From Tocqueville to Trump: Leadership and the Making of American Democracy
Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Cross-listed as PSCI212 / LEAD205
America’s founders didn’t mean to create a democracy. But since the Revolution, leaders have been fighting to make real for all Americans the promise of government of, by, and for the people. In this course, we will look at how leaders have marshaled ideas, social movements, and technological changes to expand the scope of American democracy–and the reasons they have sometimes failed. We will examine how founders such as Benjamin Franklin and James Madison envisioned the relation between the people and the government; how workers, African Americans, and women fought to participate in American politics; and how globalization, polarization, and inequality are straining American democracy and political leadership in the 21st century. We will examine leadership to better understand American democracy–and vice versa. We will ask: What explains why some leaders have succeeded where others have failed? Have some periods of American democratic politics been more amenable to particular kinds of leadership than others? What makes American political leadership distinctive in international comparison? Who, exactly, has been permitted to participate in American politics, and on what terms? How has the relation between the governors and the governed changed over time, and what factors and events have shaped those relations? How has America’s democratic experiment compared with (and interacted with) democracy elsewhere in the world? Is America really a democracy at all?
The Class: Type: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: bi-weekly short writing assignments, term paper, midterm and final in-class exams
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Enrollment Preference: Leadership Studies concentrators and Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: DPE: This course examines the role of race, gender, and class in structuring the history of American politics and citizenship; efforts by marginalized communities to gain access to full citizenship; and the role of politics in shaping regimes of social difference. Using conceptual tools drawn from political science and history, it offers students a deep understanding of the roots of contemporary issues of difference, power, and equity in American public life as well as a better sense of how and why power relations and modes of inclusion/exclusion are subject to change.
Attributes: LEAD American Domestic Leadership; LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership; PSCI American Politics Courses