Tocqueville turns 200
Acton Institute Powerblog

Tocqueville turns 200

Alexis de Tocqueville, author of Democracy in America, was born on this date in 1805.

Charles Colson, in his introduction to Carl F.H. Henry’s “Has Democracy Had Its Day?” writes that Tocqueville

was a realist and recognized how fragile democracy is. He saw, as many moderns do not, that it could only survive if citizens continue to exercise their civic responsibilities, which is what our founders knew to be the most essential republican virtue. They also understood that democracy is sustained and fueled by the religious impulse. Thus, John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” And this is what caused Tocqueville to observe that, “Religion in America must be regarded as the first of their political institutions.”

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.