Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

Nicholas Warner

Reader 2

George Thomas

Rights Information

Sofia L Trigo


This senior thesis is an exploration of the democratic self in the socio-political stratosphere. It grapples with the philosophical tensions between the individual and the collective that, ultimately, define the contours of American democracy. In particular, this thesis looks at how literary figures throughout the American Renaissance – early to mid 1800s - identified the democratic self and extrapolated its distinctive qualities. By analyzing the writing of Tocqueville, Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman, this thesis attempts to create a through-line between these various authors with regard to the democratic self. Furthermore, this thesis evaluates how persistent themes such as individualism, solitude, self-reliance, and inclusivity, are interpreted across the literature considered. This endeavor concludes with a synthesis pertaining to this literary analysis and a brief consideration of the future of the democratic self amid the tumultuous time of COVID 19.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.