PG 344

American Political Thought

In the words of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, "Europe was created by history; America was created by philosophy." The history and character of the United States cannot be understood without careful examination of the ideas, theories, and philosophies that underpin the American nation. This course examines the various strands of American Political Thought, beginning with the early political thought of the Puritans. Much attention is paid to the theories that unite the United States, such as the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, as well as those ideas that have divided the nation, such as race and slavery during the Civil War. The course concludes by considering the enduring tensions in American liberalism and the modern civil rights era.