Political Science | American Political Ideas II
Y384 | 3427 | Hoffman


		This course is the second in a two-course series in American
political thought. While its predecessor, Y383, covers the period from the
colonial era to the Civil War, Y384 covers the period from the Populist and
Progressive Eras (in the 1870s and 1880s) to present.  You need not take
both courses, and Y383 is not a prerequisite for enrollment in this course.
		To many of us, the debates in American political thought
during the latter parts of the 20th Century are relatively vivid and alive
in our minds.  This is because of the availability of film footage or even
lived memories of many of the events that have helped shape that political
thought. Since no television cameras were around to capture the events and
sentiments of the times with which this course begins, we must use a
different tactic to make them come to life. Thus, we will read the most
popular novel of the late 1800s, Edward Bellamy's political utopia, Looking
Backward.
		We will also look to more traditional sources of political
ideas -- treatises, letters, manifestos, party platforms, and the like -- to
see how various notions of freedom or liberty have arisen, to be both
refined and debated. Indeed, we will see that the real driving force behind
American political thought has been the debate over freedom.
		Some have believed freedom to be best promoted through
strong private property rights, others have believed it to be found in
non-coerced labor, and still others have identified it with active political
engagement, or with consumer choice. Some thinkers -- like Timothy Leary in
the 1960s -- have even argued that true freedom consists in the exploration
of alternative states of consciousness, brought about through the use of
psychedelic drugs or through religious-mystical experiences. Each of these
notions of freedom relies on different arguments and implies a different set
of expectations about the political system. We will see how this fascinating
array of "freedoms" remains relevant to our political thought at the end of
the millennium.
		In addition to exams and short reading reaction papers, Y384
students will be responsible for completing a writing project of moderate
length (approximately 8-12 pages). The required reading in this course will
be challenging and, at times, substantial in length. The reading load may
reach up to about 150 pages on some weeks.