POSC 352: The Political Thought of Alexis de Tocqueville

Instructor: Barbara Allen
Political Science
Fall 2011

Viz Tocqueville Webpage

Course Description
This course was devoted to close study of Tocqueville's Democracy in America, which has plausibly been described as the best book ever written about democracy and the best book every written about America. Tocqueville uncovers the myriad ways in which equality, including especially the passion for equality, determines the character and the possibilities of modern humanity. Tocqueville thereby provides a political education that is also an education toward self-knowledge.


In POSC 352 we considered Tocqueville's hopes and misgivings about democracy. We compared the colonial enterprises of Tocqueville's Algerian mission with contemporary imperialist projects and analyzed current social movements in terms of his portrayal of conditions of social equality the mentality of individualism, the unexpected democratic emphasis on uniformity and conformity, and an excessive drive for material well-being. We asked how far a Tocquevillian Analytics takes us in understanding his world and ours. We presented an exhibition event to showcase our projects.

Exhibition and Related Material

Research Plan Assignment

Label Assignment for Artifact