How should human beings best be governed? What does the answer depend upon: analysis of human nature, understanding ‘institutions’ like the economy, having knowledge of ‘the lessons of history’, the teachings of religion…? The thinkers we study in this module lived between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries, and they had very different answers to the big question – how should humans best be governed – and to the subsidiary questions – for example, what is human nature? We engage critically with their theories and interpretations of their theories offered by others. We discover that interpretations of a classic text can differ markedly, so we try to understand why and to develop our own view of the original texts – to inform our own answer to that question: how should human beings best be governed?