Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

Document Type



This dissertation examines the theory of revolutions presented in the main writing of Alexis de Tocqueville and its importance in the field of political theory as well as its possible application in the field of comparative politics. Scholars specializing in the study of the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville have for many years debated on whether the works of this author offer a comprehensive political theory of regimes and political change. This work supports the idea that in all his major writings de Tocqueville works within the same theoretical framework and develops his own typology of modern regimes. At the same time the work argues that de Tocqueville focuses not on “democracy” as such, but on the notion of revolution in modern politics. The resulting general model proposed by the dissertation combines elements of the ancient cyclical science of regimes with the modern concepts of political progress. The dissertation argues that this theoretical scheme is endowed with immense predictive power. It exemplifies the use of Tocqueville’s political science of revolutions with both historical and contemporary examples. The two final chapters contain a possible expansion of the Tocquevillian theoretical framework to account for the political phenomena that are still in their nascent stages of development.



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Committee Chair

Stoner, James R.