History | Power and Virtue from Machiavelli to Rousseau
B300 | 25806 | Savonius-Wroth


Above class meets first eight weeks only
A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to undergraduates and Education MA’s only


This course traces the transformation of European sensibilities and
political imagination from the late Renaissance to the early
Enlightenment. It sets the scene with discussion of religious
warfare and persecution in early-modern Europe, of rebellions and
revolutions, of trade and colonialism. It then examines the key
debates over moral virtue and political power, and links these
debates to the works of the great theorists such as Machiavelli,
Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Their works offered rival notions of
citizenship—rival assumptions about the ideal citizens' moral
identity as well as about how they should be educated, how they
should behave, even about how they should exchange greetings in the
street.

The course is designed to enable students to delve into the
historical settings of major texts.  There will be weekly reading
assignments in primary sources; readings for discussion will include
major works, ephemeral pamphlets, letters, and manuscript drafts.
Students will be graded mainly on the basis of take-home writing
assignments.