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The History of Western Political Thought

DISCOVER THE ROOTS OF WESTERN POLITICAL THEORY—FROM ANCIENT GREECE TO MACHIAVELLI!

Discover the history of western political thought through a survey of some of the most important figures in the tradition. Examine the origins of political philosophy in ancient Greece through Aristotle’s most important works—Nicomachean Ethics and Politics. Explore the ways in which Aristotle’s thought was taken up by Christianity through a brief examination of central articles in St. Thomas Aquinas’s “Treatise on Law”. Witness the breakdown of Aristotelian and Thomistic political philosophy in modernity through the Italian political philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli. Then uncover the development of classical liberalism and social contract theory in the writings of the 17th century English philosopher John Locke. Finally study the birth of American political thought from the perspective of one of the most perceptive observers of American political life—Alexis de Tocqueville.

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Principles classes from Christendom College help you uphold your Catholic beliefs and see the world through the light of Truth.

CLASS CONTENT:
5 Lectures  |  2.4 Hours

  1. Teleology and the Common Good in the Writings of Aristotle
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas on Virtue, Law, and the Common Good
  3. The Origins of Modern Political Thought: Niccolò Machiavelli and “The Prince”
  4. John Locke, Classical Liberalism, and the Origins of Social Contract Theory
  5. American Political Thought: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • Discover the impact of the political philosophy of ancient Greece.
  • Learn the origins of social contract theory and its influence on America.
  • Witness the radical break from traditional political philosophy in Niccolò Machiavelli.
  • Explore the insights of one of the most perceptive observers of American political life—Alexis de Tocqueville.

MEET YOUR NEW PROFESSOR

DR. JOSEPH BRUTTO

Joseph Brutto holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame. He teaches courses in political theory and Catholic social doctrine. His research focuses on contemporary applications of Aristotle’s philosophy like that found in the work of Alasdair MacIntyre.

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