An Introduction to French Political Thought

Academia Tocqueville is a summer seminar that provides an intensive introduction to French political thought and culture.


Founded in 2023, Academia Tocqueville is a twelve-day seminar which is located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Paris). Our curriculum focuses on the different schools of thought that comprise the French Right. The program is open to graduate students, as well as young professionals.

Over the course of their studies in Paris, guided by distinguished scholars and writers, participants study the liberal-conservative tradition and encounter representatives of counter-revolutionary thought. They discover French conservatism’s critical and constructive engagement with Bonapartism and Caesarism. Finally, they discover how Catholic political thinkers interacted with French conservative thought.

Thinkers studied include Blaise Pascal, Charles-Louis de Montesquieu, Alexis de Tocqueville, Louis de Bonald, Joseph de Maistre, François-René de Chateaubriand, Charles Péguy, Simone Weil, Georges Bernanos, Jacques Maritain, Charles de Gaulle and Raymond Aron. 

Students also examine contemporary French politics and society with notable public figures and journalists. 

Evenings are enlivened by various cultural activities that introduce the French way of life. An excursion to a prominent château in the vicinity of Paris provides a capstone experience.

The program will be conducted in English. Some sessions will be in French with English translation provided. No knowledge of French is required.