America is said to be a country founded on an idea. Which idea? Or more likely, which ideas? This seminar will examine five central ideas that have given shape to American democracy, focusing on the theoretical roots of those ideas and their continued influence in politics today. Meeting Wednesday evenings for five weeks, this Spring Advanced Institute will feature William Kristol exploring the central ideas that have given shape to American democracy.

In addition to completing the reading assignments, students are expected to write one 500- to 750-word essay for the course. Each session, several students will submit an essay in response to one of the discussion questions listed on the syllabus or a question raised in class. The essays will be shared and used to begin the seminar.

Image: Thomas Cole, A View of the Mountain Pass Called Notch of the White Mountains, 1839, courtesy National Gallery of Art

Bill Kristol & Harvey Mansfield on the wisdom of The Federalist


William Kristol

William Kristol is editor at large of The Weekly Standard, which, together with Fred Barnes and John Podhoretz, he founded in 1995. Mr. Kristol has served as chief of staff to the Vice President of the United States and to the Secretary of Education. Before coming to Washington in 1985, Kristol taught politics at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session

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