We present a general method for deciding whether a Grothendieck topos satisfies De Morgan's law (resp. the law of excluded middle) or not; applications to the theory of classifying toposes follow. Specifically, we obtain a syntactic characterization of the class of geometric theories whose classifying toposes satisfy De Morgan's law (resp. are Boolean), as well as model-theoretic criteria for theories whose classifying toposes arise as localizations of a given presheaf topos. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.