Skip Navigation

POLS213 - Political Theory

Course Details

Course Code: POLS213 Course ID: 3749 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course offers an overview of Western political thought from the Ancient Greeks to contemporary political theorists. It follows the rise of secularism and modernity through an Enlightenment tradition of social contract theory, shaping debates on human nature, equality, liberty, rights, and justice as the basis for civil society and democratic governance. This course is an essential foundation for the political science major.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
04/27/20 - 10/02/20 10/05/20 - 11/29/20 Fall 2020 Session B 8 Week session
05/25/20 - 10/30/20 11/02/20 - 12/27/20 Fall 2020 Session I 8 Week session
06/29/20 - 12/04/20 12/07/20 - 01/31/21 Fall 2020 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/20 - 01/01/21 01/04/21 - 02/28/21 Winter 2021 Session B 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

CO-1. Explain the intellectual origins of Western political tradition, beginning with Plato and Aristotle’s understanding of human nature, reason, virtue, politics and the good and just society.

CO-2. Explain the origins of Western political thought according to early-to-medieval Christian thinkers, Augustine and Aquinas, on human nature, reason, natural law, virtue and political rule.

CO-3: Explain the dawn of the political liberal tradition according to Machiavelli and Hobbes on human nature (state of nature), reason, equal freedom, natural right, and emerging ideas of sovereignty and consensual political rule.

CO-4: Explain classical liberal political thought according to John Locke’s social contract theory on developing ideas about the state of nature, reason, natural law and rights, equality and freedom and popular sovereignty and consent.

CO-5: Explain the differences from classical liberal thought according to the critiques of liberal thinkers Rousseau and Kant on human nature (state of nature), modern reason, equality and freedom and the social contract.

CO-6: Explain the continued differences on ideas about equality, freedom and rights in the modern liberal state and institutions according to critical historical theorists Hegel and Marx.

CO-7: Explain the debates in modern liberal thought and politics according to J.S. Mill’s discourse on liberty, equality, individuality, consent and coercion, and best forms of government.

CO-8: Explain the ideas and debates among contemporary political theorists on key concepts of liberty, equality, rights and justice in pluralistic liberal democratic societies.

NameGrade %
Forum Questions 50.00 %
Forum 1 6.25 %
Forum 2 6.25 %
Forum 3 6.25 %
Forum 4 6.25 %
Forum 5 6.25 %
Forum 6 6.25 %
Forum 7 6.25 %
Forum 8 6.25 %
Essays 30.00 %
Applying Philosophy Essay 15.00 %
Kant vs. Marx Essay 15.00 %
Final Project 20.00 %
Ideal Society Infomercial 20.00 %
  1. Web Readings, all listed in this syllabus.
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.