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This is a Cycles of American Political Thought (The Great Courses) Multimedia DVD Set – January 1, 2006!
America is often described as a nation of doers. Its folk heroes are men and women of action, like Daniel Boone and Annie Oakley, who subdued an untamed wilderness on the way to forging a great nation. But is that the whole story? Is American history really just a tale of dynamic movers and shakers who left
philosophizing to their European counterparts?
In Cycles of American Political Thought, you'll examine the often neglected philosophical underpinnings of this nation's history. With renowned political scientist Professor Joseph F. Kobylka as your guide, you'll explore how this nation of "doers" has, from its birth, been deeply engaged with the most fundamental questions of political philosophy.
Over the course of 36 engaging lectures, Professor Kobylka weaves a tale of nation-founding and nation-building. You'll learn how, from its earliest days, the nation has borne the imprint of influential thinkers from the European continent, from the Reformation theology of John Calvin to the Enlightenment philosophy of John Locke. You'll examine how these ideas have influenced the greatest Americans as, over the centuries, the nation has cycled between variants of a single revolutionary political theory.
But America's story is not simply one of ideas. From the Civil War to the civil rights movement, the Industrial Revolution to the Great Depression, Professor Kobylka's analysis shows how the actions and events of history have both affected and been influenced by underlying political philosophies.
The Ever-Changing Definition of "America"
Throughout this epic historical journey, you'll explore the many ways this nation has answered the question: "What is an American?" Professor Kobylka traces the many answers that have been offered over the centuries, showing how the idea of "We the People" has changed and expanded far beyond the founding fathers' original conception.
And just as the definition of what it means to be an American expands, so the ideas about governance have changed and grown. We'll navigate this ever-shifting political landscape and see how political trends in American history can be understood as variations on a single theme: the philosophy of liberalism. Derived from the writings of Enlightenment philosopher John Locke, this conception of government is the source of some of our most deeply valued political notions, such as the idea that government is designed to serve the needs of the people. Professor Kobylka shows how the many twists and turns of the nation's history can be seen as a cycling back and forth between competing interpretations of this foundational political theory.
Founding Fathers and Freedom Fighters
You'll also meet the unforgettable men and women who, over the course of American history, have molded political thought and policy. We'll see how our most beloved leaders—Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan—acted from deeply felt philosophical convictions about government, and how apolitical observers—such as philosopher Henry David Thoreau and essayist J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur—offered insights into the strengths and shortcomings of American liberalism.
Our journey through the American political landscape includes the critics and activists who demanded equal access to the nation's promise of equality and liberty. We'll meet some of the courageous figures who fought to redress deeply rooted inequities, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass and suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Understanding the Past, Understanding the Present
Through Cycles of American Political Thought, you'll gain a deep understanding both of the nation's past and how this rich political history continues to influence us today. Even if you've studied American history before, you'll encounter something new: a unique synthesis of viewpoints, ideas, and events that's enlightening and compelling.
And while the story is epic, you'll never lose your way. Professor Kobylka illuminates both the larger patterns of history and the finer details—the lives, events, and ideas that bring history to life. This course will change the way you think about American history.
36 Lectures included:
1 America—The Philosophical Experiment
2 Historical Baggage
3 Theoretical Baggage
4 A Puritan Beginning
5 Expansion and Individualism
6 The Revolutionary Context
7 The Road to the Declaration of Independence
8 A "Natural" Revolutionary—Thomas Paine
9 The Unconscious Dialectic of Crèvecoeur
10 John Adams—"Constitutionalist"
11 A Political Constitution
12 A Philosophical Constitution—Faction
13 A Philosophical Constitution—Structure
14 A Philosophical Constitution—Interpretation
15 Disorganized Losers—The Anti-Federalists
16 The "Genius" of Thomas Jefferson
17 Jacksonian Democracy—The "People" Extended
18 Iconoclastic Individualism—Thoreau
19 Inclusionist Stirrings—Douglass and Stanton
20 The Organic Socialism of Brownson
21 American Feudalism—The Vision of Fitzhugh
22 Constitutionalizing the Slave Class
23 Lincoln's Reconstitution of America
24 Equality in the Law and in Practice
25 Social Darwinism and Economic Laissez-Faire
26 Looking Backward, Looking Forward
27 Teddy Roosevelt and Progressivism
28 Supreme Court and Laissez-Faire
29 The Women's Movement and the 19th Amendment
30 Eugene V. Debs and Working-Class Socialism
31 Hamiltonian Means for Jeffersonian Ends
32 FDR, the New Deal, and the Supreme Court
33 The Racial Revolution
34 The New Egalitarianism and Freedom
35 The Reagan Revolution
36 Cycles of American Political Conversations