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How to Rule the World: Introduction to Political Theory Department of Political Science Boston College

*** Instructor: Professor Robert C. Bartlett Behrakis Professor in Hellenic Political Studies Boston College robert.bartlett@bc.edu

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*** Our introductory course will be devoted to exploring what may well be the highest political theme: the requirements of great political rule. What must we do in order to govern well? Even more important, what must we know? Does great political leadership in democratic times differ in any important way from that seen in the great nations of the past? With these and related questions in mind, you will be asked to read, reflect on, and write carefully about a handful of foundational texts that all deal, in very different ways, with the question of the requirements of great political leadership. After a brief look at Abraham Lincolns reflections on grand ambition in the context of modern American democracy, we will turn to the most famous, or infamous, book about politics ever written, Machiavellis The Prince. We will follow as carefully as possible its indications of what a great leader must know and do. In particular, we will pay close attention to the books that Machiavelli himself indicates are essential: the Bible (not least its account of King David, in 1 and 2 Samuel) and Xenophons The Education of Cyrus, his marvelous account of the founder of the Persian Empire. But before we turn to those books, we will read Shakespeares critique of someone who explicitly attempts to follow Machiavellis precepts, Englands King Richard III. In the final part of the course, we will depart from Machiavelli entirely and hear from the political philosopher Socrates, as he cross-examines one of the most famous teachers of politics in antiquity, a sophist named Protagoras, who claimed to offer the very knowledge of political rule that we are seeking. Over the course of the semester, we will thus read a political treatise, a philosophical dialogue, a play, an historical novel, a political speech, and portions of the Hebrew Bible. In addition to introducing students to the discipline of political theory, then, this course also seeks to demonstrate that the lasting questions of concern to us as students of the social sciences can be approached through a diverse set of texts that are often treated in other disciplinesphilosophy, history, theologybut that rightly belong to the unity that is a liberal education.

I. REQUIRED TEXTS Please purchase only the editions indicated; this is particularly important in the case of translated works. Please bring the relevant text to the discussion sections.

1. Robert Alter, ed. The David Story: A Translation with Commentary of 1 and 2 Samuel. W. W. Norton, 2000. ISBN 0393320774. 2. Abraham Lincoln. The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois. In Great Speeches. Ed. Roy Basler. Dover. ISBN 978-0486268729. This speech is widely available online; just be certain to obtain a complete version 3. Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince. Ed. and Trans. Harvey C. Mansfield, Jr. 2nd Edition. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226500447. 4. Plato. Protagoras and Meno. Ed. and trans. Robert C. Bartlett. Cornell/Agora Paperbacks. ISBN 0801488656. 5. Shakespeare. Richard III. Signet. ISBN 978-0451526953. 6. Xenophon. The Education of Cyrus. Trans. Wayne H. Ambler. Cornell/Agora Paperbacks. ISBN 0801487501. . II. COURSE REQUIREMENTS 1. Attendance/Participation: 20% 2. Weekly Quiz: 10% 3. Weekly Written Response 10% 4. 1st Essay: 20% 5. 2nd Essay: 20% 6. Final Examination: 20% Your first and most important task is to do each weeks reading on time and with great care. Please come to class ready to reflect on the portion of the text assigned for that day or week. Each week you will be asked to complete a timed quiz, and you must take the quiz before you will be able to proceed with the weeks lecture. Please note well: no late papers can be accepted, and extensions of the paper deadlines may be granted only under the most extreme circumstances (e.g., serious illness, family emergency). The first essay is due [date]; the second essay is due [date]; and the third essay is due [date]. The topics for the essays are available in advance [location]. Each week, you are responsible for submitting a written response to the weekly discussion prompt question. These responses should be no more than 1 single-spaced page (or 2 doublespaced pages) and are due no later than the morning of the day of our live discussion. You may be called upon to present your response to the group. The final examination, which will cover all the course material, will be administered in the fifteenth week of our course. It will be a timed, take-home examination comprising short answer questions, identifications, and one essay. III. SCHEDULE OF REQUIRED READINGS WEEK 1: a. Introduction; Lincolns The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois and Political Ambition in America

b. Machiavelli, The Prince Dedicatory Letter and Chs. 1-3 WEEK 2: a. Machiavelli, The Prince Chs. 4-6 b. Machiavelli, The Prince Chs. 7-14 WEEK 3: a. Machiavelli, The Prince Chs. 15-18 b. Machiavelli, The Prince Chs. 19-23 WEEK 4: a. Machiavelli, The Prince Chs. 24-26 b. Richard III Act I WEEK 5: a. Richard III Act II b. Richard III Act III WEEK 6: a. Richard III Acts IV-V b. 1 Samuel Chapters 1-18 WEEK 7: a. 1 Samuel Chapters 19-31 b. 2 Samuel Chapters 1-12 WEEK 8: a. 2 Samuel Chapters 13-24 b. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book I WEEK 9: a. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book I (continued) b. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book II WEEK 10: a. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book III b. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book IV WEEK 11: a. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Books V and VI b. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book VII WEEK 12: a. Xenophon, The Education of Cyrus Book VIII b. summary/conclusion of the whole book

WEEK 13: a. Plato, Protagoras 309a-320c b. Plato, Protagoras 320c-333e WEEK 14: a. Plato, Protagoras 349a-362a b. Summary and Conclusion WEEK 15: Final examination IV. Grading Scale The following descriptions have been adopted by the Political Science Department and will be adhered to in this course. A Exceptional Performance. Consistently outstanding work on all course-related tasks at a level that distinguishes the student from other members of the class. A comprehensive and incisive command of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. A frequently demonstrated exceptional capacity for original, creative, critical and logical thinking. The ability to master and integrate large amounts of factual material and abstract theories. An outstanding ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

A-

Excellent Performance. Consistently strong work on all course-related tasks. A comprehensive command of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. A clearly demonstrated capacity for original, creative, critical and logical thinking. Understands well and can integrate the relevant factual and theoretical material central to the course. A strong ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

B+

Very Good Performance. Consistently above average work on all course-related tasks. A very good grasp of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. A generally demonstrated capacity for original, creative, critical, and logical thinking. A very good command of factual and theoretical material, and some capacity to integrate the two. A solid ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

Good Performance. Good and generally consistent work on all course-related tasks. A general understanding of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. Modest evidence of the capacity for original, creative, critical and logical thinking. A good understanding of factual and theoretical material, but limited evidence of the capacity to integrate the two. A basic ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

B-

Satisfactory Performance Satisfactory work on course-related tasks. A reasonable understanding of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. An infrequently demonstrated capacity for original, creative, critical and logical thinking. Understands at a basic level the facts and theories related to the course, but demonstrates weak integration skills. A limited or inconsistent ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

C+/C/C-

Adequate Performance Adequate performance on course-related tasks. An understanding of the basic elements of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. A rarely demonstrated capacity for original, creative, critical and logical thinking. An inability to go beyond a recitation of basic factual material related to the class. Demonstrated weaknesses in the ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

D/D+

Minimal Passing Performance. Barely acceptable work on course-related tasks. A generally superficial and often inconsistent familiarity with the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. A failure to demonstrate the capacity for original, creative, critical and logical thinking related to course content. An uneven understanding of basic factual material related to the course; no evidence of fact/theory integration. Demonstrates significant gaps in the ability to discuss effectively course subject matter using both written and oral communication skills.

Unacceptable Performance Fails to meet minimum course expectations. Unable to understand even the most basic elements of the issues, literature, and substantive information relevant to the course. Demonstrates an inability to engage in coherent written or oral discussion of course material. Does not satisfy specific course expectations with respect to attendance, deadlines, participation, etc.