The Squire

The young couple took possession of Tocqueville’s castle after the death of Louise de Tocqueville in January 1836. Alexis received the castle of Tourlaville but exchanged it with that of Tocqueville, devolved to his brother Edouard. Hippolyte owns Nacqueville. With the agreement of his brothers, he received the title of Count to compensate for his lack of wealth, not having had a “good” marriage.

Alexis writes Volume 2 of Democracy in America, largely in his office at Tocqueville castle under the eye of his ancestor, the Marquis de Vauban. He is a writer before dinner and a farmer after:

“I got seriously back to my book and built a beautiful pig barn. Which of these two works will last longer than the other? I don’t know! The walls I give my pigs are solid. »

He spent all his cash flow to improve Tocqueville castle. As a squire, he participates in communal events, gives work to those who lack it the most and employs several villagers during periods of scarcity. On behalf of his father, he donated a piece of land to the commune to build the school.

Mary perfectly plays her role as squire’s wife : she distributes the bread to the poors on Fridays, organizes the fair with the mayor. She knows how to receive, to make visits, to listen to the villagers. She oversees the running of the domain, discusses leases, collects rents, follows the harvest. She makes the “old masure” habitable. She designs, orders, supervises the work.

But politics is taking up more and more time for Alexis. He failed on a first attempt in November 1837 in the riding of Valognes against Count Jules Polydor Le Marois, son of Empire General Le Marois, one of the great local fortunes, whose program consisted of protecting Norman livestock from the importation of foreign cattle. In addition to his fortune, Le Marois had another advantage: a foolproof liver that allowed him to go from dinner to banquet, from libations to libations.

In January 1839, Louis-Philippe dissolved the House of Representatives again. This time, Tocqueville was well prepared : dissolutions are so frequent under the July monarchy that one must always be ready. He learned the lessons from his failure. It took its quarters at the Louvre Hotel in Valognes; he went to fairs and markets; he sent his friends there.

In March, he was elected MP for Valognes by 318 votes to 240 for Le Marois. He sits in the Assembly, on the left: “The place where you place your rump is more important than what you have in your head”

In the meantime he was appointed a Knight of the Legion of Honour (1837), then elected to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (1838), he was received at the French Academy in 1841.