I’m unable to defend Conservatism in the manner that I’d like to. I can’t debate it, I don’t know how I would go about debating it. I feel like having more education in this area would help, so I’m gathering some resources, and this page is that resource depot.
Hillsdale College seems like the quintessential place to learn about conservatism, so I took information from their Graduate School Curriculum.
There’s nothing really to read below, just a checklist for me of texts I’m supposed to read
Here’s their list of texts for Masters
- Plato, Republic – Currently Reading
- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics; Politics
- Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Treatise on Law
- Machiavelli, The Prince
- Hobbes, Leviathan
- Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Letter Concerning Toleration
- Rousseau, Second Discourse, Social Contract
- Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals
- Hegel, Philosophy of History; Philosophy of Right
- Marx, Communist Manifesto; Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
- Nietzsche, Use & Disadvantage of History; Beyond Good and Evil
- U.S. Declaration of Independence
- U.S. Constitution
- The Federalist
- Essential writings of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington
- Tocqueville, Democracy in America
- Lincoln-Douglas Debates
- Lincoln, Lyceum Speech; Temperance Address; Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act; Speech on the Dred Scott Decision; Cooper Institute Speech; House Divided Speech; First and Second Inaugural Addresses; Message to Congress of July 4, 1861; “Gettysburg Address”
- Progressive commentaries on American constitutionalism by Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Croly
- Franklin Roosevelt, Commonwealth Club Address; 1944 Annual Message
- Other writings on 20th and 21st century thought and politics in America, including institutions and policies, used in doctoral coursework during the student’s time in the program
Here’s more info for a Doctorate
I. Political Philosophy
- 601. Plato. Republic, Apology, and additional dialogue(s) selected by the instructor.
- 602. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics, Politics.
- 603. Medieval Political Philosophy. Augustine, Aquinas, Alfarabi, Maimonides, and Dante.
- 604. Early Modern Political Philosophy. Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, in addition to other thinkers at the discretion of the instructor, such as Montesquieu, Grotius, and Pufendorf.
- 605. Late Modern Political Philosophy. Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, in addition to other thinkers at the discretion of the instructor, such as Weber or Heidegger.
- 701. The Natural Law. Cicero, Aquinas, Grotius, Pufendorf, and Hooker.
- 702. Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Political Thought. This course will feature the postmodern political philosophies that emerge in the twentieth century and retain their influence: existentialism, Marxist humanism,
Neo-liberalism, and the return to natural rights philosophy. Readings may include Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Herbert Marcuse, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, Friedrich Hayek, John Rawls, Michel Foucault, Richard Rorty, and Daniel Dennett.
- 703. Politics and Religion. Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Luther, Spinoza, Hobbes, Rousseau, Nietzsche, and Leo Strauss.
- 720. Machiavelli. Works such as The Prince, the Discourses on Livy, and others selected by the instructor.
- 722. Xenophon. This course explores the place of Xenophon in the history of political philosophy. Through a careful reading of Xenophon’s major works, students will examine Xenophon’s presentation of the way of life of Socrates as the best way of life. They will also examine Xenophon’s presentation of the way of life of the political man as a serious alternative to the life of Socrates. Memorabilia, Apology of Socrates to the Jury, Hiero or On Tyranny, and excerpts from other works.
- 723. Thucydides. A study of Thucydides’ history of the Peloponnesian War, focusing on the themes of necessity, justice, and the connections between foreign and domestic politics. Additional historical sources may include Diodorus Siculus, Xenophon, and Plutarch.
- 724. Tocqueville. Texts may include Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution, focusing on the question of whether or not modern states can sustain social equality without succumbing to bureaucratic despotism.
- 725. Nietzsche. This course will focus on the emergence of late-modern political philosophy in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche. Readings may include Ecce Homo, Beyond Good and Evil, and Genealogy of Morals.
- 726. Hobbes. A study of selected writings of one of the founders of modern political philosophy.
- 727. Locke. Readings may include the Second Treatise, Reasonableness of Christianity, Letter on Toleration, as well as other selections chosen by the instructor.
- 728. Plato’s Laws.
- 729. Rousseau.
- 730-739. Specialized courses depending upon the interest of instructors and students.
- 740. Independent Study in Political Philosophy. 1-3 credit hours.
II. American Politics and Political
- 621. The American Founding. Selected essays, speeches, and letters of leading founders, including (but not limited to) James Otis, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington. Public documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, and the Northwest Ordinance. Sermons from the founding era.
- 622. The Federalist. An in-depth study of The Federalist, focusing on its understanding of republicanism.
- 623. Nationalism and Sectionalism. A study of American political thought from the end of the Era of Good Feelings through the Civil War. Topics include Whig and Jacksonian political thought, the nature of the Union, proslavery and abolitionist thought, popular sovereignty, and Abraham Lincoln. The course explores the divisions in American political thought from disputes over the Constitution and the Union to the more fundamental problems of the nature of liberty and of equality.
- 624. American Progressivism. The Progressive critique of American constitutionalism and its influence on politics in the twentieth century. Begins with the debates over Reconstruction, industrialization, and imperialism, then focuses on the works of Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey, Herbert Croly, Theodore Roosevelt, Frank Goodnow, Franklin Roosevelt, and James Landis.
- 625. The Modern American Regime. This course examines the development of American political institutions and policymaking from 1932 to the present. Emphasis is placed upon the relationship between American political thought and changes in the arrangements of institutions and offices. The course employs case studies to illustrate the impact of these forces on policymaking and policy outcomes. The ability of the modern American regime to serve the general interest of the nation is evaluated.
- 741. The American Congress. A study of the legislative power in the American regime. It focuses on the nature of the legislative power, and how that power was institutionalized in the Constitution. Emphasis is also placed upon the way the theory of the modern progressive administrative state has altered our conceptions of Congress and the legislative power, the implications of that change for Congress, and how that change is manifested in the delegation of legislative power to administrative agencies. The course also introduces the student to contemporary functions and procedures of Congress.
- 742. The American Presidency. An intensive study of the American presidency. It seeks to understand the structure and function of executive power in the American constitutional order. It will begin with the place of the President in the constitutionalism of the Founding Fathers, and then examine how that role has been altered by the modern progressive administrative state, along with the implications of that alteration for constitutional government. Consideration will also be given to the President’s role in war and foreign affairs.
- 743. Constitutional Law I. Significant court cases and other writings from the founding to the present day regarding federalism, separation of powers, delegation of power, judicial review and the scope of judicial power. Course may be taught topically or historically.
- 744. Constitutional Law II. Significant court cases and other writings from the founding to the present on civil rights and liberties, especially religious liberty and freedom of speech. Course may be taught topically or historically.
- 745. Administrative Law. A study of the way in which regulatory agencies make national policy and the legal structure of agency policymaking. Readings will include federal court cases and will examine the constitutional legitimacy of the regulatory state.
- 746. Parties and Elections. An examination of the party and electoral systems in America from both an historical and contemporary perspective. Begins with an overview of the role of elections in a constitutional republic, and then traces the development of American political parties from the founding period to the present day. Examines the role played by political parties in shaping our constitutional order, and addresses the manner in which recent elections and the contemporary operation of parties affect the character of American politics.
- 747. Special Topics in American Political Thought. Focuses on specialized themes in American Political Thought, with particular themes to be selected based upon mutual interest of faculty and graduate students. Students may take this course number more than once in cases where there are distinct topics.
- 751. Statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln. This course focuses on the political thought and actions of Abraham Lincoln and his contemporaries, including Stephen Douglas, John C. Calhoun and Roger Taney, and the political controversies of the antebellum and Civil War periods.
- 752. Liberalism and the New Progressivism: American Politics after the Progressive Era. This course will focus on the rise of liberalism after 1920, and the self-styled radicals’ philosophic and political break with liberalism in the 1960s. Readings will connect philosophic ideas to changes in American institutions and culture; they may include: John Dewey, Sigmund Freud, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Erich Fromm, Herbert Marcuse, C. Wright Mills, Paul Goodman, Norman O. Brown, Betty Friedan, Tom Hayden, and John Rawls.
- 753. American Foreign Policy. Beginning with the Declaration of Independence, U.S. statesmen have publicly explained and defended the principles and practices of their foreign policies. Through the study of original-source documents, students will trace the course of these policies as America moved from relative weakness to great strength in the world.
- 754. American Geopolitics. By 1890, the United States had established itself as a major power; at the same time, technological advances enabled modern regimes to project military and political power more extensively and more rapidly than ever before. This course addresses the thought of American strategists who considered this new set of conditions: Mahan, Mackinder, and Spykman in the first half of the twentieth century; Fukuyama, Huntington and others in subsequent decades.
- 760-779. Specialized courses depending upon the interest of instructors and students.
- 780. Independent Study in American Politics. 1-3 credit hours.
- 801. Doctoral Humanities Seminar I: Antiquity. 1 credit hour, year-long. Focuses on the major works from antiquity in the formation of the West, and is taught from the perspective of a variety of liberal arts disciplines.
- 802. Doctoral Humanities Seminar II: Middle Ages. 1 credit hour, year-long. Focuses on the major works from the Middle Ages in the formation of the West, and is taught from the perspective of a variety of liberal arts disciplines.
- 803. Doctoral Humanities Seminar III: Modernity. 1 credit hour, year-long. Focuses on the major works from modernity in the formation of the West, and is taught from the perspective of a variety of liberal arts disciplines.
- 804. Independent Study. 1-3 credit hours.
- 805. Intensive Greek for Graduate Students. 3-12 credit hours (hours do not count toward the credit requirements for graduate degrees). Offered during occasional summers to qualify graduate students for reading competence in Greek. See Appendix I for additional information.
- 806. Intensive Latin for Graduate Students. 3-12 credit hours (hours do not count toward the credit requirements for graduate degrees). Offered during occasional summers to qualify graduate students for reading competence in Latin. See Appendix I for additional information.
- 807. Modern Language for Graduate Reading Knowledge. 3-6 credit hours (hours do not count toward the credit requirements for graduate degrees). Offered during occasional summers to qualify graduate students for reading competence in an approved modern language. See Appendix I for additional information.
- 810. Studies in Statesmanship. This course takes as its subject the work of a particular statesman or of a group of statesmen in a particular period. Topics will vary considerably, and the reading will vary accordingly. Subjects that might be addressed include but are not in principle limited to the following: the Persian Wars; the Peloponnesian War; Cicero’s struggle to save the Roman Republic; Augustus’ establishment of the Roman Principate; the Glorious Revolution, its defense during the War of the League of Augsburg and the War of the Spanish Succession, and the Hanoverian Succession; the American Constitutional Convention; the career of George Washington; Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson as rival statesmen; the statesmanship of James Madison; Napoleon as statesman and tyrant; Metternich and the Congress of Vienna; the statesmanship of Otto von Bismarck; the origins of the First World War; World War I, the Congress of Versailles, and the Aftermath; Adolf Hitler as statesman and tyrant; Josef Stalin as statesman and tyrant; the origins of World War II; World War II and the postwar settlement; the statesmanship of Charles de Gaulle; the statesmanship of Winston Churchill; and the Cold War.
- 821. Churchill. An examination of the principles and practice of statesmanship, focused on the writings and actions of Sir Winston Churchill. The course aims to discover what a statesman is, what sort of statesman Churchill was, and what is the place of and need for a statesman in a popularly governed nation.
- 831. Teacher-Scholar Apprenticeship I. 1 credit hour. For doctoral students with interest in teaching at the college level, this course may be taken instead of the third year of the Doctoral Humanities Seminar. Enrolled students will work individually with a member of the Graduate Faculty on developing some of the essential skills for a career in college-level teaching and scholarship. Like an Independent Study, the particular requirements and contact hours of each apprenticeship will be agreed upon by the individual student and faculty member, put in writing, and approved by the Graduate Dean prior to the beginning of the semester in which the apprenticeship is to take place. Requirements may include, but are not limited to: observing the professor as he/she teaches class, drafting sample syllabi and other course material, preparing and delivering mock classes, research (not to exceed 5 hours per week), and co-authorship for scholarly work.
- 832. Teacher-Scholar Apprenticeship II. 1 credit hour. As with POL 831, above, though normally taken with a different member of the Graduate Faculty. This course may not be substituted for any other requirement in the Ph.D. program and the hours do not count toward the minimum hours required.
- 833. Classical School Administrator Apprenticeship. 1 credit hour. This apprenticeship aims to introduce and familiarize students with many of the practical aspects of classical-school administration. Enrolled students will apprentice at the Hillsdale Academy. Under the direction of the Headmaster of Hillsdale Academy, enrolled students will spend one hour per week at the Academy, interacting with Academy staff and administration as they are exposed to various elements of classical secondary education/administration. This apprenticeship is open to both M.A. and Ph.D. students, and may not be substituted for any other requirement in either degree program. See Appendix II for additional information.
- 850. Master’s Thesis. 6 credit hours.
- 860. Doctoral Readings. 0 credit hours. For the doctoral student needing additional time to prepare for language-competence examinations or comprehensive examinations, or to complete the dissertation. Registration for this course indicates that the student is involved in full-time studies and is working toward the satisfaction of one of the non-coursework requirements. Registration for this course requires the approval of the Graduate Dean. Upon completion, the student must give evidence that progress has been made toward the satisfaction of a program requirement. Students may register for this course a maximum of six times.
- 865. Doctoral Workshop. 3 credit hours, year-long, normally taken in the fourth year. This course is designed to guide the fourth-year student in preparation for comprehensive exams and in crafting and securing approval for a dissertation proposal. It involves regular meetings with the Graduate Dean and, when appropriate, the prospective dissertation Chair. Meetings will normally be bi-weekly, and students must be in residence in the vicinity of the College while taking this course.
- 870. Dissertation Research I. 3 credit hours. For the doctoral student who has completed an approved dissertation proposal and has started work on the dissertation.
- 880. Dissertation Research II. 3 credit hours. For the doctoral student who is in the final semester of writing the dissertation. In those cases where the Graduate Dean authorizes an advanced undergraduate course to be cross-listed for graduate credit, it shall be listed at the 500 level. In such courses, the professor is to require additional work from the graduate students, and is to expect a higher level of understanding and performance. Minimally, a major term paper is to be required of graduate students in such courses, and professors may also set additional requirements at their discretion. The Graduate Dean shall also determine whether such courses apply to the Political Philosophy track or the American Politics and Political Thought track. Courses offered at the 600-800 level are reserved exclusively for graduate students. Unless a waiver is granted by the Graduate Dean for an exceptional case, undergraduate students may not be invited to sit in on these courses, even if they are registered for an undergraduate independent study on the course topic. Any course which is offered for both undergraduate and graduate students must be offered at the 500 level.