Location: Bowdoin / Paul N. Franco

Government and Legal Studies

Paul Franco

Professor of Government and Chair of the Government and Legal Studies Department


Contact Information

Government and Legal Studies

Hubbard Hall - 17

Teaching this semester

GOV 1012. Human Being and Citizen

An introduction to the fundamental issues of political philosophy: human nature, the relationship between individual and political community, the nature of justice, the place of virtue, the idea of freedom, and the role of history. Readings span both ancient and modern philosophical literature. Authors may include Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, the American Founders, Tocqueville, Mill, and Nietzsche.

GOV 2270. Religion and Politics

Examines the relationship between religion and politics -- the so-called theological-political question -- primarily in modern Europe and America. Focuses first on the tension between and eventual separation of church and state in the early modern period; then considers the implications and complications of this historic separation, looking at recent Supreme Court cases, as well as contemporary discussion of the relationship between religion and politics. Comparisons with the treatment of this issue in the Islamic world are made. Authors include Machiavelli, Luther, Calvin, Spinoza, Locke, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, as well as a variety of contemporary and Islamic writers.

Paul N. Franco - Bowdoin College


  • B.A. Colorado College
  • M.Sc. London School of Economics
  • Ph.D. University of Chicago

Mr. Franco is a Professor of Government with teaching responsibilities in the history of political philosophy and contemporary political theory. Before coming to Bowdoin, he taught at the University of Chicago as a William Rainey Harper Fellow.  

Mr. Franco is the author of The Political Philosophy of Michael Oakeshott (Yale University Press, 1990), Hegel’s Philosophy of Freedom (Yale University Press, 1999), Michael Oakeshott: An Introduction (Yale University Press, 2004), and Nietzsche’s Enlightenment: The Free-Spirit Trilogy of the Middle Period (University of Chicago Press, 2011).  Most recently he co-edited A Companion to Michael Oakeshott (Penn State, 2012). He has published articles and reviews in The American Political Science Review, Political Theory, The Journal of Politics, The Review of Politics, Political Studies, Ethics, and The Political Science Reviewer.

A Companion to Michael Oakeshott Nietzsche’s Enlightenment: The Free-Spirit Trilogy of the Middle Period paul franco: hegel book cover

paul franco: book cover          paul franco: book cover michael oakeshott, an introduction