Political Science | American Political Ideas I
Y383 | 3949 | Kersey


The question “What are American political ideas?” is an extremely
complex one which contains in itself a number of important questions.
Is there a unified set of American political ideas, or does it
contain multiple (and perhaps conflicting) strains of thought?  Is
there something that differentiates the political thought of American
from that of England, Germany, or France?  Has American political
thought changed over time, and if so, how do we relate to the ideas
of previous generations?

These are some of the questions that we will be addressing in this
course.  To this end, the semester will consist of three conceptual
sections.  In the first section, we will examine the historical
unfolding of American political thought from pre-colonial thought in
England to the ratification of the Constitution.  The second section
will take a comparative look at American political thought, primarily
through “Democracy in America”.  The third section will be more
reflective, questioning both interpretations of early American
political thought as well as the relevance that it has for current
political problems.

Coursework will consist of a number of in-class quizzes and two take-
home exams.