| American Political Ideas 2
Y384 | 3305 | Meilleur
Y384 is the second in a two-course series in American
political thought. The first course covers the period from the colonial era
to the Civil War and Reconstruction; Y384 covers the period from the
Populist and Progressive Era to the present. You need not take both
courses, but many students do.
In Y384, after a brief introductory section discussing
historiography and the history of ideas, we will begin with the political
thought of the Populists and the Progressives, as they developed during the
1880s through the 1910s. We will pay special attention to how these
thinkers responded to and participated in both socialism and the suffrage
movement. After moving through World War I and its aftermath, we will
discuss the Great Depression and its consequences upon American political
thought, especially our tradition of social reform (the "New Deal") and
grass-roots activism. After World War II, we will examine the rise of
anti-communism and post-war liberalism, the growing civil rights movement,
and the paradoxical strand of anti-ideological sentiment in American public
life. From there, we trace a number of important traditions in American
political life: mature civil rights activism, feminism, various aspects of
the Left and the Right (including the New Left, the New Democrats, the New
Right and neo-conservatism). My goal is to connect the way American thought
and argued about politics at the end of the last century to the way we in
the present think about politics.
There will two exams and one paper assignment for this
course; I will give the first exam approximately one-third of the way
through the course, the paper (app. 10-15 pp.) will be due about two-thirds
of the way through the course, and the final (where else?) at the end.
There will be a good deal of reading for this course, and in-class
discussion will be a significant part of the course.