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Spring 2023 Seminar

Classical Liberalism and the Rule of Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam
Students will be expected to complete two short papers in response to course readings, and a longer paper at the end of the course

This course will examine the indispensable role of the Rule of Law in free societies. We will first explore the the nature of free societies as described by classical liberal theory, notably in the writings of Friedrich Hayek. We will also briefly contrast free societies with collectivist ones, which rule by commands. We will then identify the essential elements of the Rule of Law as understood by classical liberal theory. Other topics will include the development of the Rule of Law in 17th and 18th century England; the extent to which our Constitution embodies the classical liberal understanding of the Rule of Law; the extent to which Supreme Court doctrine advances or impedes the Rule of Law; and the profound tension between the Rule of Law and the modern administrative state.

Note: This course will meet over six weeks from January 26 through March 24.