In this course, we will examine Alexis de Tocqueville's most-read work, Democracy in America. In the 1830s, the French aristocrat toured the fledgling United States with the intention of studying its prisons. The scope of the work grew into a thorough study of the Antebellum United States as a whole; today, his work is considered to be the most significant study of America that was conducted by a foreigner. He assessed the American character by observing the country’s institutions, literature, art, race, the family, private associations, and other facets of American life. De Tocqueville tried to understand American democracy and its relationship to equality and excellence. Throughout the course, we will arrive at fundamental questions about our character as Americans and the nature of our democracy. This course is a continuation of Democracy in America: Volume I of Alexis de Tocqueville's Magnum Opus. This is a continuation of previous classes, but all are welcome to join!
Required Supplies: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, translated, edited, and with an introduction by Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; ISBN-10: 0226805360; ISBN-13: 978-0226805368. This translation is preferred but not necessary.