Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy

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The American Political Tradition (Fall/Spring)

This course studies the theoretical ideas that informed the creation and development of America’s political system and considers some of the major contemporary challenges to the maintenance of American democracy. Topics treated include the political thought of the American Founders, the place of religion in public life, the nature of written constitutions, and the role of America in the world. The course takes place in a seminar setting limited to no more than twenty students. Emphasis is placed on the discussion of important texts and documents. The course is supplemented with occasional lectures by selected experts from inside and outside of the University, which are held at the Jefferson Society Hall.

Course syllabus: American Political Tradition

American Political Economy (Fall/Spring)

This course will explore the development of the American economic system since the Founding and its relationship with political institutions. In particular, we will assess the various arguments for or against specific economic regimes such as Progressivism, the welfare state, and neoliberalism, as well as the ways in which these regimes succeeded or failed within political-institutional restraints. While some basic economic principles will occasionally be drawn upon in order to deepen our understanding of these regimes, no previous knowledge of economics is required for the course.

Course syllabus: American Political Economy

Occasional Course Offerings

PCD occasionally sponsors additional courses in political theory and American politics. Past offerings have included The Reformation and Early Modern Political Thought (Matthew Sitman), The Judaic Political Tradition (Daniel Doneson), Religion and Politics (Jeremiah Russell), and Statesmen as Founders and Actors: Constitutional Government and Political Institutions (James Ceaser).