POLI 271: Modern Political Thought

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People living in the United States today have formed similar or shared opinions about the nature of human beings, what liberty and equality mean, what the ends of government should be, and, given those ends, how government ought to be structured. Few dispute, for example, the United States’ philosophical commitment to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for all of its citizens. Far from being isolated in time, however, these opinions are shaped by a long history of scholars thinking and writing about politics—we are the heirs to this tradition of modern political thought. The purpose of this course will be to learn about that inheritance.

Required Texts:

  • Machiavelli, Selected Political Writings, trans. and ed. Wootton
  • Hobbes, Leviathan, ed. Curley
  • Locke, Second Treatise of Government, ed. Macpherson
  • Rousseau, The Basic Political Writings, trans. Cress
  • Mill, ed., On Liberty and Other Essays, ISBN  978-0199535736
  • Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engels Reader, ISBN 978-0393090406

View a sample course syllabus.

Contact the Friday Center at CCO@unc.edu with any questions or for more information.

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