In 1936, on the occasion of the centenary of the publication of “Democracy in America”, the Alexis de Tocqueville Committee and the France-America Committee made two busts of the famous politician and writer. One was handed over to the city of Cherbourg during a ceremony at the ferry station, the other at the commune of Tocqueville on 30 August, a very sunny day !
Alexis’ family was represented by Countess Christian de Tocqueville and her sons Jean and René de Tocqueville.
In front of the veiled monument, René de Tocqueville, mayor of the commune, spoke first. Mr. Delisle, Mayor of Clitourps, General Councillor, thanked the Committee for donating to the municipality a bust of its illustrious predecessor.
Mr. Quoniam, President of the Chamber of Commerce, showed how Alexis de Tocqueville had seen right when in the last century he predicted the future of the port of Cherbourg. Mr. Chardon, a member of the Council of State and the Institute, evoked the politician and the famous writer by the height of his views. Mr Firmin Roz, a member of the institute, handed the bust to the commune on behalf of the two Committees.
The assistance made its way to the castle, where Mr. Antoine Rédier retraced Alexis’s life and spoke of his work.
Guests were invited to visit the castle, especially the magnificent library where Alexis wrote its most illustrious pages. Personal memorabilia of the eminent writer, including his academician outfit, manuscripts and various objects, were presented in the room.
On the occasion of this inaugural day, the Tocqueville family made an abundant distribution of bread and meat to the needy families of the commune.
This ceremony was the subject of a long article (in French) in the local press “Cherbourg-Eclair” of September 1, 1936.
This bust will go through some adventures during World War II.