March, 2020

Introduction

  • Peter J. Boettke

    Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Adam Martin

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Interest in the social thought of Alexis de Tocqueville comes in waves.  The frequency with which books cite his work peaked in the 1940s, again in the 1960s, and in the late 1990s—probably driven by the social capital bubble in the political science literature.  We suspect it is time for another surge of interest in Tocquville's thought.  Concerns about polarization and incivility in political discourse suggest that this may be a critical juncture for civil society and the United States.  Open doubts about liberalism and the rise of nationalist, anti-globalist rhetoric beg for a Tocquvillian analysis.  And an increasing focus in public discourse about the fate of marginalized group echoes Tocqueville's own approach.  

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