Tocqueville

James Dougherty on One's Self I Sing from Walt Whitman and the Citizen’s Eye

The 1855 "Song of Myself" had announced that the "word of the modern" was "a word en masse," and eventually Whitman would revise this 1867 Inscription to affirm that "En-Masse" was also "the word Democratic." In a modern, democratic society, as Tocqueville had said, no intermediate allegiances stand between the individual citizen and the entire body politic. The Self is indeed separate, isolated; it has renounced party and creed and local custom, all mediating bodies that provide a system of preference or exclusion.