POL S 318 A: American Political Thought I

Meeting Time: 
TTh 11:30am - 1:20pm
MLR 301
Jack Turner
Jack Turner III

Syllabus Description:


This course surveys American political thought from the colonial era to the Civil War. Topics covered include the meaning and consequences of the first encounters between American Indians and Europeans; Puritan and Quaker concepts of mission, the individual, community, and liberty; the rise of the idea of the “self-made” man; the ideology of the American revolution; debates between Federalists and Anti-Federalists over the Constitution; Jeffersonian republicanism and Jacksonian democracy; democratic culture; the conflict over slavery; the question of women’s equality; and the relationship between freedom, the rule of law, and popular sovereignty.


Learning Objectives

 1. To obtain a basic knowledge of the history of American political thought from the seventeenth century to the Civil War, as well as a sense of the historical trajectory of American ideas about freedom, equality, and democracy.

2. To expand our ability to connect past to present, so that our political arguments are more historically informed.

3. To conduct political dialogue with sympathy, critical attention, passion, and respect.

4. To strengthen our command of English prose through careful writing.

Catalog Description: 
Major thinkers in American political thought from Franklin to Madison to Douglass to Jacobs to Lincoln. Emphasis on tensions between freedom, slavery, equality, violence, and "the power of the people." Prerequisite: cannot be taken for credit if POL S 312 already taken.
Department Requirements: 
Political Theory Field
American Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:16pm