The Tocqueville Program at Furman University exists to encourage serious and open engagement with the moral questions at the heart of political life. The program takes its name from Alexis de Tocqueville, perhaps the greatest student of modern democracy, who understood both the difficulty and the necessity of reminding citizens of a decent and prosperous regime about questions of truth, nobility and eternity. These questions are not always comfortable to discuss and are never easily resolved; as Tocqueville understood, however, these questions cannot be ignored by human beings who seek to live lives of freedom and dignity.
Each year, Furman’s Tocqueville Program offers a broad range of curricular and extracurricular activities:
- A lecture series that brings to Furman’s campus prominent scholars and public intellectuals who exemplify the Tocquevillean approach to political thought.
- An upper-level course, aligned with the lecture series, which situates an in-depth study of a contemporary issue within the tradition of political philosophy, and which offers students the chance to engage in class with scholars and intellectuals currently grappling with these problems.
- A range of introductory and upper-level courses in the history of the Western and American Traditions of political philosophy.
- The Society of Tocqueville Fellows, an association that cultivates a select group of students interested in political philosophy by guiding them through a coherent set of courses and a specially designed colloquium series. Fellows are supported with a modest financial award.
- A Political Thought Club that meets one afternoon per week to discuss works of political philosophy not usually found in our courses. Past readings have included works by Edmund Burke, Charles Darwin, Hans Jonas, Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger, and Blaise Pascal.