It is confirmed by the sociology of religion of those like Durkheim and William James.
What Tocqueville is suggesting, as Blackdog makes clear, is that men need some kind of shared belief system, some kind of meaning if society is to function and it is a lot better when it comes from the organic society of small-scale associations rather than is imposed by the state.
We can eulogise men thinking for themselves as the unthinking, ahistorical liberal often does, and that is important, but there still has to be that grounding, that base of shared beliefs in order for a society to be a society let alone be stable and healthy one. This is what De Tocqueville correctly points out, take all that way and you have complete atomism, completely anxious and isolated individuals, ripe pickings for the comforts of despotism.
To quote De Tocqueville again.
"Without common belief no society can prosper; say, rather, no society can exist; for without ideas held in common, there is no common action, and without common action there may still be individuals but there is no social body. In order that society should exist and, a fortiori, that a society should prosper, it is necessary that the mind of all the citizens should be rallied and held together by certain predominant ideas"