Understanding America—and Ourselves
The seal of Georgetown University encapsulates the vision of the Tocqueville Forum. The American eagle is its central focus, emphasizing that Georgetown is a loyal member of the American order.
The eagle clasps in one claw the globe and in the other a cross. This image shows that the two fundamental supports of American liberty lie in its roots in the Greek and European political, philosophic, and scientific traditions; and, equally, in the Christian biblical tradition.
Georgetown’s motto—utraque unum, or “both one”—points to the need for America to integrate these two major streams of the Western tradition, philosophic and religious, in order to sustain a strong and enduring republic. The year—1789—emphasizes the shared birth date of the university and the nation under the newly ratified Constitution.
In keeping with the intentions behind Georgetown’s seal, the Tocqueville Forum is committed to promoting a deeper knowledge of the American and Western tradition from a preliminary stance of gratitude for the inheritance of freedom under law that we enjoy. Only through a stance of sympathetic examination is the impulse toward improvement properly and moderately embraced, with patience, loyalty, and persistence.
The Forum places a special emphasis upon exploring the relationship between constitutional democracy and Roman Catholicism. Among the vital contributions of the Catholic tradition are the ideals of self-government within a constitutional order governed by the natural law. As a part of a Roman Catholic and Jesuit university, the Tocqueville Forum takes seriously its special responsibility to provide Georgetown students with thoughtful reflections and discussions of the ways that the Catholic tradition informs and supports constitutional democracy, in addition to the ways that Catholicism can provide a critical lens into the shortcomings and weaknesses of liberal democracy.