Susan E. Gallagher, Associate Professor, Political Science Department, UMass Lowell

By surveying landmark texts in the history of Western political thought, this course provides an overview of some of the central ideas that have shaped present-day approaches to politics and government. During the first two thirds of the course, we will read selections from Plato, Aristotle, Niccolò Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, J.J. Rousseau, John Locke, Adam Smith, the Federalists, Karl Marx, Henry D. Thoreau, W.E.B. DuBois, J.S. Mill, Simone de Beauvoir, Michel Foucault, and John Rawls. Then, after exploring ways in which the principles and ideas advanced by these theorists relate to ongoing political developments and debates, students will make presentations on topics chosen from a list of possibilities such as Aristotle's legacy to scientific inquiry, Smith's role in the making of modern economics, Thoreau's contributions to environmental philosophy, and what DuBois can teach us about race relations in the twenty-first-century.

1. Introduction: The Foundations of Western Political Thought

2. Pre-Modern Approaches to Political Order

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527): Politics as a Craft

Required Reading: Machiavelli, excerpts from The Prince (1532).

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679): Avoiding the War of All Against All

Required Reading: Thomas Hobbes, excerpts from The Leviathan (1651).

Thomas Hobbes

3. Politics, Government, and the Rise of Capitalism

Assignment 3

John Locke (1632-1704): Property & Political Power

Required Reading: John Locke, selections from John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1689).

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1788): Nature, Law, and Government

Required Reading: selections from J.J. Rousseau, The Social Contract (1762).

Adam Smith (1723-1790): Society as a Self-Regulating Machine

Required Reading: selections from Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776).

Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) & James Madison (1751-1836): A Government Suited to Commercial Society"

Required Reading: James Madison, Federalist #10 (1788).

political thought assignment 3 Midterm
4. The Quest for Freedom in the Industrial Age

Karl Marx (1818-1883): Capitalism, Revolution, and the End of Government

Required Reading: Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848).

Philip Gasper, "Marxist Classics: The German Ideology," International Socialist Review, 33, Jan–Feb 2004.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862): Liberty, Slavery, and American Democracy

Required Reading: Thoreau, "Slavery in Massachusetts" (1854) (pdf) (html).

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873): The Tyranny of the Majority in Industrial Society

Required Reading: selections from J.S. Mill, On Liberty (1859.

5. The Politics of Inequality in the 20th Century

W.E.B. Dubois (1868-1963): The Color Line

Required Reading: selections from The Souls of Black Folk (1903).

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986): Woman as 'Other'

Required Reading: selections from The Second Sex (1949).

6. Theorizing Politics After Modernity

Michel Foucault (1926–1984): Problematizing Political Thought

Required Reading: selections from Michel Foucault, The Archeology of Knowledge (excerpts), trans. A. M. Sheridan-Smith, 1972).

John Rawls (1921-2002): Imagining a Legitimate State

Required Reading: Dr. Jan Garrett, "Rawls' Mature Theory of Social Justice: An Introduction for Students."