Alexis de Tocqueville by Théodore Chassériau
Registration Advisory: This program has multiple ticket options depending on your choice to attend in person at the S. Dillon Ripley Center or as an online program using Zoom. Before you register, please refer to our in-person vs. online program procedural documentation to learn about our current terms and conditions.
Few books are so often quoted and yet so rarely comprehended as Democracy in America, French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville’s seminal assessment of both the American experiment and the implications of emergent conditions of social equality for the future of democracy. He wrote the book after a visit to this country in 1831 to study its prisons. He left having studied so much more.
In examining Tocqueville’s impressions of 19th-century America, Georgetown professor and political theorist Joseph Hartman considers, among other things, Tocqueville’s account of the relationship—historical and logical—between aristocracy and democracy; the instability of democracy and possible antidotes; the significance of habit in Tocqueville’s thought; the importance of religion for democracy; and finally, whether Tocqueville himself recognized the limits of his “institutional” political science. Hartman’s intention is to begin to comprehend the way in which Tocqueville thought through democracy and its problems and what Tocqueville means for us today.
Hartman is assistant teaching professor and associate director of undergraduate studies in the department of government at Georgetown University.
Registration for this program will end by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 2.