Political Science | Intro to Political Theory
Y105 | 3924 | Grodnick


Political leaders in the United States focus on issues of debatable
importance.  We often hear politicians speak about economic
efficiency, security, and progress.  At times, political debate
involves scandal and partisan bickering, with opposing parties merely
striving to win over the electorate at any cost.  Absent from such
discussions are foundational political issues that theorists have
debated for over two thousand years. Y105 will introduce students to
such issues, focusing on the ideas of the most influential political
theorists.  We will analyze the various ways theorists have answered
the most basic and pertinent question of political theory: "What is
the best state or political system?" and its related query, "What is
a corrupt political system?"  Course readings include selections from
Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, Machiavelli's Prince, Hobbes'
Leviathan, Locke's Second Treatise of Government, Rousseau's Social
Contract, Tocqueville's Democracy in America, and Marx and Engels'
Communist Manifesto.  Course assignments include two papers and a
final exam.  Students will be expected to hand in a quality second
paper that should be an improvement over the first.  On the final
exam, students will be required to identify key textual passages and
clarify their importance.