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In American political discourse, freedom is often spoken of in terms of its inherent rationality or divine origins and is conceptualized as nothing more than a set of concrete institutions coupled with individual rights. By way ofTocqueville'sDemocracy in America,I will attempt to broaden our political vocabulary by constructing a psychology of freedom. According to Tocqueville, the American consciousness is largely a product of two conflicting tendencies: Cartesian rationality and Pascalian existential angst. Out of the tensions created by the interplay of these two elements Tocqueville demonstrates that the motivations to sustain freedom, as well as the institutions and practices crucial for the maintenance of it, result from a complex psychological mixture of self-interest, vanity, and a desire for solitude.