Why do all my friends live in different states? Why have I lived in four cities in the last six years? Why have I moved right at the moment when I have made new friends and begun to feel at home? Why did I see my grandparents only a few times per year as a child? Why is my extended family spread out across the United States? Why are these questions relevant to every person that I know? Why are they most true for the most successful members of society, who get fancy degrees and work high-paying jobs?

Alexis de Tocqueville’s book Democracy in America has answers.