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Essay Questions

Classical and Modern Political Theory

a) How valid is Machiavelli’s thought in today’s society?

b) Can we have peace without subjugation according to Hobbes?

c) Are there existing political systems that resemble Plato’s ideal state?

d) Is Machiavelli a reformer or a revolutionary in political philosophy?

e) Does Locke’s understanding of private property justify capitalism?

f) Which traditions of political theory do you find more convincing regarding the establishment of the state?

g) What are the political consequences of inequality according to Montesquieu?

h) Can democracy be imported to other countries and cultures according to Montesquieu?

i) Why a moderate government is the best government according to Montesquieu?

j) Which concept of liberty would you consider essential to a political community if you were to choose between Montesquieu’s understanding of liberty and that of J.S. Mill?

k) Do you agree with Montesquieu that certain societies are unsuited for democracy?

l) How would J.S. Mill argue against Hobbes’ claim that the sovereign [Leviathan] has the sole right to determine which ideas or doctrines should be circulated in the public sphere?

m) Why does social inequality erode a democratic regime according to Rousseau?

n) How can an apathetic society gain a community of spirit according to Tocqueville?

o) How can the centralizing features of a government be reduced according to Tocqueville?