The young Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville traveled extensively in the Jacksonian America of the 1830s, and wrote a two-volume book based on his observations. Widely regarded as the most perceptive commentary ever written on the character of the American republic, it deals with the social preconditions for democracy, issues of religion, race, and gender, the conflict between freedom and equality, and the potential danger of soft despotism. The assigned readings will be excerpts from the book. We will meet five Tuesday evenings during winter and spring quarters, from 6:30 to 9:00, at my home. Precise dates will be determined in consultation with the class. We will begin each session with an informal dinner at 6:30, leaving about two hours for discussion. I will ask two students to lead the discussion each session. Enrollment will be limited to eight students. DISCUSSIONS IN ETHICAL & PROFESSIONAL VALUES COURSES RANKING FORM: To apply for this course, 2L, 3L and Advanced Degree students must complete and submit a Ranking Form available on the SLS website (Click Courses at the bottom of the homepage and then click Consent of Instructor Forms). See Consent Application Form for instructions and submission deadline. Elements used in grading: Class attendance at all sessions and class participation.