The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Constitution Day with Speaker Dr. Dana Stauffer

"Tocqueville on the Modern Soul"

Tue, September 17, 2019 | BUR 116

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Professor Stauffer describes her talk thus: The United States Constitution, signed two hundred and thirty-two years ago in Philadelphia, remains strong, but the American constitution with a small “c” shows troubling signs of decline. Americans are discontent, as individuals and as citizens, and our political climate is rife with bitterness and frustration on all sides. My talk explores the insights into our situation that can be gleaned from Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic work, Democracy in America. This work, undertaken to reflect on the transition from aristocracy to democracy, transcends Tocqueville’s initial intentions in writing it, and offers us a profound meditation on the interaction between modern democracy and human nature. As I try to show, Tocqueville’s analysis illuminates both our plight and the reasons we struggle to diagnose its causes. 

Professor Stauffer is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Government.




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