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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Spring 2007

GOV 335M • American Political Thought

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
38765 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
MEZ B0.306

Course Description

"In the beginning," John Locke observed, "all the world was America." For Locke, seventeenth-century America presented the world with an example of the state of nature where individuals enjoyed and suffered a condition of natural freedom. Over a century later, Alexis de Tocqueville too located the natural consequences of the age of democratic revolution in America: " I admit that I saw in America more than America; it was the shape of democracy itself which I sought, its inclinations, character, predujices, and passions; I wanted to understand it so as at least to know what we have to fear or hope therefrom." For Locke as for Tocqueville and many more, America is both exemplary and exceptional; it has significance not only for itself but for humanity. So we too turn to the political thought of America not only because it is ours but also to better grasp the meaning and fate of liberal democracy.

Readings are drawn from the history of political thought, contemporary political theory, and contemporary political science.


Readings are drawn mainly from primary materials: they include arguments, essays, and statements from thinkers and political actors. All readings are on reserve at Grossman Library in Sever Hall. Also, you may want to consult a general history such as Brinkley, American History: A Survey (McGraw Hill, 1995). The following books have been ordered at the Coop for purchase. If you are purchasing elsewhere, any edition is fine. A sourcebook (with readings marked by "*") of out-of-print readings is available at Jenn's Copy on Guadaloupe, in the basement of the Scientology Building. Calhoun, A Disquisition on Government, (Hackett) Emerson, Selected Essays, (Penguin) Delbanco, The Real American Dream: Franklin, Autobiography, (Dover) Hamilton, Madison, Jay, Federalist Papers, (NAL Dutton) Heimert, Puritans in America, (Harvard) Jefferson, The Portable Thomas Jefferson, (Viking Penguin) Ketcham, The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates, (Mentor) Lincoln, Selected Writings and Speeches, (Vintage, Library of America) Lowance, Against Slavery: An Abolitionist Reader (Penguin) Paine, Common Sense, (Dover) Shklar, American Citizenship (Harvard) Stanton, The Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Susan B. Anthony Reader, (Northeastern) Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Chicago) Thoreau, Walden and Civil Disobedience, (Penguin)


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