Political Science | Modern Political Thought
Y382 | 13111 | Craiutu

Y382 (13111): Modern Political Thought

Professor Aurelian Craiutu
Spring 2011
Woodburn Hall 401
Woodburn Hall
(812) 855-5883

This course addresses a few timely issues that should appeal to a
broad range of students interested in politics broadly defined. The
main themes of this course—power, statesmanship, and political wisdom—
will provide the lenses through which we shall read key texts in
modern political thought.  In our discussions and lectures, we shall
address the following questions: What do we mean when we say that
someone is a good or bad politician? What are the requirements of
effective leadership in politics and public life? What is political
power and how must be exercised? Can we successfully combine ethical
behavior with worldly success? Is compromise desirable in politics?
How can we distinguish between opportunism and integrity in politics?
What role do words and rhetoric play in politics and what does a
successful political speech look like? What should be the defining
virtues of legislators? And, last but not least, is there a “science
of politics” or only “an art of politics” that varies with times and
The required readings include Machiavelli’s The
Prince, Baltasar Gracián’s The Art of Worldly Wisdom, Locke’s Second
Treatise on Government, The Federalist Papers, and selected speeches
of Edmund Burke and Abraham Lincoln. The assignments for this class
are not the conventional ones encountered in typical survey courses.
Students will be required to act like advisers to the “prince” and
legislators by drafting specific memos on concrete issues of their own
choice. They will also be asked to write a speech addressing specific
contemporary topics in light of the readings studied in class.

Required Books

Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, Shambala Classics, 2000,
ISBN  1-57062-745-2

David Wootton, ed. Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli
to Nietzsche (Hackett,
1996, ISBN 0-87220-341-7)

Edmund Burke, On Empire, Liberty, and Reform: Speeches and Letters
(Yale UP, 2000, ISBN 9 780300 091473)

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Hackett, 2000, ISBN