Seminar in United States History

Exploring American Democracy with Alexis de Tocqueville as Guide

Alexis de Tocqueville, who visited the United States in 1831-32, wrote the famous two-volume Democracy in America (1835, 1840) still avidly read today.  With this book, Tocqueville contributed to the idea of America with such brilliance that he helped Americans define themselves.  The young French aristocrat was the most influential theorist of the United States as a society built on voluntary associations.  We will engage the American context in which Tocqueville's thoughts evolved and explore Tocqueville's critical reflections on civil society, liberty, equality, and their relevance for our own lives. His seminal book will be our starting point to write seminar papers on American democracy.   

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts