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The Individual in the Democratic State

American political and legal theorists have traditionally devoted a great deal of attention to rights but rather less to obligations. In this course, we will explore the relationship between rights and obligations in a democratic state. Is it ever legitimate for a democratic state to use its power to constrain individual citizens in the service of democracy itself? Sometimes obligations look like rights, and vice versa; is there a meaningful way to delineate the two? What happens when an obligation meets a right? We will examine these questions and others by looking more closely at four different sets of rights and obligations: military service, jury duty, education, and voting. Course materials include not only court opinions and legal commentary but also canonical political theory texts and writings from various social science disciplines.