Political Science | American Political Ideas I
Y383 | 20646 | Hanson
This course explores early American ideas about government
and its role in social and economic life. We trace these ideas to
their English origins and show how they were adapted by immigrants in
New England, mid-Atlantic, and Southern colonies, respectively.
These adaptations laid the groundwork for a Declaration of
Independence and the exercise of popular sovereignty under the
Articles of Confederation. The Constitution of the United States was
proposed in reaction to the alleged excesses of majority rule under
the Articles, and we will review the ratification debates in detail.
We conclude with an assessment of a newly-installed government that
was republican in character, but not democratic in form.
The course is taught in lecture format. Reading assignments average
about 175 pages per week. Grades are based on three essay
examinations and a series of short quizzes or exercises administered