The readings discussed in class give a rough picture of the ways in which societies have attempted to form and organizes themselves. Precisely how do these sources explain the role and form of communities/governments across the history of western civilization? Are political matters the only way in which societies impose order? What ideas/suggestions do these authors posit for better, more just, or more efficient government? Finally, what political/social system do you believe works best? What modern issue, informed by the readings from the past, motivates you in this belief?
Each paper will focus primarily on four of the seven primary sources discussed in class (Exodus, Thucydides, Plato’s Apology, Boethius, Anna Komnene, Thomas Aquinas and Machiavelli). These texts will form the core of the analysis, to be supplemented by no less than four scholarly secondary sources. No blog, encyclopedia entries, or class references will be accepted. At least three sources will come from research done outside of assigned class reading. In addition, each paper will include the perspective of a modern issue/problem relating to political/social order, as understood through a legitimate, modern journalistic source (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Democrat and Chronicle, etc), and related to the historical example(s). No opinion or editorial selection will be acceptable. This brings the total number of required sources to nine. Paper length will be between 6-9 pages.