A distinctive characteristic of American democracy allowed diverse opinions to flourish, favored intellectual growth, and invested the opposition with a dignified role in political life. The most penetrating analysis of modern society's democratic tendency was undertaken after 1830 by Alexis de Tocqueville. During the Restoration, Legitimist writers such as Louis de Bonald considered the question of society in a manner opposite to that of earlier liberal thinkers. Tocqueville believed that society had riot reached equilibrium with the bourgeois victory because of the continuation of a powerful social process. Thus Tocqueville understood that the essence of a society is its daily operation and—as John Stuart J. S. Mill wrote to him in 1840—he clearly identified stagnation and gridlock as the greatest dangers faced by political systems. Mill's Principles represents an important departure from the liberalism of the old school. The older liberalism condemned government intervention in the economy and gave space only to private initiative.