Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) was a French writer and politician. With his friend Gustave Beaumont he spent nine months in America and with him published a study of the American penal system and its applicability to France. Tocqueville's fame was established by his De la Démocratie en Amérique, published in two volumes in 1835 and 1840. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1839, was a member of the Constituent Assembly in 1848 and of the Legislative Assembly in 1849, was minister of foreign affairs in 1849, and was imprisoned in 1851 for his opposition to the coup d’état of Louis-Napoléon. At his death he had completed volume 1 of his L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (1856).