ONLINE SEMINAR
October 18 | The Last, Best Hope of Earth: Essential Readings on Democracy

$350.00

Democracy is far from an inevitable form of government. Today, there are many examples of countries that are migrating toward authoritarianism, a truly frightening prospect to many of us. Perhaps education provides the cure. By examining the key precepts of democracy, by recognizing its internal tensions and contradictions, we can become the informed citizenry that Jefferson tells us is crucial to self-governance.

This seminar will concentrate on Enlightenment-era thinkers who articulated the central assumptions about human nature and the purpose of government that underpin the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.

Meet John and learn more in our 15-minute video interview.

When: Six weekly sessions on Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern, starting October 18, 2022

Duration: 2 hours per session

Cost: C$350 plus 13% HST (approx. US$275 plus 13% HST)

Group Size: 12-participant limit

How: We meet on Zoom; you will receive joining instructions approx. 3 weeks before the seminar start date. For your privacy, all our Zoom seminars are password-protected and are not recorded. See full conditions at the bottom of this page.

All seminar payments are nonrefundable. All discount codes must be used at time of purchase. If you would like to apply your Toronto Pursuits 2020 deposit to this seminar, please contact us.

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Description

LEADER

John Riley has extensive experience teaching works of political philosophy and 18th and 19th century rhetoric as a member of the faculties of Benedictine University and Morton College. John has conducted shared inquiry discussions for the Great Books Foundation, Benedictine University, Morton College and Classical Pursuits for over 30 years.

READINGS

Selections from Plato’s Republic; Aristotle’s Politics; Magna Carta; John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government; Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract; Voltaire’s Letters on England; Montesquieu’s The Spirit of the Laws; the Declaration of Independence; the Federalist Papers; Thomas Paine’s Common Sense; John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty.

Participants will be provided with links to each week’s readings.

Are those truths still “self-evident” upon which a democratic republic is based? What are those truths and what does it mean to say they reflect “laws of nature”? If democracy is so “natural,” then why is it also so fragile? What is the future of “the last best hope of earth”?

Democracy is far from an inevitable form of government. Today, there are many examples of countries that are migrating toward authoritarianism, a truly frightening prospect to many of us. Perhaps education provides the cure. By examining the key precepts of democracy, by recognizing its internal tensions and contradictions, we can become the informed citizenry that Jefferson tells us is crucial to self-governance.

This seminar will concentrate on Enlightenment-era thinkers who articulated the central assumptions about human nature and the purpose of government that underpin the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. It will explore how democracies balance the interests of the common good with the values of personal liberty, and how they reconcile the need for laws and allegiance to authority with an abiding respect for the unfettered “pursuit of happiness.” Finally, the course will look at a couple of famous critics of democracy and whether their ideas about its shortcomings have relevance to our times.

“We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.” —Abraham Lincoln, Address to Congress, December 1, 1862

All online seminar payments are nonrefundable. All discount codes must be used at the time of purchase; no retroactive discounts will be issued.

All seminars are subject to minimum enrollment of 7 participants. Click the link for full terms and conditions for Classical Pursuits online seminars.

Classical Pursuits does not record seminars. By participating in any seminar, registrants agree not to make their own seminar recordings and to abide by the Classical Pursuits code of conduct.

Image credit: original: United States Declaration of Independence William Stone, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Standard registration, Toronto Pursuits 2020 credit