PSC 221 Philosophical Foundations of the American Revolution

Political Science Field: Political Philosophy
Typically offered every 2-3 years

Richard Dees
Fall 2015 — MW 10:25-11:40

The eighteenth century was a time of remarkable intellectual activity in the West and those thoughts shaped events then and now, both in America and in the rest of the world. In this course, we will study the American Revolution by examining the political theory which sparked the revolution itself and which lay behind the writing of the Constitution, particularly the works of Locke, Montesquieu, Hume, Paine, Jefferson, and the Federalist and anti-Federalist writers.

Richard Dees
Fall 2013 — TR 11:05-12:20

Course Syllabus

In this course, we will examine the philosophical foundations of the American Revolution by examining the political theory which lies behind the revolution itself and which underlies the foundations of the Constitution, while keeping an eye at the historical contexts that shaped the philosophy. We will begin by looking at the important predecessors to the revolution, particularly the works of John Locke, Montesquieu, and David Hume. We will then consider important works from the period surrounding the revolution, including works by Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. Finally, we will look at the debates surrounding the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, including the Federalist Papers and important anti-Federalist works.