Democracy Seen From Below: Referendums in America

Regardless of differing opinions of the United States, it is an experimental model for our possible future. This applies to culture and technology, but can the same be said for politics? The American tradition of referendums has stopped tax increases and legalized cannabis. However, whether it will one day be adopted in France remains to be seen.

During his famous voyage of 1831, Alexis de Tocqueville prophetically announced that the nascent democracy — the gradual equalization of morals and rights observed in America — would inevitably arrive in Europe. Today there is no need for powers of prescience to see another example (among many) of this type of shift: Before it invaded our daily lives in France, social media had already seized America. All things considered, it seems difficult to identify a single innovation over the last century that has not become universal after being tested in the laboratory that is the United States. But is politics the same? It appears so, if you look in the right place. Perhaps not to the national elections (Trump’s character would be hard to transfer across the Atlantic), but to local


Subscribers Only

To be able to access this article,
log in or subscribe to France-Amérique.