Tocqueville & the American Republic 2014

The Tocqueville Program will continue its thorough examination of our namesake’s masterpiece, Democracy in America (1835).  With its piercing observations, uncanny predictions, and judicious judgments about all things American and democratic, Tocqueville’s book has come to be regarded by many as both “the best book ever written on democracy and the best book ever written on America.”  But Democracy in America is much more than a book about politics, and contains nothing less than a comprehensive investigation of the effects of democracy on the human soul.  This year’s course and lecture series will examine the lessons we still have to learn from Tocqueville about our country, our regime, and ourselves.

2014 Lecturers

Yuval Levin: "Like the Leaves of Sybil: Burke and Tocqueville on Tradition in the Democratic Age"

Yuval Levin is the Hertog Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC). His areas of specialty include health care, entitlement reform, economic and domestic policy, science and technology policy, political philosophy, and bioethics. Levin’s essays and articles have appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He is a contributing editor of National Review and author of several books, including Imagining the Future: Science and American Democracy, and, most recently, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Left and Right. Levin is also the founding editor of National Affairs magazine and a senior editor of EPPC’s journal The New Atlantis. Before joining EPPC, he served on the White House domestic policy staff under President George W. Bush. His work focused on health care as well as bioethics and culture-of-life issues. Previously he served as executive director of the President’s Council on Bioethics, and as a congressional staffer. Levin holds a BA from American University and a PhD from the University of Chicago.

Watch the video recording. 

John Koritansky: "Tocqueville on Civil Religion in America"

John C. Koritansky is professor of political science at Hiram College, where he has taught since 1970. He received his AB degree from Cornell University and his Ph.D. from The University of Chicago. He is the chair of Hiram’s Garfield Institute for Public Leadership, a position he has held since the Institute’s inaugural year in 2007. Koritansky has written several articles in the areas of American Constitutional law, American political thought and political philosophy. He is also the editor of and major contributor to Public Administration in the United States, a collection of readings dealing with both the history and political theory embedded in American public administration (Focus Publishing, 1999). His book, Alexis de Tocqueville and the New Science of Politics is in its second edition, published by Carolina Academic Press in 2010.

Watch the video recording. 

Christine Henderson: "Progress and Paradox in Tocqueville's Memoir on Pauperism"

Christine Dunn Henderson is senior fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a private educational foundation based in Indianapolis. She holds BAs in Government and French Studies from Smith College, and a PhD in political science from Boston College. She is the contributing editor of Seers and Judges: American Literature as Political Philosophy, editor of the forthcoming Tocqueville’s Voyages, co-editor (with Mark Yellin) of Joseph Addison’s “Cato” and Selected Essays, and co-translator (with Henry Clark) of the forthcoming Encyclopedic Liberty: Political Articles from the “Dictionary” of Diderot and D’Alembert. Her publications and research interests include Tocqueville, Beaumont, French liberalism, and politics and literature.

Watch the video recording. 

Wilfred McClay: "The Tocquevillean Moment...and Ours"

 

Wilfred M. McClay holds the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma. This new position was created to emphasize the importance of both undergraduate teaching and historical and contemporary issues of freedom. He is also a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and senior fellow of the Trinity Forum. McClay has served on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities. His book, The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America, won the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American intellectual history. Among his other books are The Student’s Guide to U.S. History; Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America; Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past; and the forthcoming Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Public Life in Modern America. McClay received his BA from St. John’s College and his PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University.

Watch the video recording. 

2013 Lecturers

Patrick Deneen: "A Sort of Religious Terror: Why Tocqueville's Deepest Fears About Democracy Have Arrived"

Patrick Deneen holds a B.A. in English literature and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. He served as Speechwriter and Special Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency and was Assistant Professor of Government at Princeton University. From 2005-2012 he was Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, before joining the faculty of Notre Dame in Fall 2012. He has written many books including The Odyssey of Political Theory, Democratic Faith, Democracy’s Literature, The Democratic Soul, and Redeeming Democracy in America.

Watch the video recording. 

James W. Ceaser: "Tocqueville's World and Ours"

James Ceaser is the Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, where he has taught since 1976. He has written several books on American politics and political thought, including Liberal Democracy and Political Science, Designing a Polity: America’s Constitution in Theory and Practice, and Nature and History in American Political Development. He has also written many articles for both scholarly and popular publications. Ceaser has held visiting professorships at the University of Florence, the University of Basel, Oxford University, the University of Bordeaux, and the University of Rennes. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Watch the video recording. 

Robert Faulkner: "Democratic Greatness? Tocqueville on American Ambition"

Robert Faulkner is Professor of political science at Boston College. He is author of The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics, Francis Bacon and the Project of Progress, Richard Hooker and the Politics of a Christian England, and The Jurisprudence of John Marshall. He has also co-edited two books, America at Risk and Marshall’s Life of George Washington. Faulkner was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford and has held fellowships from the Ford, Mellon, Earhart, and Bradley foundations and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He earned his B.A. from Dartmouth College, his M.A. from Oxford University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Watch the video recording. 

Diana Schaub: "Tocquevillian Perspectives on Slavery"

Diana Schaub is professor of political science at Loyola University Maryland and a member of the Hoover Institution’s Jill and Boyd Smith Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society. She has received the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters and served as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. She is the author of Erotic Liberalism: Women and Revolution in Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, and co-editor of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song. Her many articles have appeared in such publications as The New Atlantis, National Affairs, Commentary, First Things, The American Interest, and City Journal. She earned an A.B. from Kenyon College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Watch the video recording. 

Course Syllabi