In the fourth week of Political Studies, fellows will consider the liberal tradition and its expression in America.

The first section will consider the question of American national character through a close reading of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. The second section will introduce students to the thought of the two major figures in American Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Particular attention will be given to their ideas on individualism, political reform, slavery, and human greatness.

Image: Thomas Cole (1801–1848), The Oxbow, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm (1836), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ryan Hanley on liberal education


Ryan P. Hanley

Ryan Patrick Hanley is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. His research in the history of political philosophy focuses on the Enlightenment. He is the author of Our Great Purpose: Adam Smith on Living a Better Life and Love’s Enlightenment: Rethinking Charity in Modernity.

Daniel Burns

Daniel Burns is Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Dallas. His research in political philosophy focuses on the relation between religion and citizenship. He has recently served as a staffer for the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee and as a full-time contractor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Preview the Syllabus by Week/Session

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