Seminar in Political Theory:
American Political Thought

Poli 494, Spring 2007
201-200-3259 Email:

Political Science Dept.


Useful Links


Prof. Moran Homepage

Discussion Topics

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people."
-- John Adams


Our seminar in political theory for the spring 2007 semester will focus on American political thought. We will trace the evolution and development of American political ideas from the colonial period, through the founding, to the civil war and reconstruction, industrialization, and post-World War II developments. We will be using primary source documents -- both in hard print and on the internet -- for this excursion. As this is a seminar, students are responsible for a significant amount of the teaching and learning that will take place.


Useful Links


Pre Revolutionary Thought

General resource for texts and documents in American thought:

Assorted Texts

Some background info on perhaps the leading American intellectual from the colonial period:

Ben Franklin


Library of Congress Exhibit on the Declaration

Thomas Paine

Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776

Madison's Notes of the Constitutional Convention

Antifederalist Selections

Thomas Jefferson

Here's some fun links, you'll need some audio software though:
Audio Clips
The "audio clips" site includes fragments of the Watergate tapes
Presidential Speeches: This site has audio samples going back to Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison!


Civil War & Reconstruction

Ralph Waldo Emerson
This site has a nice selection of Emerson's poetry and essays.

Orestes Brownson Society
Has a pretty complete collection of Brownson's works, including copies of the literary journal he published.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony Papers
This site has an excellent selection of papers from these two feminist pioneers.

1848 Seneca Falls Convention
This site includes a copy of the Seneca Falls Convention Declaration of Sentiments as well as biographies of the leading women of the movement.

Slave Diaries
An amazing collection of writing written by slaves offering a first hand account of the ordeal.

Frederick Douglass
A useful site containing some of Douglass's writings.

African American Mosaic
The Library of Congress on-line exhibit of the African-American experience; includes text, graphics, and timelines.

The Underground Railroad
A great site covering the history of the underground railroad, narratives, and maps.

The Civil War
The site offers pretty thorough coverage of the civil war.

Dred Scott Decision
This link will take you to the case. When you get to it, just scroll down about a half inch or so and cut to the part where Tawney begins to address the question as to whether or not the framers understood blacks to be included in either the "all men are created equal" clause of the Declaration of the "We the People" clause of the Constitution. The paragraph begins "The question is simply this..." Try to plow through as much of it as you can.

Press Reaction to the Dred Scott Decision

This link includes editorials -- from southern and northern newspapers -- reacting to the ruling.

20th Century Developments

A Miner's Life
Many of the links on this page, unfortunately, seem to have died. However, the one on child labor is great and some of the ones on the top about mining still work.

Mining History

This link includes diaries and news accounts of life in the mines. Great stuff!

WEB Dubois

FOIA Government Docs
Works by Dubois

The first link here takes you to a page that has reproductions of FBI surveillance materials of WEB Dubois that were obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

Eugene Debs Foundation 

Emma Goldman

Progressive Movement

FDR's "Fireside Chats"
FDR Presidential Library

Martin Luther King Papers Project (includes audio/video files of King's speeches).

Malcolm X speeches. Site includes some audio samples. You can also get more background info, links, and audio samples from and about Malcom at this site.

Students for a Democratic Society
This site includes other writings of the anti-war movement and other 1960 student protest groups.

SDS - the later years.
Towards the end of its run, SDS was dominated by a Maoist-influenced faction. The above site takes you to a Maoist group that still exists and celebrates the SDS era. Click on the "home" button off the page I sent you to to get to their version of the world.

Feminist Theory
A pretty good bibliographical resource and some helpful links.


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