The Politics and Business of Self-Interest from Tocqueville to Trump

  • Richard Ned Lebow

Part of the International Political Theory book series (IPoT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Richard Ned Lebow
    Pages 1-25
  3. Richard Ned Lebow
    Pages 27-43
  4. Richard Ned Lebow
    Pages 45-61
  5. Richard Ned Lebow
    Pages 63-86
  6. Richard Ned Lebow
    Pages 87-104
  7. Richard Ned Lebow
    Pages 105-121
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 123-125

About this book


Self-interest is an important human motive and this book explores its evolution in the United States and its consequences for politics, business, and personal relationships. In the postwar era American understandings of self-interest have moved away from Alexis de Tocqueville’s concept of “self-interest well-understood” – in which people recognize that their interests are served by the success of the community of which they are part – towards “individualism” – by which he meant narrow framing that often leads people to pursue their interests at the expense of the community. The book documents this evolution through qualitative and quantitative content analysis of presidential speeches, television sitcoms and popular music, before exploring its negative consequences for democracy. 


Tocqueville self-interest political theory and Donald Trump individualism in American history individualism and Trump political theory and community community and Trump democratic theory and Trump self-interest in presidential speeches self-interest in American sitcoms self-interest in popular music selfish behaviour and America Tocqueville's Democracy in America American political crisis culture wars in America American politics US politics political leadership in America Donald Trump and selfishness American political culture popular culture and US politics

Authors and affiliations

  • Richard Ned Lebow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of War StudiesKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information