PSCI 206
Dangerous Leadership in American Politics Fall 2018 Division II; Writing-Intensive; Cross-listed as PSCI206 / LEAD206

Catalog Search

Class Details

“Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders. What do Americans want from their political leaders?”. A common assumption is that those who do it well–whether in the presidency, the parties, social movements, organizations, or local communities–are just and legitimate agents of democratic change, and those most celebrated are those who have helped the country make progress toward its ideals. Yet to rest on this is too simple as it is, in part, an artifact of historical construction. Assessing leadership in the moment is complicated because leaders press against the bounds of political convention–as do ideologues, malcontents, and lunatics. Indeed, a central concern of the founders was that democracy would invite demagogues who would bring the nation to ruin. Complicating things further, the nature of democratic competition is such that those vying for power have incentive to portray the opposition’s leadership as dangerous. How do we distinguish desirable leadership from dangerous leadership? Can they be the same thing? Many who today are recognized as great leaders were, in their historical moment, branded dangerous. Others, whose ambitions and initiatives arguably undermined progress toward American ideals, were not recognized as dangerous at the time. In this tutorial, we will explore the concept of dangerous leadership in American history, from inside as well as outside of government. What constitutes dangerous leadership, and what makes a leader dangerous? Is it the person or the context? Who decides? How do we distinguish truly dangerous leadership from the perception of dangerous leadership? Does dangerous describe the means or the ends of leadership? Does it matter? Is leadership that privileges desirable ends, such as justice or security, at the expense of democratic means acceptable? Is democratic leadership in service of “dangerous” goals acceptable, and what are these goals?
The Class: Type: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1360
Requirements/Evaluation: six 5-page essays; six 2-page response papers; and one final 5-page rewritten essay
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Political Science majors and Leadership Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive;
Attributes: LEAD American Domestic Leadership; LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership; PSCI American Politics Courses;

Class Grid

Course Catalog Search




Start Time
End Time