Political Thought and Literature
Study the writings of political philosophers, poets, and orators from ancient, medieval, and modern eras, focusing on their understandings of human nature and the purpose of government. Learn how each has influenced the American political tradition.
This category requires three courses and offers various 1-credit electives:
- GOV 501: Political Thought and Literature I (3 credits): This course examines central texts of antiquity that excellently articulate and profoundly shape culture, citizens, cities, and republics, including America’s own.
- GOV 502: Political Thought and Literature II (3 credits): This course examines disparate strains of Modern political thought and culture and their relations to and rejections of ancient and Christian accounts of the best way of life.
Key texts: More’s Utopia; Bacon’s New Atlantis; Shakespeare’s Hamlet; selections from Augustine’s City of God, Aquinas’ Treatise on Law, Machiavelli’s Prince, Locke’s Second Treatise, as well as readings from Seneca, St. Paul, Erasmus, Defoe, Rousseau, Hegel, Baudelaire, Mill, Marx, Nietzsche, Foucault, Eliot, Frost, etc.
- GOV 503: The Art of Rhetoric (1 credit): This course examines both the technical art of persuasion to the truth through speech as well as the ethical incorporation of rhetoric into the full life of a republic and its leading citizens.
Key Texts: Cicero, On the Orator; selections from Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Rhetoric, Plato’s Gorgias and Phaedrus, as well as speeches from Cicero, Demosthenes, Isocrates, and Lincoln.
GOV 701: Special Topics in Political Thought (1 credit):
Topics: Roman Republicanism; Alexis de Tocqueville; Post-modernity; Plato’s Republic; Wisdom Literature; Augustine’s Political Thought; Plutarch’s Lives and Moralia; Thucydides; Machiavelli, etc.
GOV 702: Special Topics in Liberal Arts (1 credit):
Topics: Shakespeare’s Histories; Political Tragedies; Seneca’s Epistles. Homer’s Odyssey; Virgil’s Aeneid; The American Character in Literature; Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment; Hawthorne’s America; Augustine’s Confessions; Ancient Satire; American Political Poetry and Polemic.
Explore the meaning and history of American constitutionalism from the Founding through the Civil War, the rise of progressivism, and the growth of the modern administrative state. Analyze the profound and crucial debate over the meaning of liberty and the proper role of American government.
This category requires four courses and offers various 1-credit electives:
- GOV 511: American Founding and Constitution (3 credits): A thorough study of the political thought and practice of the American founding, focusing on the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the purpose and structure of the U.S. Constitution.
Key Documents: Declaration of Independence; U.S. Constitution; Federalist Papers 10, 51, etc.; essays, speeches, and letters of leading founders, and other public documents.
- GOV 512: American Constitutional Development (3 credits): This course examines the disputes in American politics from the era of Whig and Jacksonian politics through the fundamental divisions concerning Union, liberty, equality, and slavery leading to the crisis of Civil War.
- GOV 513: American Progressivism and Liberalism (3 credits): This course covers the rise of the progressive and liberal political traditions in American politics, criticisms of those traditions, and their influence in the twentieth century.
- GOV 514: Modern American Government (3 credits): Focusing on the developing operations of all three branches, this course studies how modern American government developed and how it works in practice today, emphasizing how our government has come to be dominated by bureaucratic administration rather than its previous constitutional form.
Learn how to apply the principles of free government and advance the cause of constitutionalism and liberty in the context of ever-changing circumstances in American society and around the world.
This category requires students take the 1-credit cornerstone course, The Art of Governing, and a total of three other 3-credit Statecraft elective courses, for a required ten credits of course work in Statecraft. As in the other categories, the Statecraft category also offers various 1-credit electives.
- GOV 520: The Art of Governing (Required 1 credit): The course will serve to introduce students to the fundamental elements of statesmanship and statecraft and will include both philosophical and practical treatments of the nature of politics and political prudence generally.
Choose three from 3-credit elective courses in Statecraft such as:
GOV 521: Constitutional Jurisprudence (3 credits): This course examines the jurisprudence of the significant actors and cases in the development of constitutional law in the United States, taught topically or historically.
GOV 522: Grand Strategy (3 credits): This course examines how regimes act and think in the world in light of their own principles and those of other actors and nation- states in order to develop an understanding of foreign policy and grand strategy.
GOV 523: Politicking (3 credits): Considers the role of elections in a constitutional republic, and traces the development of American political parties from the founding period to the present day through major elections and electoral periods. Examines the role played by elections and political parties in shaping our constitutional order, and addresses the manner in which elections and the operation of parties affect the character of American politics.
GOV 524: Constitutional Law (3 credits): prerequisite: GOV 521
GOV 525: American Presidency (3 credits):
GOV 526: U.S. Congress (3 credits):
Elective 1-credit courses:
GOV 721: Special Topics in Statesmanship (1 credit):
Topics: George Washington; James Madison; Frederick Douglass; Abraham Lincoln; Winston Churchill; Thomas More; Ronald Reagan.
GOV 722: Special Topics in Statecraft (1 credit):
Topics: Political Economy; Citizenship and Identity; Social Welfare and the Common Good; Administrative Law; US Civil War.