Spring 2017 Featured Courses

The Revolution was in the minds of the people…fifteen years before a drop of blood was drawn in Lexington.
–Adams to Jefferson, 24 August 1815



While the iconic images of covert midnight rides and harbors full of tea are seared into our collective consciousness at an early age, the full story of the nation’s revolutionary origins often goes untold. What actually compelled the colonists to rebel against the crown? What contradictions did soon-to-be U.S. citizens confront as they were fighting for their independence? These (and others like it) are critically important questions, the answers to which too frequently elude us. Until now. The second course in the Kinder Institute’s Constitutionalism & Democracy Honors College course series, “The Revolutionary Transformation of Early America” is designed to provide students with an opportunity to explore the practical and theoretical causes and ramifications of colonists’ resistance to British rule, as well as the major events of the War itself, through an examination of primary and secondary sources that illuminate the process that set the British Empire’s mainland American colonies on a surprising, transformative trajectory toward republicanism.


Democracy has become a global norm. After repeated waves of democratization, it has now reached all corners of the world and spread far beyond the affluent West. How can we understand transitions to democracy and democratic stability? What is the relationship between democracy and development, and what can America and other Western powers do to promote democracy abroad?


Although democracy has been on the rise in the last decades, we have also seen new challenges emerge. Many countries have adopted democratic façades hiding the persistent stability of authoritarianism. We have also seen the rise of China and Russia in world politics, creating a powerful counterweight to the previously dominant liberal order. How will this change affect the prospects for democratization in the future? These and other questions will be debated in this course as students will be introduced to central questions, theories, and findings in comparative democratization.t certainly not least, how did the triumph of the Union condition the political and economic development of a rapidly globalizing world?