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POLSC301: American Political Thought

Unit 1: Foundations   This unit will provide you with an understanding of political theory in the earliest days of the American colonies to the beginning of the American Revolution.  You will learn about the mindset of the earliest colonists, their rationale for coming to the New World and how their concepts of freedom and unity helped shape later feelings of revolution and independence.  In addition, this unit will also highlight how early American thought was conflicted about issues such as religion, independence, unity, freedom, equality and slavery.  This unit will help you understand the diverse roots of American political thought and help demonstrate how these roots influenced the birth of the American nation.

Unit 1 Time Advisory
This unit should take you approximately 16.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 1.1:  2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.1.1: .5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.1.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2: 9.5  hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.2: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.3: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 1.2.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3: 4.5 hours
☐    Subunit 1.3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 1.3.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 1.3.3: 2 hours

Unit1 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe early colonial political and religious thought.
  • Assess the religious underpinnings of the Founding Fathers in relation to their views of government.
  • Describe the political philosophies of Enlightenment thinkers John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, Baron de Montesquieu, and Jean-Jacque Rousseau.
  • Describe prerevolutionary political thought among various colonial statesmen.

1.1 America: Political Roots and Origins   1.1.1 Early Colonial Political Thought   - Reading: U.S. Constitution On-line’s version of “The Mayflower Compact” Link: U.S. Constitution On-line’s version of “The Mayflower Compact” (HTML)

 Also available in:  
 [PDF](http://www2.hn.psu.edu/faculty/jmanis/document.htm)  

 Instructions: Read the brief introduction and the text of the
Mayflower Compact.  

 Note on the Text: The Mayflower Compact was an early document that
underscored some of the goals of the individuals who left Europe to
travel to America on the Mayflower.  This agreement served as the
basis for the mutual understanding and commitment of all of the men
aboard the Mayflower to create a government that would provide for
the common good.  This philosophy is a major component of later
American political thought.  To view in PDF format, please follow
the "PDF" link above; in the center column of the table of
resources, find and select the appropriate link.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above. 

1.1.2 Religion and Government   - Reading: John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” Link: John Winthrop’s “A Model of Christian Charity” (PDF)

 Also available in:  
 [PDF](http://ceateachers.org/node/112)  

 Instructions: Read the introduction and the text of “A Model of
Christian Charity.”  To view in another PDF format, please follow
the "PDF" link above; select the link at the bottom of the page.  

 Note on the Text: In this text, John Winthrop, a Puritan arriving
in America in the 1600s, explains his vision of the new community
that he and his fellow Puritans would create in America.  The
religious undertones you will notice in this text are representative
of the religious sentiment that tended to characterize those who
came to America at the time.  Note that religious freedom was not
the true motivation behind leaving for America: many of those who
arrived wanted to have the opportunity to practice their own
religion but did not necessarily tolerate other religions.  This
mindset was influential in colonial politics and in the shaping of
the relationship between politics and religion in the United States
going forward.  

 Terms of Use: The material above is available for viewing in the
Public Domain,
  • Reading: Excerpts of Roger Williams’ “The Bloody Tenet of Persecution” Link: Excerpts of Roger Williams’ “The Bloody Tenet of Persecution” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read the introduction and the text of “The Bloody Tenet of Persecution.”
     
    Note on the Text: In this text, Roger Williams, a Puritan who was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635, explains his feelings about the relationship between religion and civil government.  Williams’ experience in Massachusetts and his feelings about religious tolerance led to his founding of Rhode Island, the first colony to allow religious freedom.  Williams, therefore, played a major role in helping shape American political thought and the concept of religious freedom, tolerance, and separation of church and state.
     
    Terms of Use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

  • Web Media: iTunes: National Constitution Center: “We the People” Stories: “‘American Gospel’ with Newsweek’s Jon Meacham” Link: iTunes: National Constitution Center: “We the People” Stories: “‘American Gospel’ with Newsweek’s Jon Meacham” (iTunes Audio)
     
    Instructions: Please scroll down to podcast #182 and then listen to this entire podcast (approximately 64 minutes).  Note that Meacham, the author of “American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation,” discusses the history of religion in American public life and tells the story of how the Founding Fathers viewed faith and how they ultimately created a nation in which belief in God is a matter of choice.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.2 Enlightened Thoughts Impact American Politics   1.2.1 Natural Rights and Natural Law   - Reading: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan

 Link: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of Thomas Hobbes’
*[Leviathan](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Leviathan.pdf)*
(PDF)  
    
 Also available in:  

[Kindle](http://www.amazon.com/Leviathan-ebook/dp/B000JQUA0K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1288887464&sr=1-1)
(Free)  
 [EPub format on Google
Books](http://books.google.com/books?id=2oc6AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=leviathan&hl=en&ei=vdzSTNiVI8KBlAeU5YS-Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false)  
    
 Instructions: Read Chapters 13-15.  
    
 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
2.5](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/) (HTML).
You can find the original University of Adelaide version of this
article
[here](http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hobbes/thomas/h68l/index.html) (HTML).
  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 14—The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan” Link:  Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 14—The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan
     
    Also available in:
    HTML

    MP3
      
    Instructions: Watch this video lecture (45 minutes) which coincides with the assigned Hobbes reading above.
     
    About the Lecture: This lecture is taken from Professor Smith’s Introduction to Political Philosophy course at Yale University’s “Open Yale Courses.”
     
    Terms of Use: Steven Smith, Introduction to Political Philosophy, (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed March 17, 2011) License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. The original version can be found here.

  • Reading: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of John Locke’s Second Treatise

    Link: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of John Locke’s Second Treatise (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read Chapter 1—“Of the State of Nature.”

    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License 3.0(HTML).  You can find the original University of Adelaide version of this article here (HTML).

  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 15—Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise” (1-5) Link: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 15—Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise” (1-5)

    Also available in:
    HTML

    MP3

    Instructions: Watch this video lecture (45 minutes), which coincides with the assigned Locke reading above.
     
    Terms of Use: Steven Smith, Introduction to Political Philosophy, (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed March 17, 2011) License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. The original version can be found here.

1.2.2 Property Rights   - Reading: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of John Locke’s Second Treatise

 Link: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of John Locke’s
*[Second
Treatise](/site/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/The-Second-Treatise-of-Civil-Government.pdf)*
(PDF)  
    
 Also available in:  
 [EPub Format](http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/7370.epub)  
    
 Instructions: Read Chapter 5—“Of Property.”  
    
 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
2.5](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/) (HTML).
You can find the original University of Adelaide version of this
article
[here](http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/locke/john/l81s/) (HTML).
  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 16—Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise” (7-12) Link:  Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 16—Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise” (7-12)

    Also available in:
    iTunes U
    HTML

    MP3

    Instructions: Watch the first half of this video lecture on Locke’s philosophy of property.  You should stop viewing when Professor Smith begins talking about the consent of the governed, about 1/3 of the way through the lecture.
     
    Terms of Use: Steven Smith, Introduction to Political Philosophy, (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed March 17, 2011) License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. The original version can be found here.

1.2.3 Social Contract and the Consent of the Governed   - Reading: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan

 Link: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of Thomas
Hobbes’**[Leviathan](http://www.saylor.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Leviathan.pdf)* *(PDF)  

 Also available in:  

[Kindle](http://www.amazon.com/Leviathan-ebook/dp/B000JQUA0K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1288887464&sr=1-1)
(Free)  
 [EPub format on Google
Books](http://books.google.com/books?id=2oc6AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=leviathan&hl=en&ei=vdzSTNiVI8KBlAeU5YS-Dg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false)  

 Instructions: Read Chapters 17-19 and Chapter 30.   

 Terms of Use: The article above is released under a [Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike License
3.0](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/) (HTML).  You
can find the original University of Adelaide version of this article
[here](http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/h/hobbes/thomas/h68l/index.html) (HTML).
  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 13—The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan” Link:  Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 13—The Sovereign State: Hobbes, Leviathan

    Also available in:
    iTunes U

    HTML

    MP3

    Instructions: Watch this video lecture (44 minutes) which coincides with the assigned Hobbes reading above.
     
    Terms of Use: Steven Smith, Introduction to Political Philosophy, (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed March 17, 2011) License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. The original version can be found here.

  • Reading: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of John Locke’s Second Treatise

    Link: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of John Locke’s Second Treatise (PDF)

    Also available in:
    EPub Format

     Instructions: Read Chapter 8—“Of the Beginning of Political Societies.”

    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License 3.0 (HTML).  You can find the original University of Adelaide version of this article here (HTML).

  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 16—Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise” (7-12)  Link:  Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 16—Constitutional Government: Locke, Second Treatise” (iTunes U Audio)

    Also available in:

    HTML

    MP3

    Instructions: Watch the second half of this video lecture on Locke’s philosophy of the consent of the governed.  You should begin viewing at minute 15:00, when Professor Smith begins to discuss the consent of the governed.
     
    Terms of Use: Steven Smith, Introduction to Political Philosophy, (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed March 17, 2011) License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. The original version can be found here.

  • Reading: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s The Social Contract

    Link: University of Adelaide’s E-book Version of Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s The Social Contract (PDF)
     
    Also available in:

    Kindle ($2.99)
    EPub format on Google Books
     
    Instructions: Read Book I, Chapters 6-8.
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 (HTML). You can find the original University of Adelaide version of this article here (HTML).

  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 20—Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I-II” Link:  Yale University: Professor Steven Smith’s “Session 20—Democracy and Participation: Rousseau, Social Contract, I-II

    Also available in:
    iTunes U
    HTML

    MP3

    Instructions: Watch this video lecture (41 minutes), which coincides with the Rousseau reading assigned above. 
     
    Terms of Use: Steven Smith, Introduction to Political Philosophy, (Yale University: Open Yale Courses), http://oyc.yale.edu (Accessed March 17, 2011) License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0. The original version can be found here.

1.2.4 Republicanism and Structures of Government   - Reading: The Constitution Society’s on-line version of Baron de Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws: “Book XI. Of the Laws Which Establish Political Liberty, with Regard to the Constitution” Link: The Constitution Society’s on-line version of Baron de Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws :“Book XI.  Of the Laws Which Establish Political Liberty, with Regard to the Constitution” (PDF)
 
Also available in:
Kindle ($0.95)
EPub format on Google Books (p.161)
 
Instructions: Read Book XI.
 
Note on the Text: Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws was an extremely influential book in the mid-1700s.  The purpose of the book was to explain human laws and social institutions.  This chapter highlights two of the most important concepts derived from Montesquieu’s writings: the “separation of powers” into legislative, executive and judicial branches and “checks and balances.”
 
Terms of Use: The resource above is available in the public domain.

  • Reading: Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Baron de Montesquieu” Link: Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Baron de Montesquieu” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read section 4 of this entry.  This reading will help make some of the important points from Montesquieu’s original text clearer.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

1.3 Revolutionary Thoughts   1.3.1 Early Protest   - Reading: Hezekiah Nile’s “Association of the Sons of Liberty in New York; December 15, 1773” Link: Hezekiah Nile's “Association of the Sons of Liberty in New York; December 15, 1773” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read the primary source document written by the Sons of Liberty in New York.
 
Note on the Text: The Sons of Liberty was an early organization of colonists who opposed the actions of the British government.  They organized protests, boycotts, and other political (and sometimes violent) actions to object to the unjust treatment of the colonies by the British government and royal crown.  In this document, the Sons of Liberty articulate some of their objections to British action in the colonies and convey the overall sentiment of the patriots in the late 1700s.
  
Terms of Use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

  • Reading: Hanover University’s version of Samuel Adams’ The Rights of the Colonists” Link: Hanover University’s version of Samuel Adams’ “The Rights of the Colonists” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    Kindle ($0.99)
     
    Instructions: Read the primary source document written by Samuel Adams, one of the Founding Fathers, for the Boston Town Meeting on November 20, 1773. At the meeting, Adamsmade a motion that “a committee of correspondence” be appointed to draft a statement about the rights that the colonists felt were due them.  Based on the philosophies of John Locke, Adams and others believed natural rights were due them, under the protection of the British Constitution.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is available in the public domain.

1.3.2 Closer Steps Towards Revolution   - Reading: The Writings of Samuel Adams': “Circulation Letter of the Boston Committee of Correspondence; May 13, 1774” Link: The Writings of Samuel Adams': “Circulation Letter of the Boston Committee of Correspondence; May 14, 1774” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read this primary source document written by the Boston Committee of Correspondence.
 
Note on the Text: Committees of Correspondence were assembled throughout the colonies in order to share information about unfair British actions.  This document was written by the Boston Committee of Correspondence after the Boston Tea Party (December 16, 1773), a secret protest staged by the Boston Sons of Liberty against the British royal crown.  The participants in the Boston Tea Party assembled to protest unfair taxes, but the consequences of their actions (the passage of the “Intolerable Acts”) were profound.  This reading conveys the British response to the Boston Tea Party and the colonial sentiment concerning this punishment.
 
Terms of use: The material above is available for viewing in the Public Domain.

  • Reading: Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” Speech Link: Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” Speech (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read patriot Patrick Henry’s famous speech.
     
    Note on the Text: Patrick Henry, an orator and politician who led the movement for independence from Britain, gave this speech in the House of Burgesses (the legislative body in the Virginia colony) to convince his fellow Virginians to support taking up arms against the British in an early battle leading up to the American Revolutionary War. 
     
    Terms of use: The material above is available for use in the Public Domain.

1.3.3 Declaring Independence   - Web Media: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 3- Documents from the Revolution and Beyond” Link: The Regents of the University of California’s “U.S. Government and Politics: Lesson 3- Documents from the Revolution and Beyond” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Watch this two-part presentation.  Be sure to watch both sections by clicking on the advance arrow in the top right-hand corner of the player (under the “Help” link).  Additionally, click on the picture links under the “Explore” heading to learn more specific information on Thomas Paine and the Declaration of Independence.  Finally, feel free to use the glossary to highlight and review important terms discussed in the presentation.
 
Note on the Web media: This presentation will provide you with a good historic general overview for the content covered in both the readings for this subunit
 
Terms of use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

  • Reading: Archiving Early America’s on-line version of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense Link: Archiving Early America’s on-line version of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (PDF)

    Also available in:
    Kindle (Free)
    EPub format on Google Books

    Instructions: Read the text of Common Sense.

    Note on the Text: Common Sense was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine prior to the colonies’ declaration of independence from Britain.  The purpose of the document was to persuade colonists to support the revolution and independence.  Paine’s words were influential, leading many individuals to support American independence.

    Terms of Use: This resource is available in the public domain.

  • Reading: Thomas Jefferson’s “Declaration of Independence” Link: Thomas Jefferson’s“Declaration of Independence” (PDF)
     
    Also available in:
    EPub format on Google Books
    Kindle ($0.99)
     
    Instructions: Read the text of the Declaration of Independence. 
     
    Note on the Text: The Declaration of Independence was written after the first battles of the Revolutionary War were fought; it addresses the overall sentiment of many of the Patriots who were fighting for liberty against the British.  
     
    Terms of Use: The material above is available for use in the Public Domain.

1.4 Individual Liberty and the Issue of Slavery   1.4.1 Concept of “Enslavement” to England   1.4.2 Slavery as “Separable” From the Colonial Plight