This course will examine the important trends in European political and constitutional theory in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, that is, the political theory that was current and influential at the time of the US Revolution. The focus will be on competing accounts of the sources of freedom and rights, constituent power, the proper structure of government, the nature of law and constitutionalism. We will be attempting to immerse ourselves in the intellectual and political debates that preceded the federal and early state constitutions. The period in question is one of extraordinary intellectual diversity even within the nations of Western Europe so there will be a good deal of material to cover. Course requirements include active participation in class, weekly reaction papers and a term paper.