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How to Argue About Politics: Statesmanship and Public Debate

What might it mean to win a political debate? And how important is the art of persuasion in public life? In this course, we will examine the state of contemporary political disagreement, study the mechanics of argument, and seek to understand the proper role of rhetoric in a republic. Each week will be centered around the career of a great statesman—Churchill, Hamilton, Lincoln, Disraeli, Begin—and we will examine how each figure employed oratory and the written word to lead the people back to first principles. We will also look to classical Jewish and founding American sources to answer questions about the virtue of argument and what it means to argue well.

This course is generously supported by the David Fleischer Forum on American Civilization