Dr. Robert C. Jeffrey
Associate Professor of Government

Govt. 440 - American Political Thought

Syllabus for Fall 2003

Dr. Robert Jeffrey
206 Daniel Building
Office Phone: x4581
Home Phone: 948-1297
E-mail: jeffreyrc@wofford.edu or rcjeffrey@home.com
Office Hours: MWF 2:00-3:00; TTH 10:30-1:30

Required Books

Hamilton, Madison, Jay, The Federalist Papers
The Portable Thomas Jefferson, ed. Merrill D. Peterson
Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings, ed. Roy P. Basler
Lord Charnwood, Abraham Lincoln
Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Dred Scott Case
Philip Hamburger, Seperation of Church and State
Xeroxed Documents, Articles and Speeches

Course plan:
Week of:
September 1: The Founding and Beyond

The Declaration of Independence, in The Federalist, appendix
Hamilton, "The Farmer Refuted," (xeroxed)
The Federalist 1, 6, 9, 10, 11, 14
Lord Charnwood, Abraham Lincoln, pp. 19-26

September 8
The Federalist Papers, 15, 17, 33, 39, 45-46, 48-49, 51, 55-57, 62-63, 70-72, 78
September 15
The Anti-Federalists (xeroxed selections)
Hamilton, "Report on Manufactures," "Draft of Washington's Farewell Address," (xeroxed)
Lord Charnwood, pp. 27-32
September 22
The Portable Jefferson, pp. 90-105, 177-199, 208-221, 251-258, 261-267, 281-295, 303-304, 316-321, 332-346
September 29
The Portable Jefferson, Lletters beginning on pp. 357, 366, 380, 414, 423, 428, 434, 444, 454, 470, 490, 517, 533, 564, 567, 584

EXAM 1 (in class)
October 6
American Slavery and the Statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln
Fehrenbacher, The dred Scott Case, Chs. 1-6
Lord Charnwood, pp. 32-50
October 13
Fehrenbacher, Chs. 7-13
Lord Charnwood, pp. 51-58
Lincoln: Speeches and Writings, pp. 76-85 (Lyceum Speech), 283-323 (Peoria Speech)
October 20
Fehrenbacher, Chs. 14-18
Lord Charnwood, pp. 88-125
Lincoln's Speeches, pp. 352-365 (Springfield Speech)
October 27
Fehrenbacher, Chs. 19-21
Lincoln's Speeches, pp. 278-279, 372-381 (House-Divided Speech), 400-404, 427, 428-461, 477-478, 480-481, 513, 517-536 (Cooper Institute Speech)
November 3

Lincoln's Speeches, pp. 568, 579-588 (First Inaugural), 594-609 (Special Message to Congress), 655, 689-691, 734, 761-764, 792-793
Lord Charnwood, pp. 127-156, 192-194, 227-243, 325-326


November 10
The Constitutional Place of Religion in the American Regime
Hamburger, Seperation of Church and State, pp. 1-143
Case Readings TBA
November 17
Seperation of Church and State, pp. 144-284
Case Readings TBA
November 24
Seperation of Church and State, pp. 285-359
Case Readings TBA
December 1
Seperation of Church and State, pp. 360-492
Case Readings TBA
Course Requirements:
2 Mid-Term Exams 50%
Quizzes/Attendance/Participation 25%
Final Exam 25%

Quizzes will be given on the readings at my discretion, normally on Thursday, over the assignments for the week. Exams will be mostly essay. At least one will be a take home. I may add a take home essay at some point in the course depending on how things go. I implore you to keep absences to a minimum. As indicated above, attendance will be factored into the quiz grade. Please have the texts under discussion with you in class.


The course is divided into three parts. In the first we will study the political thought of the American Founding and, in concluding with Jefferson, study the thought of the founder who had the greatest subsequent influence on the course of American political history. In the next two parts we will inquire seriously and deeply into the topics of race and religion. We will read two outstanding books that combine history, politics, and legal/political philosophy. Our study of the statesmanship of Lincoln will be framed by Don Fehrenbacher’s classic work on the Dred Scott Decision, which is really a book about the political and legal context of American slavery as a whole. We will also read a good portion of the greatest single volume biography of Lincoln by Lord Charnwood. Last, we will read a book that is currently being discussed by every serious student of the religion clauses of the First Amendment. Philip Hamburger is an historian of American constitutionalism at the University of Chicago. After reading his book you will be at the cutting edge of contemporary debate over the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the religion clauses of the Constitution.

I expect all students to follow the new Honor Code. The application of the code’s standards to assignments in the course will be explained in class.

Feel free to talk to me about any problem or question you might have.

Dr. Robert Jeffrey
Daniel 206
x4581 office
948-1297 home

"The United States of America may be said to be the only country in the world which was founded in explicit opposition to Machiavellian principles." ---Leo Strauss

Homepage for Dr. Robert C. Jeffrey

 Last Update: October 27, 2003