• Unit 3: Liberal Democracy and Its Critics

    We conclude our course by discussing various conceptualizations of political and social equality and addressing ways that political thought shifted away from a belief in the primacy of the sovereign state and the legitimacy of elites. We also discuss how Jean-Jacques Rousseau developed the notion of participatory democracy, the egalitarian view that constituents should be directly involved in the direction and operation of political systems.

    Alexis de Tocqueville considered participatory democracy when he examined government in young America. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels did the same when they critiqued political liberalism as the ideology of the rich. Our unit serves as a historical platform for discussing today's competing political theories about the role of the state in the redistribution of resources, the government's role in the economy, and the difference between how we act and what we believe.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 40 hours.

    • 3.1: Discourse on Inequality

    • 3.2: Democratic Participation

    • 3.3: Democratic Statecraft

    • 3.4: Karl Marx as an Enlightenment Thinker

      • 3.4.1: Alienation and Secular Governance

      • 3.4.2: The Marxian Challenge

      • 3.4.3: Marx's Theory of Capitalism

      • 3.4.4: From Capitalism to Socialism to Communism

      • 3.4.5: Alienation: Separating Workers from the Results of Their Work

      • 3.4.6: Understanding Modes of Production (Materialism)

    • 3.5: The Boundaries of Civil Liberties

    • Unit 3 Assessment