The development of american political thought

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Fall 2010
THE COURSE surveys the development of American political thought from the age of revolution through the late twentieth century with an emphasis on the moments of special significance for the evolution of American political key concepts and institutions. All readings are selected from primary materials - founding documents, speeches, platforms, statements, essays, Supreme Court decisions, and letters - in an effort to understand American political mind through the arguments of its most prominent political actors.

REQUIREMENTS. Students will be required to make four oral in-class presentations summarizing the readings, write two short papers, and participate in class discussions of the materials. Grades will be determined as follows: oral in-class presentations 80%, two short papers 20%.

OCTAVIAN ROSKE, Associate Professor, University of Bucharest. Published Contemporary American Fiction, 1975-1985, 1989; American Conservative Tradition, 1783-1860, 1998; Repressive Mechanisms in Romania, 1945–1989. Biographical Dictionary, 2001- 2009.

WEEK 1: Introduction. Method. Sources. Requirements

WEEK 2: Challenging the British Empire: The Spirit of Revolution

Readings: Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, 1774, in George B. de Huszar, Henry W. Littlefield, and Arthur W. Littlefield, Basic American Documents, Ames, Iowa, Littlefield: Adams and Co.,1956, pp.33-37. Charles Inglis, The True Interest of America Impartially Stated, 1776.

WEEK 3: The Philosophy of Government: Constitution of the United States

Readings: Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 15, December 1, 1787. Robert Yates, Brutus No. 11. January 31, 1788.

WEEK 4: The Doctrine of Frugal Government: The Jeffersonian Vision

Readings: Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, September 6, 1789, in The Annals of America, vol. III, 1784-1796: Organizing the New Nation, Chicago, London, Toronto: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc., 1976, pp. 389-392. Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Elbridge Gerry, January 26, 1799, in Bernard E. Brown, ed., Great American Political Thinkers, vol. I: Creating America: From Settlement to Mass Democracy, New York: Avon Books, 1983, vol I, pp. 336-338.

WEEK 5: Vox Populi: Jacksonian Democracy

Readings: Andrew Jackson, Veto of the Bank Renewal Bill, July 10, 1832, in Richard D. Heffner, A Documentary History of the United States, 5th edition, New York: A Mentor Book, 1991, pp. 94-99. Daniel Webster, Reply to Andrew Jackson, July 11. 1832, in Annals vol. V, pp. 535-541.

WEEK 6: Saving the Union: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Readings: Abraham Lincoln, Second Confiscation Act, July 17, 1862 Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus, September 24, 1862 http://www. Abraham Lincoln, Letter to James C. Conkling, August 26, 1863, in Annals vol. IX, pp. 436-439.

WEEK 7: The Farmers Resort to Political Action: The Populist Revolt

Readings: The Platform of the Populist Party, 1892. People’s Party Platform, 1896, in Melvin I. Urofsky, ed. Basic Readings in U.S.Democracy, Washington D.C.: U.S.I.A., 1994, pp. 181–184.

WEEK 8: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal

Readings: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fireside Chat on the New Deal, May 7, 1933. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fireside Chat on the Reorganization of the Judiciary, March 9, 1937.

WEEK 9: McCarthyism and the Illusion of Consensus

Readings: Joseph R. McCarthy, Speech to the Senate, February 20, 1950, in Robert Kelley, ed., The Sounds of Controversy. Crucial Arguments in the American Past, vol. II, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1975, pp.157-171. Joseph R. McCarthy, Reply to Edward R. Murrow, April 6, 1954.

WEEK 10: A Decade of Frustration: The Struggle for Civil Rights

Readings: Martin Luther King, Jr., Pilgrimage to Nonviolence, 1958, in Richard N. Current, John A. Garraty, and Julius Weinberg, eds., Words That Made American History. Since the Civil War, vol. II, Boston, Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1978, pp. 147-152. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clairborne Carson, New York: Intellectual Properties Management, Inc., 2005, pp. 63-82.

WEEK 11: Exploring the Roots of Oppression: The New Feminism

Readings: NOW Statement of Purpose, 1966, in Urofski, Basic Readings, pp. 390-394. Roe v. Wade, 1973, in Heffner, Documentary History, pp. 391-396.

WEEK 12: “We Want Freedom”: The Black Panther Party

Readings: Black Panther Party Platform, October 1966, in Deirdre Mullane, ed., Crossing the Danger Water. Three Hundred Years of African-American Writing, New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1993, pp. 680-685. Stokely Carmichael, Black Power, November 19, 1966, in Joanne Grant, ed., Black Protest. History, Documents, and Analyses. 1619 to the Present, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1970, pp. 459-466.

WEEK 13: The Conservative Mind: Ronald Reagan

Readings: Ronald Reagan, Address Before a Joint Session of the Congress Reporting on the State of the Union, January 26, 1982, The Public Papers of President Ronald W. Reagan. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Ronald Reagan, Message to the Congress Transmitting Proposed Legislation on a Constitutional Amendment on Prayer in School, May 17, 1982.

WEEK 14: The Liberal Agenda: Barack Obama

Readings: Barack Obama, “A More Perfect Union” Speech, March 18, 2008. Barack Obama, Address to Joint Session of Congress, February 24, 2009. http://www.whitehouse.go/the_press_office.

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