It’s our unfortunate situation in the USA in that very few people, including our elected officials, really understand the basis of our system of government. They fail to understand basic principles such as natural law, the social contract, morality, and even basic economics. This is something I have studied since I was a child. It’s been a passion of mine for over 30 years. During that time I have read many books relating to history, political theory, philosophy, and linguistics. Here is, in my opinion some essential reading to understand politics and the philosophy of government.

  • Republic – Plato
  • The Social Contract – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • A Theory of Justice – John Rawls
  • Leviathan: Or, The Matter, Forme and Power of Commonwealth, Ecclesiasticall and Civill – Thomas Hobbes
  • Democracy in America – Alexis de Tocqueville
  • The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
  • Capital: Critique of Political Economy – Karl Marx
  • Discourse on Inequality – Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Rights of Man – Thomas Paine
  • The Road to Serfdom – Friedrich Hayek
  • The constitution of Liberty – Friedrich Hayek
  • A treatise on government – John Locke
  • Principles of economics – Carl Menger
  • On Law, Morality and Politics – St. Thomas Aquinas
  • Human Action: a Treatise on Economics – Ludwig von Mises
  • Socialism – Ludwig von Mises
  • The Spirit of Laws – Baron de Montesquieu
Books to understand political theory

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