Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship

Curriculum: Core Texts

Degree programs are centered around the following core texts from the Western and American traditions of political thought. All courses are offered with these texts in mind, and doctoral students are held responsible for being familiar with and understanding them on their comprehensive exams.

  • Plato, Republic
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics; Politics
  • Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Treatise on Law
  • Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Hobbes, Leviathan
  • Locke, Second Treatise of Government, Letter Concerning Toleration
  • Rousseau, Second Discourse, Social Contract
  • Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals
  • Hegel, Philosophy of History; Philosophy of Right
  • Marx, Communist Manifesto; Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
  • Nietzsche, Use & Disadvantage of History; Beyond Good and Evil
  • U.S. Declaration of Independence
  • U.S. Constitution
  • The Federalist
  • Essential writings of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Washington
  • Tocqueville, Democracy in America
  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates
  • Lincoln, Lyceum Speech; Temperance Address; Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act; Speech on the Dred Scott Decision; Cooper Institute Speech; House Divided Speech; First and Second Inaugural Addresses; Message to Congress of July 4, 1861; “Gettysburg Address”
  • Progressive commentaries on American constitutionalism by Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Croly
  • Franklin Roosevelt, Commonwealth Club Address; 1944 Annual Message
  • Other writings on 20th and 21st century thought and politics in America, including institutions and policies, used in doctoral coursework during the student’s time in the program