Department of History, Philosophy, Religion, and Social Sciences

Choate Rosemary Hall

Wallingford, Connecticut

History 42
Summer 2009 term

Assignment for Paper #1

1) Choose a brief news or opinion article from any reputable periodical oriented towards new or public affairs. You can select from newspapers, such as The Boston Globe, The New York Times, or The Washington Post; magazines, such as Newsweek or The Atlantic; or journals of opinion, such as Commentary, Foreign Affairs, The National Review, or The Nation. The article you choose should address some contemporary problem involving government.

2) Select any one of the following pairs of political philosophers and consider the contemporary issue from the perspectives of each of the thinkers you have chosen:

  • Thomas Hobbes and John Stuart Mill
  • Socrates and James Madison
  • Edmund Burke and Henry David Thoreau
  • John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau

3) Write an essay of between two and three pages in length, outlining the perspectives of the two philosophers relative to the contemporary issue addressed in the article. Refer directly to the original texts--in the Cohen book--when appropriate. No outside research is necessary or expected, though you are welcome to put the resources of the Andrew Mellon Library to good use if you so choose.

If you handwrite the paper, use both sides of the sheet; if you word process or type--which is preferred, though not required--use only one side of the sheet. Be sure to proofread your final draft before submitting it; careless errors in spelling, mechanics, and style will be penalized heavily. Attach a copy of the article to your paper before submitting it.

Last revised: July 7, 2009
Copyright 1999-2009 Ned Gallagher. All rights reserved.