American Values, Duke
Professor John H. Aldrich
Professor Michael C. Munger
American Values and Institutions
Spring 2008—Political Science 112A
Location: Soc Sci 113 (West Campus)
Offices: 404B Old Chem (JHA) – 408 Perkins (MCM)
Meeting Time: M & W 10:05 – 11:20 a.m. phone: 660-4346 660-4300
Douglass North, the Nobel prize-winning economic historian, defined “institutions” as the humanly devised rules of the game that shape and direct human interactions. The institutions of a nation and its people are the set of norms, values, rules, and laws that guide their choices and govern their disagreements.
This class is an introduction to the values and institutions of American politics. In a way, it is an overview of a period of American political history, from 1770 through 1840. But it is also an introduction to the political thought that animated larger events, including the two great revolutions of the 18th century, in America and France. And it examines the creation of institutions that celebrated human freedom, while guaranteeing the “freedom” of some to keep others in human bondage.
The evaluation in the course will consist of attendance, two midterms, and a final, as well as a 1,200 word argumentative essay.
There are two main themes that organize the class. We will return to the interplay between these themes over and over during the semester.
Theme 1: Institutions Preferences = Outcomes
This means, for one thing, that outcomes can change if preferences change. That’s not too surprising, of course, and actually makes a lot of sense. But the other alternative is really quite disturbing: outcomes can change if preferences are held constant, but the decision rules change.
Theme 2: Yours, Mine, and Ours
“Property” is in many ways a distinction between what is mine and what is yours. But political rights often come down to complex domain restrictions: what is mine to decide, and what is properly decided collectively by the state, or agents appointed by the state?
The texts for the course are available in the bookstore:
Aldrich, John, Why Parties? University of Chicago Press, 1995.
Frohnen, Bruce. American Republic: Primary Sources, LF Press, 2002.
Hinich, Melvin, and Michael Munger, Analytical Politics. Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Walker, David. Appeal to the Coloured Peoples of the World, PSU Press, 2000 / 1825.
Attendance in class is expected. Pop quizzes will routinely be given. The subject of the quizzes will be drawn equally from the readings and lectures.
Grades for this class will be derived from the students’ performance on two midterm exams, a final exam, attendance, and a 1,200 word argumentative essay. These will have the following weights:
1. Midterm Exams I and II: 25% (Total 50%)
In class, 50 minutes, combination multiple choice & short answer.
2. Final Exam: 25%
In class, in scheduled exam period: TUESDAY 4-29, 2-5 pm.
3. Argumentative Essay: 20%
These papers will be graded on both content and style, and will be discussed further in class at the beginning of the semester. Must be typed. 1,200 word maximum.
4. Class attendance / participation: 5%
The nature of the participation grades will be discussed more in class. You are expected to attend class, and to participate by asking and answering questions. And your performance on “pop” quizzes will form an important part of your participation grade.
Schedule of Classes and Readings
The Rule of Law
|From Plutarch’s “Lives” Caesar
Plato’s Apology, Apology
Plato’s Crito, Crito
Montesquieu, Spirit of the Laws, Book I
Munger, “The Thing Itself”, EconLib
|1/14||Origins||Alexis de Tocqueville, “Origins of the Anglo-Americans”, from
McPherson, Battlecry of Freedom, Chapters 1 (Reserve)
Legacy and Meaning
|Text of the Iriquois Constitution
Text of the Magna Carta (also in Frohnen, p. 92)
|1/21||No Class: MLK Day!
(But you MUST read!)
|Letter from a Birmingham Jail
|1/23||1. Quiz on MLK readings
2. Political Thought of the Founders: More Plutarch
|Kimball, Roger. “Plutarch and the Issue of Character,” New Criterion, December 2000. V. 19, no. 4.
|1/28||Political Thought of the Founders: Montesquieu’sSpirit of the Laws||Book II, entire
|1/30||Rousseau and the
|Book I, entire Book II, Chapters 1-6
|2/4||Liberty in the Colonies||Winthrop, “Little Speech on Liberty,” in Frohnen, p. 34
Williams, “The Bloody Tenent…”, in Frohnen, p. 42
The Stamp Act, 1765: In Frohnen, p. 110
The Rights of the British Colonies….”, in Frohnen, p. 119
Repealing the Stamp Act, The Declaratory Act, 1766: In Frohnen, p. 135
Letter(s) from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, in Frohnen, p. 146
|2/6||Declarations of Revolution: America||Virginia Declaration of Rights, in Frohnen, p. 157
Declaration of Independence, in Frohnen, p. 189
Common Sense, by Paine, in Frohnen, p. 179
|2/11||French Revolution||The Rights of Man (Avalon site)
Hinich and Munger, Chapter 1
Edmund Burke, Letter from the New to the Old Whigs (1791)
|2/13||Review for Midterm I|
|2/20||Institutions and Studying American Institutions||“Thoughts on Government,” Adams (Frohnen, p. 196)
Articles of Confederation (Frohnen, p. 200)
The U.S. Constitution (Frohnen, p. 234)
Chapter 2, Hinich and Munger’s Analytical Politics
|2/25||Why Rules Make the Difference||Federalist 10, 47-5, and 78 (Frohnen, p. 241)
Hinich and Munger, Chapter 3 (4 optional)
|2/27||I Want, You Want: What DoWe Want?||Chapter 3, Hinich and Munger’s Analytical Politics|
|3/3||Different Rules, Different Outcomes||Chapter 5, Hinich and Munger’s Analytical Politics|
|3/5||The Liberty to Own Slaves||Laws Regulating Servants and Slaves, in Frohnen, p. 582
“Slavery” and “Agriculture and the Militia”, in Frohnen, p. 589
David Walker, “Appeal”, Preamble and Article I
|3/10-12||NO Class: Spring Break!!|
|3/17||Is Democracy Good, and How Would We Know?||Madison, “Speech Introducing Proposed Constitutional Amendments,” in Frohnen, p. 332
Debate over First Amendment Language, Frohnen, p. 348
Bill of Rights, Frohnen, p. 349
Michael Munger, “Democracy is a Means, Not an End”
Alien and Sedition Acts, 1798, in Frohnen, p. 396
|3/19||Walker’s “Appeal”||Walker, “Appeal”, Articles II and III|
|3/24||Two Racial Revolutionaries||Walker, “Appeal,” Article IV
George Fitzhugh, “Cannibals All!” Chapters 8, 9, 12, 19-22, 28, 30, 32
|3/26||Review for Midterm II|
|4/2||Endogenous Institutions: Parties and American Parties||Opinions for and Against the National Bank (Jefferson and Hamilton), 1791, in Frohnen, p. 474
Aldrich, Why Parties? Chapter 1
|4/7||Why Parties?||Aldrich, Why Parties? Chapter 2|
|4/9||Founding the First Parties||Aldrich, Why Parties? Chapter 3|
|4/14||Jacksonian Democracy||Aldrich, Why Parties? Chapter 4
Andrew Jackson, “Veto Message,” 1832, in Frohnen, p. 491
|4/16||The Courts and Public Policy: Aid to Democracy, or Barrier?||Dahl, Robert A. 1963. Decision-Making in a Democracy: The Role of the Supreme Court as a National Policy-Maker. Journal of Public Law. 6: 279-95.
Marbury v. Madison, John Marshall, 1803, in Frohnen, p. 366
Barron v. Baltimore, John Marshall, 1833, in Frohnen, p. 375
|4/21||American Values||Abraham Lincoln, “Address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, 1838”, in Frohnen, p. 518
Sanford Levinson, “The Embarrassing Second Amendment”
James Madison, “On Property”
Michael Munger, “Everybody Loves Mikey”
|4/23||Review for Final||Last day of class|
FINAL EXAM: Tuesday, April 29, 2:00 – 5:00 pm
SPRING 2008 Calendar
(for details, click here!)
|January 9||Wednesday. 8:30 a.m. Spring Semester begins: ALL Monday classes meet on this day regardless of meeting pattern; Classes meeting on Wednesdays ONLY begin on Wednesday, January 16; Regular class meeting patterns begin on Thursday, January 10; Drop/Add continues|
|January 21||Monday. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday: classes are rescheduled on Wednesday, January 9|
|January 23||Wednesday. 5:00 p.m. Drop/Add ends|
|February 22||Friday. Last day for reporting midsemester grades|
|February 25||Monday. Registration begins for Summer 2008|
|March 7||Friday. 7:00 p.m. Spring recess begins|
|March 17||Monday. 8:30 a.m. Classes resume|
|April 2||Wednesday. Registration begins for Fall Semester 2008; Summer 2008 registration continues|
|April 11||Friday. Registration ends for Fall Semester 2008; Summer 2008 registration continues|
|April 12||Saturday. Drop/Add begins|
|April 23||Wednesday. Undergraduate classes end|
|April 24 – 27||Thursday-Sunday. Undergraduate reading period|
|April 28||Monday. Final examinations begin|
|April 30||Wednesday. Undergraduate reading period (9:00 AM – 2:00 PM)|
|May 3||Saturday. 10:00 p.m. Final examinations end|
|May 9||Friday. Commencement begins|
|May 11||Sunday. Graduation exercises; conferring of degrees|