Alexis de Tocqueville: An International Conference Commemorating the Bicentennial of His Birth

Friday, September 30, 2005 - 8:30am to Saturday, October 1, 2005 - 1:00pm

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

The Beinecke Library at Yale University, in collaboration with the Tocqueville Society and with the support from the Florence J. Gould Foundation, is hosting a two-day international conference commemorating the bicentennial of Alexis de Tocqueville's birth. Well-known scholars drawn from a variety of disciplines will reflect on issues such as Tocqueville in the French intellectual tradition, his place as a comparativist political analyst, and his anticipations of contemporary political discourse. Professor Robert Dahl of the Political Science Department at Yale University will give the keynote address.


A Beinecke Library exhibition on Alexis de Tocqueville, Gustave de Beaumont, and the Challenge of Democracy, drawn from the rich Beinecke Tocqueville collections, will accompany the conference.


The conference is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested.

Friday, September 30th - Beinecke Library

8:30 a.m. Coffee, tea, pastries

9:00 - 10:30 a.m., Panel 1, Chair: Jennifer Pitts, Princeton University

  • Tocqueville's Journey Revisited: What Was Striking and New in America
    James Schleifer, College of New Rochelle
  • The Reception of Tocqueville's Work in Twentieth-Century Italian Intellectual and Political Circles
    Fréderic Attal, Université d’Orléans
    Commentator: Alan Kahan, Florida International University

10:30 - 11:00 a.m. Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:30 p.m., Panel 2, Chair: Bryan Garsten, Yale University

  • The Rhetoric of Hope and Fear in Tocqueville's Democracy
    Arthur Goldhammer, Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Tocqueville as a Writer
    Laurence Guellec, Université de Poitiers
  • Commentator: Steven Smith, Yale University

2:00 - 3:30 p.m., Panel 3, Chair: Gerard Gengembre, University of Caen

  • Alexis de Tocqueville and John Stuart Mill
    Frank Turner, Yale University
  • Tocqueville, Mill, and the American Whigs
    James Kloppenberg, Harvard University
  • Commentator: Seymour Drescher, University of Pittsburgh

4:00 p.m. Keynote Address by Robert Dahl, Yale University

Political Equality in America: Tocqueville and Today

Followed by general reception and opening of exhibition:
Alexis de Tocqueville, Gustave de Beaumont, and the Challenge of Nineteenth-Century Democracy


Saturday, October 1st - Beinecke Library

8:45 a.m. Coffee, tea, pastries

9:15 - 10:45 a.m., Panel 4, Chair: Olivier Zunz, University of Virginia

  • Tocqueville and Abolition: Slaves, Subjects, Souls, Citizens
    Cheryl Welch, Simmons College
  • Democracy as a Counter-Revolutionary Strategy in Tocqueville
    Stephen Holmes, New York University
  • Commentator: Robert Gannett, Independent Scholar

10:45 - 11:15 a.m. Coffee Break

11:15 - 12:45 p.m., Panel 5, Chair: Theodore Caplow, Tocqueville Society

  • Tocqueville's Blind Spot: Political Contestations under the Old Regime
    Keith Baker, Stanford University
  • Tocqueville European: France and Germany
    Françoise Mélonio, Université de Paris-IV-Sorbonne
  • La démocratie au risque de son armée - Talk to be given in French
    Jean-Louis Benoit, Lycée de Saint Lô (Classes préparatoires aux grandes écoles)
    Commentator: Simon Langlois, University of Laval


Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library
121 Wall Street | New Haven, CT 06511
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The exhibition gallery is closed while the library's building is under renovation.

Temporary Reading Room Hours 
Monday - Friday: 9 am to 4:45 pm

The temporary reading room is located in Yale's Sterling Memorial Library, across Wall Street from the Beinecke.

Holiday Schedule and Closed Collections Schedule