Political Science | Foundations of American Political Thought
Y383 | 12603 | 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 via OnCourse.