This course examines the history and development of Western political thought from 1600 to 1900. We will focus on the gradual separation between politics and religion, the central role of social contact theories, the justification of private property, the ascendancy of the modern state, the re-articulation of the republican project, the displacement of sovereignty from the king to the people, and the shifting meaning of political and individual freedom. Readings will include works by Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, "The Federalist Papers", Tocqueville, and John Stuart Mill. All readings will be from the original works. There are no secondary textbooks for this course. Students will be evaluated based on argumentative essays, exams, and class participation. Class time will feature a mix of lecture and written group-work assignments.