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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Republicanism and the Social Contract: History of Political Thought from Milton to Locke (HIST10176)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaHistory Other subject areaPhilosophy
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis course aims to provide an understanding of the hugely influential political theories that were produced in the extraordinary political ferment of seventeenth century England. In just a few decades, the country suffered civil war, killed its king, became a republic, restored a king, only to fear his tyranny. These turbulent times developed two of the most important traditions in the history of political thought: republicanism and social contract theory. By exploring some great works of political theory, notably by Thomas Hobbes, James Harrington and John Locke, as well as lesser known works from the period, this course will equip students with the history of key ideas about liberty, human rights, equality, justice, constitutions, civic virtue and the way that governments represent and are accountable to the people. By locating the development of these concepts in their turbulent contexts, the course will show the ineluctable interdependency of ideas and actions. It will complement the new course being introduced in 2005-6 by Dr Thomas Ahnert on the Scottish Enlightenment.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.
Before enrolling students on this course, Directors are asked to contact the History Honours Admission Secretary to ensure that a place is available (Tel: 503783).
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. We will only consider University/College level courses.
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will gain an understanding of the major political theories of republicanism and the social contract that came out of the turmoil of seventeenth century England and that continue to carve the contours of our world. They will come to see how and why key concepts such as freedom, justice, accountability, natural rights and natural law were developed in this period.
This course is unusual in being taught principally through primary texts. It will therefore introduce students to the historical coalface. They will learn to read a wide range of seventeenth century authors, some famous, such as Hobbes and Locke, and some lesser known, such as Marchamont Nedham. They will learn to analyse their arguments internally, to connect these arguments to those in other texts and to their contexts. They will acquire a sensitivity to the belief that texts cannot be understood outside their contexts and, conversely, that historical events cannot be understood without grasping the ideas that informed them.
Assessment Information
One 3000 word essay worth one third of overall assessment and one two-hour examination worth two thirds of overall assessment.
Visiting Student Variant Assessment
One 3000 word essay and one 'take home' examination. The essay will make up one third of the final assessment, the exam will be worth two-thirds of the final assessment.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Not entered
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
Course organiser Course secretaryMrs Caroline Cullen
Tel: (0131 6)50 3781
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