POLI 4300: American Political Thought
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¶Course Summary This course aims to introduce students to the key debates and questions in American political thought from the time of the founding until around World War I. As has been frequently remarked, political writing and political debate have, in the United States, played the role that “national literature” has played in European countries. For the American political tradition has concerned itself not only with the evaluation of this or that policy or this or that candidate; it has frequently been the venue for the most important theoretical examinations of vital questions of statecraft, war and peace, morality, identity, and other matters. Through close study of essential essays, books, and speeches, students will begin to reflect on political-theoretical subjects such as the nature of rights and of equality, the purposes of government and the state, the nature of democracy and republicanism, and the role of religion. Concrete but also theoretical questions such as slavery and liberation, progress and the role of the Constitution, poverty, the role of “Old Europe,” and women’s rights and suffrage will also be addressed. ¶For Poli Sci majors: toward Political Theory distribution. ¶Expectations The length of the readings in this class varies. Sometimes we will be discussing a few short speeches. In other sessions, we will cover an entire novel. However, all of the material in the class demands, and rewards, careful reading and intellectual analysis. Students will thus be expected to come to class having carefully read the material for that class and developed their own opinions about its arguments and potential problems. ¶Every student will be expected to give a solo presentation on a specific reading. This presentation should be treated much like an essay: the presenter will introduce the author, the reading, outline its main arguments, highlight some problems and difficulties, and raise questions for class discussion. ¶There will be an essay assignment (c. 6-7 pages) with possible questions assigned by the instructor. ¶There will also be a take home final exam covering all the themes and materials of the course.
Rogachevsky, N. (2022, Fall). Syllabus: POLI 4300: American Political Thought. Stern College for Women, Yeshiva University.
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