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Assignment Questions

Modern Political Thought

Please note that the paper topics are very vague. It is expected that the writer will develop a much narrower argument from within the broad scope of the topic.

The paper will be 12 pages long, double spaced, in Times New Roman 12 point font. In it you will be expected to advance some sort of argument or thesis (although in the context of a theory paper, a thesis frequently can take the form of a particular form of interpretation which you wish to advance). Providing a proper introduction with a thesis statement would be a good idea.

Although the primary focus of the paper will be the texts outlined below, you will be expected to use secondary literature in supporting your arguments. Please note that all information which is taken from another source even if not directly quoted must be cited. Otherwise, it is plagiarism.

The following questions are based on the four texts. The writer will have to pick at least two authors to answer the questions below. The authors and their texts are:

The Prince-Machiavelli,

Discourses on Livy-Machiavelli,

Leviathan-Thomas Hobbes,

Two Treatises of Government-John Locke,

A Theologico-Political Treatise/ A Political Treatise-Benedict De Spinoza

Please answer only one of the questions.
1) Discuss the role that gender played in relation to early modern political thought with regards to at least two of the thinkers we have studied.

2) The early modern period was a time of dramatic shifts in terms of the status of religion in political life. Compare and contrast two of the thinkers we have read on this issue of religion and politics.

3) In the early modern period that we begin to see a rise of ‘the people’ as an object of political interest (or, if we look back to the classical period, it is in the early modern period that the people return to this position as an object of political interest). Looking at two of the thinkers we have read, how do they relate to this rise of the power of the people? (Note: If you pick this topic, you cannot write on both Hobbes and Machiavelli).

4) The transition from a feudal serf economy to a capitalist market economy was one of the fundamental shifts which produced modernity as we know it. Describe how two of the thinkers we have read relate to the issue of capitalism.

Please provide a bibliography

Thank you

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