Political Science | Development of American Political Thought
Y384 | 10533 | Hanson


Political Science ,  Development of American Political Thought
Y384 ,  Hanson
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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, 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 debates over the constitutionality of
health care reform, stimulus programs, and the like. We will also
speculate on the future of these ideological differences in American
politics with the proliferation of Tea Parties have revived debates
over the intentions of those who founded the republic. Along the way
we will consider previous versions of these debates, reading selected
Federalist and Antifederalist Papers, Henry David Thoreau, slavery
debates, post-Civil War amendments to the Constitution, 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
three essay exams. Short writing assignments will be regularly
administered via OnCourse, too.