Political Science | Modern Political Thought
Y382 | 9717 | Aurelian Craiutu
Y382. Modern Political Thought
Professor Aurelian Craiutu
Summer I 2011
Woodburn Hall 401
T,W, TR: 1:30 – 3:35 pm
OH: T, TR 3.45-4.45pm
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 circumstances?
These are the key questions we'll address in this class.
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.
Baltasar Gracián, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, Shambala Classics, 2000,
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)