POLS 163


American Political Thought



Many of the political ideas which Americans take for granted were once new and controversial. This course seeks to reawaken the great debates which shaped our political heritage. American political theory is very different from the more famous tradition of European political theory. While APT has important European roots, it also reflects the unique historical and cultural circumstances of America. For example, Americans have tended to be suspicious of abstract theory (maybe this includes you!) As a result, APT tends to be less abstract, less idealistic, and more practical than European theory. Futhermore, the American experiement was faced from the start with an intense debte over inclusion-- who would be included as citizens? The presence of slaves and Native Americans in a nation that was initially dominated by European colonizers led to contradic- tions within their political theories which they sought to suppress, to explain, or to reform.


Upper division standing or instructor consent




Normal Grading Rules