Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America

The Continuing Significance of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America


An Institute for College and University Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities

June 18-29, 2007
Director:  Dr. Daniel Ritchie
Director of the Humanities Program

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Bethel University

Saint Paul, Minnesota


A project of the We the People initiative

Over the last twenty years, many commentators have become alarmed at the decline of civic engagement in America, a vital element of our democratic culture.  The same period has witnessed a resurgence of the public significance of religion, both in America and abroad, making it especially urgent that we find a deeper understanding of its relation to democracy.  Recent years have also seen continued uncertainty over the meaning of equality in America, whether over racial and gender issues, or the power of the government to equalize the availability of social goods, such as health care and education.  In Democracy in America (1835, 1840) Alexis de Tocqueville provided an analysis of American civic associations, religion, and equality that defies categorization. Thoughtful Americans of every ideological persuasion look back to his work to refine their own questions and shape their own analysis.  This two-week institute provided college and university teachers the opportunity to expand their  knowledge of Tocqueville's text and engage their students in a more profound reflection on America's democratic heritage.

Sponsored by the National Association of Scholars

Funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities

Funding for this Summer Institute has been awarded to the National Association of Scholars. Bethel University, the site of the conference, does not seek or accept direct financial support from any government source.