History, Politics, Law, and Economics

What is justice? What is freedom? Are they conventional, derived from human laws? Does either have a basis in nature? What is the best form of government, and can it be implemented? Do human affairs progress, and to what end? These questions and many more are investigated discussing books such as Aristotle’s Politics, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, and Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Johnnies have the opportunity to engage in political debates on the Peloponnesian War or modern global economies in two historic capital cities: Annapolis, Maryland and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

NOTE

History, politics, law, and economics are a few of the many subjects studied in the college’s interdisciplinary great books curriculum. There are no majors at St. John’s. Instead, students explore all these subjects over the course of all four years. Learn more about St. John’s classes.

Reading List

Herodotus Histories

Homer Iliad, Odyssey

Plato Meno, Gorgias, Republic, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Timaeus, Phaedrus

Plutarch “Lycurgus,” “Solon”

Thucydides Peloponnesian War

Livy Early History of Rome

Plutarch “Caesar,” “Cato the Younger,” “Antony,” “Brutus”

Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince, Discourses

Tacitus Annals

Articles of Confederation

Constitution of the United States ofAmerica

Declaration of Independence

Richard Dedekind Essay on the Theory ofNumbers

Hamilton, Madison, Jay TheFederalist Papers

Thomas Hobbes Leviathan

David Hume Treatise on Human Nature

Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason, Foundations of the Metaphysics ofMorals

John Locke Second Treatise on Government

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Social Contract, The Origin of Inequality

Adam Swift Wealth of Nations

Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex

James Baldwin Stranger in the Village, TheFire Next Time

Frederick Douglass Speeches

W. E. B. DuBois The Souls of Black Folk

William Faulkner Go Down Moses

Hamilton, Madison, Jay The Federalist Papers

Edmund Husserl Crisis of the European Sciences

Abraham Lincoln Speeches

Karl Marx Capital, Political and Economic Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology

Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America

Booker T. Washington “Atlanta Exposition Address,” “Our New Citizen,” “Democracy and Education”

United States Supreme Court Decisions

Hannah Arendt The Human Condition, TheOrigins of Totalitarianism

Thomas Piketty Capital

Edward Gibbon History of theDecline and Fallof the Roman Empire

Oswald Spengler TheDecline of the West The Literature of War

The information presented is for illustration purposes only and may not reflect the current reading list and preceptorial and study group offerings. Works listed are studied at one or both campuses, although not always in their entirety.

The Cave

Student Group

Student-run coffee shop, run by student volunteers, is a place to get coffee and food.

Chicago History Museum and Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

The Security of Liberty: An Examination of the American Identity in the American Founding Documents

Delegate Council

Student Group

The undergraduate student government run by elected student officers.

International Student Group

Student Group

Senior Essay

Making Mythology from History: The Truths that Tacitus Can Only Convey by Lying

Senior Essay

My Way’s Cloudy: Misguided Conciliation and the Pursuit of Ideals in W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk

Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Sexual Distinctions and Their Effects in Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

Senior Essay

Looking Through the Inner Eye: An Exploration into the Mental and Moral Forces of Clausewitz on War

Senior Essay

The Necessity and Use for Rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a Means to Promote Common Goals of Freedom, Security, Prosperity, Justice and Peace

Maryland Student Legislature

Student Group

Senior Essay

Can Capitalism Survive? An Examination of Socialist and Capitalist Systems in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy

Senior Essay

How the Funeral Oration of Pericles Works in Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War

Center for Environment Education Nepal

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

The Tyranny of Private Property: An Essay on the Relationship Between the Economic Principles of Adam Smith and Karl Marx

The Moon

Student Group

The Moon is the official student-run monthly newspaper.

Project Polity

Student Group

This student-run organization arranges group volunteer opportunities.

DC Public Charter School Board

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

The General Will, the Consensus Problem, and the Legislator in Rousseau’s Du Contrat Social

Senior Essay

The Great Unfinished Symphony: Identity, Memory, and Change in Lincoln’s America

Pink Triangle Society

Student Group

Pink Triangle is an LGBTQIA alliance group.

Student Committee on Instruction

Student Group

The Student Committee on Instruction (SCI) is designed to serve as a forum for the student body concerning academic issues.

National Prison Project, ACLU

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

The Self-Focused Yet Free Citizen: A Search for Active Citizenship in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America

Student Polity Council

Student Group

Polity is the undergraduate student government that is run by elected student officers.

Senior Essay

War is Peace: or, The Death of the Republic in Machiavelli’s Discourses on Livy

Entrepreneurship Mastermind

Student Group

Senior Essay

The Nature of Ambition and the Politics of Change: An Essay on Julius Caesar and Shakespeare’s Political Narrative

Common Cause Pennsylvania

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Is Revolution Justifiable? Abraham Lincoln and the Right to Revolution

Senior Essay

Peace is a Boot, War a Flame: Hobbes’ Leviathan

Veteran’s Club

Student Group

Senior Essay

The Double-Edged Sword of Society: The Decline of the Roman Empire

Yearbook

Student Group

GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance)

Student Group

Intersectional Feminist Group

Student Group

Senior Essay

The Political Advantages of Christianity in a Commonwealth

Black Student Union

Student Group

Senior Essay

Rhetorical Strategies in The Federalist Papers

Finance and Business Club

Student Group

Maryland State Archives

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Project Politae / Voter Registration

Student Group

Mock Trial

Student Group