Describe, compare, and contrast popular participation in American political life in Tocqueville's time (the 1830s) and today. Note that participation may take the form of membership and activity in groups, involvement in parties and campaigns, voting, and more.
This is a great book that might help: "Tocqueville's road map: methodology, liberalism, revolution, and despotism"; by Roger Boesche.
Here are the basic variables to consider when dealing with Tocqueville. These were also important during his own time and throughout the 19th century.
1. Aristocracy: this means that those who should participate in politics are those with the requisite knowledge. An aristocracy is inevitable in technical fields such as political economy.
2. Association: groups are important, they are the foundation of society (not individuals). Groups alone have authority. Unless you are a billionaire, you don't matter much unless you are part of a well organized community.
3. Tradition: the only associations that really matter are those that reflect the deepest aspirations and basic social traits of the American people as a whole.
Also look at "Silent voices: public opinion and political participation in America," by Adam J. Berinsky
Over time, property qualifications fell away, and media, parties and interest groups mobilized individualism for their own causes. This was a "new ...
Political participation in american society from Toqueville's time is compared to the present state of US political participation.