“Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention…In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united.”
“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other…They brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity which I cannot better describe than by styling it a democratic and republican religion.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville
When Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States in 1831, he was stunned by differences he observed there compared with his native France. Both were presumably “democratic,” but while France seemed often bereft of genuine liberty and constantly threatened by the reemergence of despotism, de Tocqueville found America to be thriving in its freedom. The chief explanation, he argued, was the authentic influence of Christianity on American public life. How can Christianity inform public life? And what are its salutary benefits?
Dr. Stacey is the current Head of School at Augustine School in Jackson, Tennessee. He served as Provost and Professor of Government and Great Texts at The College at Saint Constantine from 2015 through 2021. He served as Associate Provost at Houston Baptist University and founding Dean of the HBU Honors College, Associate Professor in Regent University’s Robertson School of Government, and founding Chairman of the Department of Government at Patrick Henry College.