Self-Reliance, Community, and the State
01/27/2009 - 05/05/2009
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Public Affairs Center 421
What is distinctive about the position of the individual, community and state in American political thought? To be certain, there are distinctive features of American political thought that have persisted throughout U.S. history. There has been an ongoing and seemingly unshakable faith in the individual and a great value placed on self-reliance. Likewise, the community (whether defined in terms of geography, ethnicity, or shared religious or political beliefs) has often received far greater emphasis than the state. Indeed, the state has been feared as a negative force that must be guarded against if individual liberty and community self-governance are to be preserved. While there is a certain consistency in American political thought, there have been significant shifts as well. Citizens have adjusted their understanding of individualism, the community, and the state in response to changes in the economy and the organization of society. As citizens have survived wars and depressions, encountered the growing power of large economic and political organizations, and sought greater equality of opportunity, they have placed new demands on the state. The expansion of the national government and the transfer of power from the community are consequences of these demands. This seminar is designed to be an examination of how American political thought has changed since the constitutional debates.
We will read representative books and essays from several periods in US history, including works written by Madison, Emerson, Thoreau, Alger, Bellamy, West, Roosevelt, Rand, King, Kristol, and Murray.
Students will be graded on several analytical essays.
This course is open to auditors.
A syllabus for this course is available at:
Marc Eisner (B.A. University of Wisconsin; M.A. Marquette University; M.B.A. University of Connecticut; Ph.D. University of Wisconsin) is professor of government and Henry Merritt Wriston chair in public policy. He is author of six books, including Governing the Environment: The Transformation of Environmental Governance (Lynne Rienner, 2007), and is past president of the New England Political Science Association. Click here for more information about Marc Eisner.
Consent of Instructor Required: No
|Level: GLSP||Credits: 3||Enrollment Limit: 18|
Texts to purchase for this course:
Horatio Alger, RAGGED DICK (Digireads), paperback
Edward Bellamy, LOOKING BACKWARD (Dover), Paperback
Ralph Waldo Emerson, SELF-RELIANCE AND OTHER ESSAYS (Dover), Paperback
Charlotte Perkins Gilman, HERLAND (DOVER), Paperback
Hamilton, Madison, & Jay, SELECTED FEDERALIST PAPERS (Dover), Paperback
Martin Luther King, Jr., WHY WE CAN'T WAIT (Signet Classics), Paperback
Thomas Paine, COMMON SENSE (Dover), Paperback
Francis Schaeffer, A CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO (Crossway Books), Paperback
Henry David Thoreau, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE AND OTHER ESSAYS (Dover), Paperback
Nathanael West, A COOL MILLION AND THE DREAM LIFE OF BALSO SNELL (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), Paperback
READING MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323 Order your books online
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