UNTIL the time Alexis de Tocqueville wrote Democracy in America, the problem of tyranny of the majority had dominated the political thought of no other nation as it had that of America. In the half century before the appearance of Tocqueville's great work, Americans had maintained a virtual monopoly of concern over the question of how popular sovereignty and individual liberty could peacefully coexist. The French Revolution, it is true, raised similar questions abroad, and if we take Burke's concern as representative, we see that he too was seriously troubled over the prospect that democratic tyranny would become the inevitable offspring of popular sovereignty. But despite Burke's eloquent and penetrating analysis, majority tyranny did not become a major preoccupation of English political thought, and to the extent that there was concern with the problem, as in the debate over the Reform Bill of 1832, discussion was confined to the obvious and straightforward issue of whether the suffrage should be extended. In America, on the other hand, the majority problem continued to be a persistent political issue from the beginning and, even today, a host of public questions revolves around the scope of majority rule. Yet for all the attention Americans paid to the majority question before Tocqueville entered upon the scene, they had hardly scratched the surface, and the Frenchman, therefore, was able to suggest an approach that they had not even considered.