Pitching a course on Plato’s Republic and the U.S. Constitution

Charles Lincon
2 min readSep 29, 2023

Course Title: Plato’s Republic and American Constitutional Law

Course Description:
This semester-long course explores the philosophical foundations of government and the development of constitutional law, with a particular focus on Plato’s Republic and its influence on American constitutional thought. Students will engage in close readings of Plato’s work and examine its connections to the principles and practices of American constitutional law. Through a combination of readings, discussions, and case analyses, students will gain a deep understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the American Constitution and its impact on modern governance.

Prerequisites: TBD

Instructor: Charles Lincoln

Course Objectives:

1. To critically analyze Plato’s Republic and its relevance to contemporary political thought and constitutional law.

2. To explore the historical development of American constitutional law and its connection to philosophical ideas.

3. To develop strong analytical and critical thinking skills through close reading, discussion, and written assignments.

4. To foster a deep understanding of the principles of justice, democracy, and the rule of law.

5. To examine key Supreme Court decisions and landmark cases that have shaped American constitutional law.

Course Materials:

1. “The Republic” by Plato
2. Selected readings from American constitutional law textbooks and articles
3. Supplemental readings on relevant topics
4. Access to relevant Supreme Court case decisions and legal databases


- Participation and Discussion: 20%
- Quizzes and Reflection Papers: 20%
- Midterm Examination: 20%
- Research Paper: 20%
- Final Examination: 20%

Course Schedule:

**Week 1–2: Introduction to Plato’s Republic**
- Overview of the course
- Introduction to Plato and the historical context
- Reading and discussion of Book I of “The Republic”

**Week 3–4: Justice and the Ideal State**
- Exploring Plato’s concept of justice
- Reading and discussion of Books II-IV
- The allegory of the cave and the philosopher-king

**Week 5–6: The Republic’s Influence on American Thought**
- Plato’s influence on early American thinkers
- The Federalist Papers and the Founding Fathers
- Guest lecture: The Republic’s impact on American political theory

**Week 7–8: The American Constitution: Origins and Key Principles**
- Historical development of the U.S. Constitution
- Separation of powers and checks and balances
- Reading and discussion of key constitutional excerpts

**Week 9–10: Constitutional Interpretation**
- Approaches to constitutional interpretation
- The role of the judiciary
- Reading and analysis of landmark Supreme Court cases

**Week 11–12: Civil Rights and Liberties**
- First Amendment rights
- Equal protection under the law
- Privacy rights and landmark cases

**Week 13–14: Contemporary Constitutional Challenges**
- Contemporary issues in constitutional law
- Examining recent Supreme Court decisions
- Student-led discussions on current events

**Week 15: Course Review and Final Examination Preparation**
- Review of key concepts and readings
- Final examination preparation

**Week 16: Final Examination**
- Comprehensive final examination on Plato’s Republic and American constitutional law

**Additional Information:**
- Office hours are available for individual assistance and clarification of course materials.
- The research paper will focus on a topic related to the course, allowing students to delve deeper into a specific area of interest.

Please note that the schedule and topics may be subject to minor adjustments throughout the semester. Students are expected to keep up with readings and actively participate in discussions.



Charles Lincon

Renaissance literature, Shakespeare, Hegelian dialectics, Attic Greek, masters University of Amsterdam.