FIRST PAPER ASSIGNMENT PS 111B
Papers are due Thursday, May 11
th online by 4:00 PM through turnitin on the
course website. You should also turn in a hardcopy at the start of class on the same
day. The two copies must match. Papers should be 5-6 pages in length—that means about
1600 words—double-spaced, typed, and in 12 point font with one-inch margins. Your
paper should use a formal citation system (either MLA or Chicago is fine). Papers
without proper citations cannot receive full credit. As stated in the syllabus, late papers
are penalized at a rate of a full grade if turned in within the first 24 hours after the
deadline, then a half-grade a day for every additional 24 hours. For information on UCLA
standards of academic honesty, and for policies regarding plagiarism, please speak to
Professor Barringer or consult the syllabus.
A successful paper will have a clear thesis, and will build an argument based on clear
references to the texts, that flows continuously from beginning to end. Since you will be
writing about two texts, take extra care to construct an argument that does not simply
describe two alternative positions, but rather makes an argument using both texts to
create a clear answer to the question. For this paper, you should not consult sources
outside those assigned in class.
ASSIGNMENT: Choose and answer one of the questions listed below. For each
question, you should choose assigned works from two, and only two, of the following
authors when making your response: Martin Luther, John Calvin, Michelle Montaigne,
Thomas Hobbes, and John Milton.
1) What approach should a polity take when balancing between the demands of political
obedience and citizenship on the one hand, and the requirements of devout faith on the
other? (Can a good Christian also be an active, fully engaged citizen?)
2) To what extent does maintaining a stable political order demand the censorship and
regulation of religious and political ideas within a community?
3) Several of our authors are skeptical of human ability to concretely determine
objective facts about good and evil, right and wrong. Why, or why not, does such
skepticism pose a problem for politics? Does good governance require sound, sure
4) In the early modern period, many theorists come to view human beings as
fundamentally equal to one another. On what authority can hierarchical government be
instituted among equals for the sake of a stable, legitimate government?
**The purpose of this assignment is to show your ability to make an argument by
analyzing two primary texts in conversation. Since the meaning of the books we have
read is up for debate, and there is a range of acceptable answers to the above questions,
be careful when citing these works to find passages that supports your interpretation.**