Spring-Summer 2020 Blogging Democracy Contest: Tocquevillians Go to the Polls

We’re proud to announce the winners of Tocqueville 21’s second Blogging Democracy contest! Over the course of the spring and summer, students in the Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago responded to the following question:


In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville describes presidential elections in the United States as moments of great “agitation,” in which American democracy periodically finds itself in danger (I.i.8). What exactly are the dangers Tocqueville saw in the election of the chief executive? Are they still present for democracies today? And do Tocqueville’s concerns address the most pressing needs for electoral reform in the contemporary democratic world?


Students went through several rounds of edits and workshopping with Tocqueville 21 editors Jacob Hamburger and Danielle Charette, drawing on their knowledge of Tocqueville and other writers they encountered in the University of Chicago’s Core Curriculum. The two co-winners and their essays—which will be published on the blog this week—are listed below. Congratulations to the students for their hard work, and we hope our readers enjoy their reflections on the dangers and challenges of electoral democracy, in Tocqueville’s time and in ours.


Carissa Kumar, “Tocqueville and Voting by Mail in a Pandemic”

Deven Mukkamala, “Electoral Reform and Tocqueville’s Crisis”


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