21H.181 | Spring 2014 | Undergraduate

Libertarianism in History


1 Nuts and Bolts (What this Course is about)  
2 Some Contemporary Libertarian Controversies  
Part One: Ideals of Freedom, Autonomy, and Civil Society
3 Roots of Modern Freedom (I): The Ancient and Medieval Periods  
4 Roots of Modern Freedom (II): The Early Modern Period  
5 Revolutionary Liberty (I)  
6 Revolutionary Liberty (II)  
7 Modern Valuations of Liberty as the Ultimate Political and Economic Good (I)  
8 Modern Valuations of Liberty as the Ultimate Political and Social Good (II)  
9 Complementary or Contradictory Ideals (I): Property First Reading Response due

Complementary or Contradictory Ideals (II): Equality and Distributive Justice

Class Debate: John Rawls v. Robert Nozick

11 Complementary or Contradictory Ideals (III): Communitarianism and Civic Republicanism  
Part Two: Case Studies in the Rise of Modern Liberty / Libertarianism
Slavery and Abolition (Paradoxes of Property and Personal Freedom)
12 Chattel Slavery and the “Freedom Principle” Paper 1 due
13 Antislavery and Liberty (I)  
14 Antislavery and Liberty (II) Second Reading Response due
Freedom of the Spirit: Belief, Conduct, and the First Amendment

The First Amendment Religion Clauses and “Freedom of Conscience”

Guest Discussant: Jack N. Rakove, Stanford University

16 The Rise of Free Exercise in Modern America  
17 Religious Accommodation and Civil Rights Today  
From Civil Liberties to Civil Libertarianism
18 The Creation of the Modern American Civil Liberties Movement  

The First Amendment and Free Speech

Guest Discussant: Harvey A. Silverglate

Part Three: Liberty and the Contemporary Administrative-regulatory State
Counter-terrorism and Health Care
20 The National Security Agency’s Phone Surveillance Program Paper 2 Outline due (Optional)


Class Debate: Obamacare

The Financial Markets
22 The Origins of the 2008 Financial Crisis  
23 Efficient Markets and the Derivatives Debate  
Internet Freedom
24 The Power of Private Regulation  
25 Boundaries of the Internet Third Reading Response due
26 The Case of Aaron Swartz Paper 2 due

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2014
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Written Assignments