself with the Tocqueville family if I had known what Alexis was planning,” says Emilie, Hippolyte’s wife.

“I will not receive this commoner at home,” says Alexandrine, Edward’s wife.

Same story for his friends Gustave de Beaumont and Louis de Kergorlay.

He travelled to England with Beaumont to “bury their lives as boys” from April to August.

Mary doubts, as Alexis informed her of the violent opposition to marriage. She isolates herself in Boulogne sur Mer without giving any news, determined to break up; Alexis, ill, leaves England on 15 June for a few days to find Mary and win her back.

The Count of Tocqueville brings the family and friends in line and the wedding takes place on 24 (civilian) and 26 (religious) October 1835. Gustave de Beaumont and Louis de Kergorlay are the groom’s witnesses!