History 867

European Social and Intellectual History:
Political and Social Ideas in Early Modern Europe


Fall 2017


Class meets in 5257 Mosse Humanities, Thursdays at 11-12:55.

Office Hours: 4127 Mosse Humanities, Thursdays at 2-3:45, and by appointment  


Course requirements

This course aims principally

bullet to introduce students to the most important and influential theories about the nature, purposes, and objectives of the state and society which circulated in early modern Europe, and which have shaped how the Western World has thought about these questions ever since;
bullet to improve students' skills in analyzing and criticizing political arguments and theories, both in discussion and on paper.

Students will

  1. attend classes and contribute to discussion (this will count for 30% of the grade);
  2. write two papers of 10-15 pages (inclusive of bibliography and notes; due 26 October and 7 December; each will count for 25% of the grade);
  3. give a classroom presentation (lasting for 30 minutes at the very most) to introduce the week's discussion (this will count for 20% of the grade). N.B. the presentation must be not be on the same topic as the papers.

Texts and topics

bullet Christian humanism, the Renaissance, and utopianism
bullet Machiavelli, Machiavellism, and reason of state
bullet Natural Law, scholasticism, and church-state relations
bullet Absolutism, royalism, and sovereignty
bullet The "monarchomachs": resistance theory, tyrannicide, and contract
bullet Gender, the family, and political authority: patriarchalism: Sir Robert Filmer

Henry Parker, Philip Hunton and Parliamentary power

bullet Hobbes on the state of nature and the nature of the state
bullet Hobbes on the church, state and religion
bullet Democracy: the Levellers
bulletGrotius, Pufendorf and the Modern Theory of Natural Law
bullet Republicanism: Harrington and Neville
bullet Locke on Government
bullet Toleration

General introductions and reference            

Burns, J.H., ed., The Cambridge History of Political Thought 1450-1700, Cambridge 1991.
[Up-to-date, important volume, running to over 700pp.]

Figgis, John Neville, Studies of political thought from Gerson to Grotius, 1414-1625, Cambridge 1907.
[Good, clear introduction. Available online free ]

Gierke, Otto von, Natural Law and the theory of society, 1500 to 1800, ed. and translated by Ernest Barker, 2 vols., Cambridge 1934.
[A classic, though it is difficult and Gierke had some strange ideas.]

Skinner, Quentin, The foundations of modern political thought, 2 vols, Cambridge 1978.
[The best modern account.]

Tierney, Brian, Religion, Law and the Growth of constitutional thought, 1150-1650, Cambridge 1982.
[Important, concise book; excellent on the medieval background to early modern ideas.]

Tuck, Richard, Philosophy and government 1572-1651, Cambridge 1993.
[This original and imaginative book discusses a number of thinkers  rarely considered elsewhere.]


Call numbers of some books;
many of these are on reserve in College Library

Hobbes / Richard Tuck B1247 T8 1989
Philosophy and government, 1572-1651 / Richard Tuck JA82 T83 1993
Reform and Reformation--England, 1509-1558 / G. R. Elton DA332 E497 (copy 2)
Thomas More : a biography / Richard Marius DA334 M8 M275 1984
Essential articles for the study of Thomas More / edited with an introduction and bibliography by R. S. Sylvester and G. P. Marc'hadour. DA334 M8 E85
Machiavelli and Renaissance Italy DG738.14 M2 H3
Machiavelli and Guicciardini; politics and history in sixteenth-century Florence. DG738.13 G5
The development of political theory / Otto von Gierke J AL7 YG36 Cutter
Natural law and the theory of society, 1500-1800. JA83 G5 1950
Aquinas: Selected political writings, edited with an introduction by A. P. D'Entreves JC121 T43 1959
Hamilton, Bernice. Political thought in sixteenth-century Spain JA84 S7 H32 (copy 2)
The Machiavellian moment: Florentine political thought and the Atlantic republican tradition /J. G. A. Pocock. JC143 M4 P6
Wilks, Michael, The problem of sovereignty in the later Middle Ages; the papal monarchy with Augustinus Triumphus and the publicists.  BX957 W5
The sexual contract / Carole Pateman  HQ1206 P35 1988
Zagorin, Perez, A history of political thought in the English Revolution. JA84 G7 Z3 1966
Sanderson, John, "But the people's creatures" : the philosophical basis of the English Civil War DA415 S26 1989
Hobbes; studies, by Leo Strauss [and others]  B1247 B7 1965
Hobbes's system of ideas; a study in the political significance of   philosophical theories / J. W. N. Watkins.  B1247 W3
Gender and history : the limits of social theory in the age of the family / Linda J. Nicholson. HQ1206 N7 1986
Figgis, John Neville, Political thought from Gerson to Grotius, 1414-1625; seven studies. introduced by Garrett Mattingly.  JA82 F5 1960
Figgis, John Neville, The divine right of kings. JC389 F5
Lewy, Guenter, Constitutionalism and statecraft during the Golden Age of Spain; a  study of the political philosophy of Juan de Mariana, S. J. JC145 M3 L4
Dunn, John, Locke / John Dunn. College Library
B1297 D86 1984
(copy 2)
On the duty of man and citizen according to natural law / Pufendorf ; edited by James Tully ; translated by Michael Silverthorne.  K457 P8 D4313 1991
An approach to political philosophy, Locke in contexts / James Tully. JC153 L87 T837 1993
A discourse on property: John Locke and his adversaries / James Tully. JC153 L87 T84
Warrender, Howard. The political philosophy of Hobbes, his theory of obligation. JC153 H66 W3
Burns, J. H. Absolutism : the history of an idea JC381 B9 1986
Politics drawn from the very words of Holy Scripture / Jacques-Benigne Bossuet; translated and edited by Patrick Riley. JC155 B74513 1990
The Cambridge history of political thought, 1450-1700 / edited by  J.H. Burns with the assistance of Mark Goldie. JA81 C283 1991 (copy 201)

Sir Robert Filmer and English political thought / James Daly.

JC153 F5 D34
The politics of the ancient constitution : an introduction to English political thought, 1603-1642 /Glenn Burgess. JA84 G7 B85 1993.
Religion, law, and the growth of constitutional thought, 1150-1650 / Brian Tierney. Law Library
 K3161 T53 1982
Natural law; an introduction to legal philosophy / A. P. D'Entreves. -- [2nd revised edition] Law Library
K474 P37 N37 1970