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

ENGL 2203/GOV 2245. Shakespeare and Politics

Considers Shakespeare as a political thinker whose plays both absorb classical political philosophy and respond to pressing political matters of his day (and beyond). This team-taught course encourages open-ended debate and argumentation in order to foster informed and critical conversation between Shakespeare and Plato, Machiavelli, More, and Montaigne, among others. Beginning with philosophical questions about human nature, citizenship, and the rights of kings that appear in Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies, we turn in the second half of the course toward the politics of religion, ethnicity, and gender in the comedies and romances. Note: This class fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

GOV 2210. Modern Political Philosophy

A survey of modern political philosophy from Machiavelli to Mill. Examines the overthrow of the classical horizon, the movement of human will and freedom to the center of political thought, the idea of the social contract, the origin and meaning of rights, the relationship between freedom and equality, the role of democracy, and the replacement of nature by history as the source of human meaning. Authors may include Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel, and Mill.

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