Political Science | American Political Ideas 2
Y384 | 9836 | Hanson


Y384 is the second course of a two-semester sequence on American
Political Ideas.  The first course is Y383, which is an independent
unit; students may take either Y383 or Y384, or both.

Americans have distinctive ideas about liberty, equality, popular
sovereignty, and the limited role of government (even a democratic
one) in socioeconomic affairs. These ideas set us apart from other
peoples, who have very different ideas about politics. Yet it is also
true that Americans disagree amongst themselves about the exact
meaning of the ideas we share. In this course we will discover the
origin of these disagreements, trace their evolution in time, and
witness their expression in contemporary political discourse. We will
also speculate on the future of these ideological differences in
American politics. Along the way we will read selected Federalist and
Antifederalist Papers, Henry David Thoreau, the slavery debates, and
selections from 20th century writers who address issues of race,
gender, and class in American politics.

Reading will average 150 pages per week, and all students will write
a ten-page research paper and complete two essay exams. Occasional
brief assignments will be administered via OnCourse.