This course introduces students to the major issues in the study of leadership, a central concept in the study of politics. The first part of the course will examine key theoretical problems that have occupied political thinkers from Plato and Confucius to Machiavelli and the American framers: What makes a leader successful? What kinds of regimes best serve to encourage good leaders and to constrain bad ones? What is the relationship between leadership and morality-can the ends justify the means? What functions does leadership fill, and what challenges do leaders face, in modern democratic states? The second half of the course will look at leaders in action, charting the efforts of politicians, intellectuals, and grassroots activists to shape the worlds in which they live. Case studies will include antislavery politics and the American Civil War; the global crises of the 1930s and 1940s; and the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In addition to active class participation, students will be expected to write a 5-page proposal for a research paper on a leader of their choice, a 10-page research paper, an in-class midterm exam, and a cumulative, in-class final exam.
Format: lecture; discussion
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
active class participation, 5-page research proposal, 10-page research paper, in-class midterm exam, and a cumulative in-class final exam
first-year students and sophomores
subfield open in Political Science major
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit: