Democratic Greatness? Tocqueville on American Ambition
An Alpheus T. Mason Lecture on Constitutional Law and Political Thought: The Quest for Freedom
Robert K. Faulkner, Research Professor of Political Science, Boston College
Make America great again? But what is America’s greatness? The famous Alexis De Tocqueville explored the tensions among this dynamic country’s expanding ambitions and complicated creed of equal rights. Faulkner examines Tocqueville’s conclusions.
Robert Faulkner is Research Professor of Political Science at Boston College, where he taught the history of political philosophy for many years. Prior to joining the faculty at Boston College, he taught for several years at Princeton University. He is a past chair of the Department of Political Science at Boston College, and a past president of the New England Political Science Association. He has held fellowships from the Ford, Mellon, Earhart, and Bradley foundations, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His most recent book, The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics (2007), defends the classical philosophers’ admiration for outstanding virtue against doubters such as Hobbes, Kant, Nietzsche, and Rawls. He is also author of Francis Bacon and the Project of Progress (1993), Richard Hooker and the Politics of a Christian England (1981), and The Jurisprudence of John Marshall (1968). His shorter writings address similar topics, not least Locke’s seminal liberalism. He co-edited John Marshall’s Life of George Washington (2000) and America at Risk: Threats to Liberal Self-Government in an Age of Uncertainty (2009). He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from Oxford University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
- The Witherspoon Institute