Alexis de Tocqueville, the brilliant French nobleman whose Democracy in America (1835) used to be required reading on the campuses of elite liberal arts colleges, visited the United States during the apogee of the Second Great Awakening, a phenomenon that ranks as one of the most extraordinary bursts of religious revivalism in the history of Christendom. Indeed, it was religion in America that “first struck . . .

[Tocqueville’s] eye.” Unlike in Europe, where “the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom” seemed to clash, Tocqueville discerned a remarkable symbiosis between religion and democratic values in the United States. He doubted whether democratic-republican government in the United States could survive without religion.

The Christopher Dawson Society for the Study of Faith and Reason, founded by AHI co-founder Douglas Ambrose and AHI Fellow Sheila O’Connor-Ambrose, seeks to investigate the relations between religious belief and intellectual inquiry, between faith and reason, within the Western intellectual tradition. Named for Christopher Dawson (1889-1970), the distinguished British historian of culture and the first recipient of the Chauncey Stillman Chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Harvard University, the Society will meet monthly to discuss texts that illuminate the ways in which persons of faith have sought to engage the intellectual world of the ancient, medieval, early modern, modern, and postmodern West. Dawson meetings are open to the public. For further information, please contact us at (315) 292-2267.