The Tocqueville Forum relies on the generous gifts of alumni, friends, and supporters. Please consider making a gift to help us continue the important work of educating about the Western tradition at Georgetown University. On behalf of the students, faculty, Fellows, and staff of the Tocqueville Forum at Georgetown University, thank you for your generous support!
If you would like to make a one-time or recurring donation through the secure Georgetown Giving website, please click on the "Make a Gift" button on the right. Select “Other” as the designation. Then, fill in “Tocqueville Forum” in the blank field below.
Donate by Check
If you would prefer to make a donation to the Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of the American Democracy by check, make it payable to "Georgetown University." In the memo line of the check, please write "Tocqueville Forum."
Please mail the check to the address below:
675 Intercultural Center
Washington, DC 20057
About Matching Gifts
If your company or organization would like to make a matching gift to the Tocqueville Forum, please send your donation along with the matching donation form from your company or organization, designating it to Georgetown University: Tocqueville Forum. The Georgetown University Office of Advancement can send you a receipt to provide proof of our 501c3 status; call the Office at (202) 687-4111.
I wanted to thank you all for the various work you did in putting together the Student Conference this past week at Princeton. I had a wonderful weekend, as I know my colleagues from Georgetown did as well. The experience of presenting a paper and hearing other students’ work was a valuable one, and it reanimated my passion for these things. So once again, thank you for all your work in arranging logistics, transporting us over there, responding to papers, etc.
I wanted to let you know what a pleasure it was to attend the lecture by Professor Birzer on Thursday night. His presentation was eloquent, informed, and riveting and shed new light on the context of our nation's founding. His enthusiasm for the topic was infectious, but inevitably leaves one a bit shell-shocked at such a casual display of intellectual muscularity. The subject of the lectures, Charles Carroll, was just as impressive as the man who spoke about him. It makes me want to go out and learn Latin and Greek just to keep up with the two of them!
Once again, it is such a privilege to have these events take place in our community and I wanted to thank you and the other people at the Forum for providing us with them.
I just wanted to let you know that the Carroll Lecture was incredible last night! Also, thank you so much for all the hard-work you put into the Retreat. It was such a wonderful experience, and I made so many new friends, who share my love for learning.
All the Best,
School of Foreign Service '12
As another note, I just returned from a week up at Harvard visiting a friend and interviewing some professors for my research with Phillip Blond. I had the opportunity to attend class with Harvey Mansfield, and talk with some of his students. One of the students had heard of the Tocqueville Forum, and told us that he wished something like it existed at Harvard. Once more I felt grateful for the opportunities that the Tocqueville Forum gave me as an undergraduate.
School of Foreign Service '10
Just wanted to thank you and your colleagues for an excellent program. I was sorry to have to leave early. Professor Bauerlein was predictably excellent, and the discussion was not surprisingly robust and illuminating.
Digital Age Event Attendee
I wanted to briefly thank you for inviting me and the other Tocqueville Forum student fellows to last night's Reagan Foundation event. Not only was the venue spectacular, but it was a good opportunity to have some interesting conversations, see a unique exhibit and do some serious networking. You wouldn't believe how many people know and respect the Tocqueville Forum; several people gave me their cards just because I'm a student fellow. On top of all of this, meeting and listening to Secretary Gates was a great experience, and certainly something to brag about to the folks back home in Utah. All in all, it was a splendid evening for which I wholeheartedly thank you and the Tocqueville Forum.
School of Foreign Service '10
I'm a senior, and the Tocqueville Forum Retreat was the first retreat I decided to attend at Georgetown. The talks gave me the best summation of the Constitution I have ever had, and the discussion brought life to the document in a way I never thought possible. The retreat sparked something of a genesis for me in terms of building a "relationship" with the document. I can only hope to continue this engagement with the Constitution as I go on through life. I will always have the Tocqueville Forum to thank for starting me on this journey.
School of Foreign Service '10
When I was a student at Georgetown majoring in American government, The Tocqueville Forum was exactly the kind of thing that was missing. Individual classes explored the roots of American democracy, certainly, but there was no center devoted to the topic. Now, as an analyst at a Washington-based think tank dealing directly with issues critical to our democracy, I am doubly aware of the importance of having something like the Forum, which can bring together academics and policymakers of all ideological stripes to tackle the issues that every day challenge American society. The Tocqueville Forum, I have no doubt, will soon become an invaluable contributor to the health of American democracy.
Dear Professor Deneen:
I just wanted to drop a note to tell you how pleased I was an alumna of Georgetown University to receive an invitation to Justice Scalia’s speech a few weeks ago. As you know, I have had the opportunity to hear Justice Scalia speak many times through my work at the Federalist Society and more general involvement in the conservative movement. In all those instances, I have never seen him voluntarily extend the question and answer period. It was a generous gesture on his part, and I was pleasantly surprised by the civility of the questioners.
I regret that I was unable to attend the remainder of the conference. In all my undergraduate years at Georgetown I can only think of one or two conferences that dealt capably and sympathetically with the American tradition. I know through conversations with my classmates that I was not the only student disappointed with the gaps in my education. I appreciate the work you are trying to do through the Tocqueville Forum in making up for deficiencies in the average student’s classroom experience.
Dear Professor Deneen:
It was a privilege to be able to attend “Constitutional Government and Civic Education in America,” the keynote lecture for the Tocqueville Forum this past October. This was one of the best lectures I have ever attended at Georgetown, because the question-and-answer period was filled with serious and thoughtful queries and responses about American constitutional law. I hope that Georgetown continues to hold such events and bring such speakers to campus. This is the type of university education that should be available to every Hoya. I learned a great deal.
College '05, LAW '08
April 9, 2009
Dear Professor Deneen,
I would like to begin by thanking you for helping create the Conference on the American Polity. This was a weekend of many firsts and I owe you a great debt of gratitude.
Last Saturday was my first ever visit to Princeton and I think I told you and must say I was rather awed by the campus in all of its splendor. What made the day even better, though, was the quality of the academic conversations going on that day on a variety of subjects I care about very deeply. From the time I entered the Lewis Library that morning, my mind was academically stimulated as is rarely equaled in my daily studies. Personally and professionally, I felt comfortable and at home, something hard to do in a typical college environment.
Thanks to so many people and ultimately yourself, Professor Deneen, the Tocqueville Forum has provided an umbrella under which I am freely encouraged to explore some of my political and philosophical ideas. I am relatively new to a lot of political philosophy but am devouring every chance to expand my knowledge. The more I read and study, the more everything starts to make sense to me and the more I realize the importance of not forgetting those who laid the foundation for us today. I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes from Cicero, "To not know what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?" In large part due to the Tocqueville Forum and its lectures and discussions, I am achieving the undergraduate education I expected from a university like Georgetown, but was sorely missing.
It is my hope to one day become a professor of American government and so I am greatly thankful for the opportunity to prepare and present some of my own research with my peers for the first time. This weekend provided me with a glimpse of what I can only hope is a similarly satisfying academic career. What better opportunity to sink my teeth into acadmic conferences than the Conference on the American Polity? For all of this, I thank you and look forward to another great conference next year on the Hilltop.
With kindest regards,
I am a junior majoring in Government and Philosophy. I attended the keynote address for "The Future of Civic Education in America" conference and really enjoyed it. I am very interested in the mission of the Tocqueville Forum on the study of American democracy and its roots in the Bible and Western political philosophy. Is there an opportunity for student involvement in the Tocqueville Forum other than in attending the events?
Thank you so much,
Congratulations on well-run and successful forum! Meeting Justice Scalia and hearing his brilliance in person will be one of the highlights of Georgetown Speakers. I look forward to becoming more involved in the Forum, and possibly taking one of your courses in the future.
Dear Professor Deneen: I wanted to tell you how exciting and enriching The Tocqueville Forum has been. It provides an experience I otherwise would not have acquired while at Georgetown. It is an entirely unique facet of my time here allowing me to gain knowledge about the origins of American political philosophy. This topic has unfortunately become rare in university studies, but all the more important especially as our country faces questions concerning her identity and purpose in the modern world. It is important that I and my peers are able to engage in lively discussions and lectures to reflect on the direction that American government should be taking today especially in considering where it has come from.
Thanks for all your great work!
School of Foreign Service '08
Dear Professor Deneen:
I wanted to write to say that you are a true asset to Georgetown University and to thank you for doing your best to make Georgetown truly great. The Tocqueville Forum has been a very important addition to Georgetown University and has had an important impact in the short period since its conception. I have been interested in American history since I was very young and I enjoyed studying it in depth at my high school, being fortunate to have very good teachers for Advanced Placement United States History and Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics. Unfortunately, since I came to Georgetown University and began studying International Politics in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, I have noticed a severe shortage of opportunities for study of U.S. history or even the opportunity to engage in dialogue about America's history and founding values. At a university located in the nation's capital and that is shaping so many future global leaders in many important fields, I have felt this to be inexcusable. Georgetown University has been one of the universities where, on average, students know less about American history after they graduate than they knew when they entered the school. I am confident that The Tocqueville Forum will be an important part of ending this sad state of affairs.
That is why I was thrilled to hear about the creation of The Tocqueville Forum. I had the opportunity to sit in on a lecture by Justice Antonin Scalia about American education and found it thoroughly enlightening. I also recently had the opportunity to watch a forum on William Jennings Bryan lead by Professor Michael Kazin, the author of a recent book on Bryan. Looking at the upcoming lectures leaves me very excited. I look forward to learning more and hopefully making my own contribution to The Tocqueville Forum in the future. The Tocqueville Forum offers an opportunity for students and faculty to engage in a dialogue about what drives this country and what gives it a unique place in history. I cannot wait to see the latest lectures and initiatives of The Tocqueville Forum!"
Please let me know how I can continue to help!
School of Foreign Service '09
During his recent lecture in Gaston Hall at Georgetown (which I was given the honor of attending), Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia discussed several of the court cases he has heard during his tenure on the Supreme Court and how his work as a Supreme Court Justice, as well as all those who have held this esteemed position, has been toward the end of increasing democracy in America. This lecture was a continuation of a deep-rooted passion, which, along with my previous exposure to the principles that have shaped America, makes me grateful for The Tocqueville Forum. I am driven to learn even more about democracy in America, past, present, and future.
I am very interested in participating as a Junior Fellow in the Tocqueville Forum for several reasons. I believe that, at the present time, America is in danger of losing sight of its founding principles. The founding ideals of our republic have always been a subject of interest for me. In my personal reading, I have tried to focus on books that address these ideals and their place in the present time. The roots of American democracy and the Western tradition as a whole have fallen by the wayside in many of today’s universities as a serious subject of study. Thus, it is important and necessary to revive the study of the original principles and ideals of American democracy, especially in the context of the wider Western tradition. I believe that the Tocqueville Forum serves a valuable function in today’s academic world and I would greatly like to be a part of this endeavor. This fall, I saw first-hand the value of the Tocqueville Forum when I attended Justice Scalia’s address. I found it very refreshing to hear Justice Scalia discuss the state of American civic education from a perspective that I believe merits more exposure. I see this as an excellent example of the good to be done by the Tocqueville Forum. Thus, due to my personal interest in the foundational principles of American democracy and my desire to see these principles attain a wider exposure in today’s academic world, I am strongly interested in participating as a Junior Fellow in the Tocqueville Forum.
School of Foreign Service '10
Four years ago I entered hallowed, stony walls of Georgetown University. Quickly, I realized that there was more to American government than my civics teachers had implied. For the first time, I read Locke, Mill, Jefferson, and Hamilton with a critical eye. I compared my notes with those of Tocqueville, Huntington, and Hartz. I sought the wisdom of the ancient Greeks and Romans. I saw that to understand, to truly comprehend American politics and the American polity, there was something deeper to investigate, something that offers a clearer, brighter light. My eyes were opened to political theory. I discovered that the ‘how’ of the system was not enough; one must also know the ‘why’. I now find myself searching for the philosophical sources of my beloved republic in twenty-five hundred years of public thought and asking what will become of her. Four years after entering Georgetown, I still wonder what can be done to better her future, though I do so now through the lens of theory, without which no policy can be meaningful. The Tocqueville Forum is undoubtedly the perfect supporter to such an exploration. Nothing would better foster this intellectual journey than my involvement in the Forum.
I have been very interested in the work of the Tocqueville Forum. Last semester, I attended several of the events during the Future of Civic Education in America Conference including Justice Scalia’s fascinating lecture on Civic Education in America. I am thrilled to have a chance to apply to be involved in similar future lectures and events. I also am a tremendous fan of James McPherson’s writing about the American Civil War and was excited to see that he will be giving a lecture. I think that my interests would be an excellent fit for this program and would look forward to being involved in such an dialogue about the American and Western Tradition with scholars that I admire so much.
As a Cadet who will be commissioning into the Army in two years, I am especially interested in scholarly groups like the de Tocqueville that emphasize civic involvement, because it is through this understanding that we ensure a strong republic. I would like to be personally involved in this forum because despite the current state of mind numbing American pop culture and partisan politics, I believe as Alexis de Tocqueville said in Democracy in America, “The immense majority have faith in the wisdom and good sense of human kind, faith in the doctrine of human perfectibility.” Through engagement with the Tocqueville Forum I hope to further educate myself and help facilitate student involvement in this program.
ROTC Cadet, College '08
My first exposure to the work of the Tocqueville Forum occurred at the Keynote Address given by Justice Antonin Scalia (COL ’57) at the conference on “The Future of Civic Education in America” on October 19th. What first drew me to the special opportunity to hear Justice Scalia was simply my immense admiration for the Justice. In addition to being able to hear one of my governmental idols speak, I was also opened to a new interest involving our country’s past and future: the importance of civic education. Throughout my years of earlier education, I have always had an interest in our country’s development into a democracy and the continuing extermination of religion from our government and public education. Attending this speech sparked my interest in further participation with the Tocqueville Forum. I have immense interest in further discovering and discussing more about our country’s history and future. It would be an incredible honor to be able to be in the presence of such knowledgeable public servants and skilled and passionate professors and researchers, as well as with fellow students with whom I share this passion.
I would like to become more involved in the Tocqueville Forum because of my continuing interest in political theory. I was fascinated by my Political and Social Thought course. I never had the opportunity to study philosophy directly in high school, but I found political theory to be an exciting crossroads of both new ideas and the historical and theological studies that I have long enjoyed. Though I am working on my core curriculum requirements this semester and was unable to continue studying political theory through coursework, I have been searching for ways to remain engaged. For example, I will be participating in a small reading group with students from our Political and Social Thought discussion session. We plan to continue the sort of conversations that we had in class, while studying an additional set of works in western political thought.
I understand that many diverse studies will be a part of my liberal education at Georgetown, but the fields of philosophy, theology, and history are of particular interest and importance to me. I see the Tocqueville Forum as a unique combination of these fields, as an opportunity to continue exploring the fascinating questions of government and society. I would welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Forum’s work, and am eager to participate in its events and lectures in greater depth. Thank you.
School of Foreign Service '10
While I have been extremely satisfied with my Georgetown experience, it seems that current events often take precedence over Constitutional underpinnings on our campus. Heeding Father Schall’s advice not to major in current events, I see the Tocqueville Forum Junior Fellows program as a unique way to focus on what he might call “the higher things.” Based upon my interests and my studies, I believe I would be an asset to this program and the valuable discussions it will lead in the comings months and years.
Whether selected to this program or not, I would like to thank Professor Deneen, Professor Mitchell, and Professor Lieber for their commitment to this special project. The very existence of the Tocqueville Forum would lead Tocqueville himself to conclude that democracy in America is indeed alive and well…
“The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”
It is important to look to our nation's founding and never forget our own history. Many of Georgetown's courses focus on international politics and history, but our students should also have a strong background in American constitutional democracy. Our location in Washington, D.C. gives us the unique opportunity take advantage of all of the resources of our nation's capitol.
I enjoyed hearing from Justice Scalia last semester. During the fall, I was enrolled in Constitutional Law I, and I benefited from hearing his thoughts on several of the issues we discussed. The upcoming events sound excellent, and I would love to become more involved with the Tocqueville Forum and its events on campus. Thank You.
School of Foreign Service '09
Having attended some of the Forum’s events this past Fall, I have experienced firsthand the intellectual exchange that the program fosters, and I am excited by the possibility of being more active in the Forum’s events.
Attending the lecture by Justice Scalia was certainly an enlightening change to hear from one of our nation’s most often cited—if rarely seen—public servants. However I found the next day’s panel discussions to be at the heart of the Tocqueville Forum. In my eyes, the enduring legacy of Tocqueville is a quest of definition. What does it mean to be American? I am fascinated by this question, because in my eyes it is both self-evident and impossible to quantify. It is easy to bestow the title “American” on everything from apple pie to yellow school buses. Seldom does anyone stop to ask what makes those things American. I believe the question--“What is American?”—presents the challenging proposition of defining what is instinctual. This quest for definition is an important part of the American quest to know oneself.
Georgetown is a university that offers a rare balance between the concept of academic inquiry and pragmatic solutions to world problems. Even as Georgetown students are learning humanities that are often claimed to hold little “real world value,” we are encouraged to use our newfound knowledge to leave a positive impact on the world. In my eyes, the question of “what is an American” carries more than mere academic weight. In a world undergoing profound change, and at a time when American values are constantly being reevaluated, I believe it is increasingly important to ask that critical question. Certain aspects of the Tocqueville Forum, particularly some of the panel discussions, shed some light on the meaning of the adjective, “American.” More than ever before, these discussions are important in forming the views of those who are sincerely concerned about the trajectory of the United States.
School of Foreign Service '10
I am an American and I see it as my solemn obligation to help protect and preserve this union. Understanding that knowing America is essential to protecting her, I sat down with a massive volume of Democracy in America and journeyed through it last summer. This same responsibility to know my country better urges me to write to you today.
I desire, solemnly, to serve America as a good citizen should. I am still unsure what career will become the vessel of my service in the future. Perhaps I will defend the liberties of America’s citizens as a lawyer in her courts. Perhaps I will instill the love of country into the next generation as a teacher in her schools. No matter what course my duty demands in the future, the Tocqueville Forum is an opportunity to satisfy my duty today. The Forum is committed to understanding, “the origins of and prospects for American constitutional democracy.” So am I.
After hearing Justice Scalia speak earlier this year, and listening to your introduction of him, I began to ponder more seriously Georgetown’s seal and its relationship to the intellectual development of Western society. The Cross and the globe each represent different methods of learning and comprehending the world around us. The Cross represents not just Christ, but also divine revelation as a means of human understanding. The spherical globe represents human reason as a means of understanding. While this may seem anachronistic to some, the balance between faith and reason, between the intellectual centers of Jerusalem and Athens, has shaped Western Civilization, and in turn, American democracy. The scroll in the mouth of the eagle on the seal has the words “"Utraque Unum". Not knowing the historical context of this phrase, I looked it up. Georgetown’s website states that it is taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Much like Paul’s entire ministry, the letter to the Ephesians was intended to indicate to gentiles that God’s covenant to the Jews had been extended to all, and that the people of the world were united under His favor. The pertinent passage states:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace who hath made both one, ...Now therefore ye who are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.
The unity of the Jews and the Gentiles in Christ echoes the same sentiment as the Cross and the Globe; the unity of two different but not contradictory elements into one special creation.
Just as Western Civilization was shaped by the dual yet related teachings of Athens and Jerusalem, American democracy is the result of these same elements. My interest lies in examining the influences on American democracy since its inception. I wish to examine not just the practical functioning of American democracy, but rather its intellectual evolution. As Chairman of the Georgetown University College Republicans for the past year, I have had first hand experience in the practical aspects of American democracy. My only classes on Political Philosophy with Fr. Schall have whetted my tongue for more, and I feel that the Tocqueville forum is an opportunity to satisfy that desire.
Taking into consideration the many practical and intellectual challenges that face the West, I feel that it is more important than ever to keep in mind the principles and values that represent the foundation of American constitutional democracy. I look forward to the opportunity to examine those principles and values more closely in the Tocqueville forum.
During the Fall 2006 semester I attended a few of the lectures hosted by the Tocqueville Forum. I was very impressed, both by the individual speakers as well as the lectures themselves. It would be a wonderful opportunity to be able to meet with the lecturers, especially in the company of other undergraduates. I would also be interested in being able to meet with other students who share similar enthusiasm over being able to meet in a more intimate group with the various lecturers invited to speak. The overarching benefit to joining the Junior Fellows Program would be to allow for greater insight through the new opinions offered by the speakers into on the contemporary issues, as presented in the context of the developing face of democracy. The new perspectives offered by attending the Tocqueville Forum lectures would help me as I go on to study the effect democracy has had as it has spread globally.
The United States has since its inception worked to spread the specific strain of democracy that its founders had worked to establish. To understand the current American definition of "democracy" is important to look back to the definition given by the people who set up the United States government. This means finding a definition that fits into the society of the United States over 200 years ago, a definition which as Justice Scalia pointed out in his speech for the Tocqueville Forum, is influenced dually by Western philosophy and by Judeo-Christian religious principles.
To become a Fellow for the Tocqueville Forum would be a great opportunity. I want to not only participate on a higher level of involvement with the speakers already scheduled to visit Georgetown, but also to play a role in helping in the future of the Tocqueville Forum.
Whenever anyone asks me who my favorite speaker has been during my time at Georgetown, I always say Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Not only was Scalia brilliant and witty but never before had a speaker at Georgetown more eloquently expressed many of my views and beliefs. I hope that I will be a part of bringing more speakers to Georgetown that can articulate the views of the many conservative students on campus. Also, I hope that by listening to other conservative voices I can broaden my knowledge of the conservative movement and better articulate my beliefs. Lastly, I would be honored to be involved in planning the future of the Toqueville Forum so that it becomes a prominent conservative force on campus. Through the Tocqueville Forum, I would look forward to making the conservative voice on campus louder and more articulate.
I greatly enjoyed seeing Justice Antonin Scalia earlier this year, and would have relished the opportunity to speak with him in a more appropriate forum—though I did muster the courage to ask him a question, quoting Chief Justice Robert Jackson’s own writings on the role of government in prescribing what shall be orthodox in religion, politics, or any matter of opinion, and eliciting a very thorough and nuanced response from Mr. Scalia. As for the upcoming events, I am thrilled to see that James McPherson will be speaking—Battle Cry of Freedom is one of the better history books ever written and is personally my favorite text about the Civil War. I am interested in any opportunity to meet Mr. McPherson and the other guests in a more intimate setting. I would really like to be a part of the Tocqueville Forum, and, since I will already be attending many of these events, would enjoy the chance to participate in this program as a Junior Fellow.
While I believe that labels are insufficient in defining character, I consider myself to be conservative in many aspects of my life. I am a firm believer in maintaining the traditions instilled in our government at its founding, whether it be the mention of “God” in the pledge of allegiance and on US currency, or the teaching of virtue and religious values. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia emphasized the difficulty in maintaining the traditions of our unique democracy in his address to the Georgetown community in October 2006: “ the Court has shown great hostility towards the founders’ vision of religion as a way to foster civic virtue, and at worst it has actively obstructed the fulfillment of that vision.” The foundation of our nation, the strongest in the world, was established upon virtue and a strong intent of civic duty. It is impossible to deny that religious values also played a large role in our nation’s history. As these components are increasingly challenged, it is crucial to educate Americans on the founding principles of the United States democracy.
After learning of the mission of the Tocqueville Forum - to educate students about “Western political philosophy and the Biblical and Christina religious tradition” – I became deeply interested in supporting this program. I believe that I can both contribute to the fellowship with planning and organizational skills, as well as benefit from the lectures and conferences funded by the forum. I would consider it an honor to participate as a Junior Fellow and I sincerely hope that I will have the opportunity!
In a circuitous fashion I believe that my study and comprehension of foreign cultures while at Georgetown has led me to a deepened appreciation of my own country. I have often observed that American students of international relations neglect and perhaps fault their own social upbringing while glorifying the novelty of new places, cultures, people and political systems. This tendency is apparent not only in my colleagues but also in the core curriculum of the SFS. In order to serve one’s country one must understand it—and I believe there is a decided lack of focus on American civic education.
From a more individual perspective I am interested in being a part of the Tocqueville Forum because the dialogue of the forum seems to resonate with my social outlook. I grew up in a small community where as an Eagle Scout and Catholic I developed my own sense of civic virtue.
I had the pleasure to attend Justice Antonin Scalia’s keynote speech earlier this year. I was greatly interested by both his opinions and the opening remarks made by Professor Deneen. I was pleased to learn that I could involve myself in the Tocqueville Forum.
School of Foreign Service '10
I have been able to take too few electives in regards to America’s democratic traditions and philosophical roots. The little I have been afforded to dabble in these pursuits, the more I have regretted my lack of opportunity therein. However, after attending a few of the Tocqueville Forum’s events last semester including Justice Antonin Scalia’s lecture, I have considered this experience to be the balancing factor in my education at Georgetown. This represents a balance between my rigorous curricular discipline in the SFS and my thirst for an understanding of my country’s inheritance.
In this capacity, I hope that membership in the Tocqueville Forum Fellowship will complement my education in the SFS by combining my international focus with an experience in the American democratic traditions. One cannot understand the United States’ role in international affairs unless one may already firmly grasp her instruments of foreign policy and their origins in the government “of the people by the people and for the people.” For this reason, I would be deeply committed to the activities of the Fellowship and would bring enthusiasm to all areas of my participation.
School of Foreign Service '09
Dear Professor Deneen,
I am writing to express my interest in The Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy. As a conservative student, I find it frustrating that much of traditional western philosophy is never discussed on our open-minded campus, as it is often deemed offensive or out of date. Other students like me gravitate to the few professors at Georgetown who teach traditional political philosophy and remain their dedicated pupils for four years. In many ways, the open-mindedness of our campus is discriminatory against students with traditional values or knowledge of philosophy pre-dating the intellectual revolution of the 1960s.
I want to participate as a fellow in the Tocqueville Forum because I am very interested in American democracy and the culture of freedom in the United States. This past fall I attended the speech given by Justice Scalia on Civic Education, and it inspired me to further examine the ways through which children today are being deprived of an education in democratic values. To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, the United States could disappear in a matter of twenty years, since all it would take is for the current leaders to not pass down American ideals to the next generation. I feel that the Tocqueville Forum truly understands Jefferson’s words, and I would be honored to be able to participate in Georgetown’s study of the foundations of American democracy
Thanks again for the work that you are putting into the Tocqueville Forum, Professor Deneen. The conference on civic education and other events have been among the highlights of my time at Georgetown. The opportunity to hear these well-respected scholars speak and to visit with them informally have included speakers of great interest to me
(First Year Graduate Student)
Dear Professor Deneen:
I wanted to write to tell you how much I appreciate the new initiative, “The Tocqueville Forum.” In just a few months, the Tocqueville Forum has set an impressive (and, for a graduate student, inspiring) track record of first-rate discourse on the roots of American democracy. Panelists are uniformly selected not just for height of profile but expertise in their relevant fields. In the auditorium, conference room, and seminar room, I've enjoyed consistently well-attended talks that spurred long conversations afterward -- in a particularly valuable combination of smarts and collegiality. Names, cards, and email addresses were exchanged on account of genuinely shared interests. Perhaps best of all, at a time when one often feels forced to choose -- from a palette of cliques -- between nostalgia and trendiness, the Tocqueville Forum has quickly demonstrated an exemplary commitment to focused but dogmatically uninhibited public study.
(First Year Graduate Student, Department of Government)