Tocqueville on American Lawyers and American Courts
A guest lecture by Professor Alan S. Kahan, Universite de Paris-Saclay
It is a rarely noted fact that Alexis de Tocqueville was a lawyer. It is true that he gave up the practice of law forever when he took ship for America in 1831. But a close reading of Democracy in America shows how carefully he read the US Constitution, discussed American law with the leading American legal experts of his day, and analyzed the social and political effects of the American legal system. Tocqueville’s insightful discussion of American lawyers and American courts has rarely attracted attention from commentators, but it has much to teach us at a moment when legal decisions have never attracted more scrutiny and the courts more controversy.
Alan S. Kahan is professor of British civilization at the Université de Paris-Saclay. He is a senior member emeritus of the Insitut Universitaire de France, and previously was professor of history at Florida International University in Miami. He has written a number of books, including a translation of Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the Revolution; Mind vs. Money: The War Between Intellectuals and Capitalism; Tocqueville, Democracy, and Religion; and most recently Freedom from Fear: An Incomplete History of Liberalism, which will be published by Princeton University Press in August. He lives in Paris and is a connoisseur of croissants.
This event is open to the public. No tickets are required.
Jack Miller Center through a grant to the UNLV Great Works Academic Certificate program