This work enables all students of political ideas to gain a fuller appreciation of the great works which form the foundation of the subject. It spans from the turbulent era of the American and French Revolutions through to the calmer waters of the nineteenth century. Seven classic texts have been chosen for analysis. Hamilton's The Federalist, Sieyes' What is the Third Estate?, Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France, Hegel's The Philosophy of Right, de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto, and Mill's On Liberty. Together, they illustrate and express the main themes of the period. The most prominent of these is the growing distinction between the state and society and the problems that this brings in its train. Other themes embrace the interplay of revolution and reaction, the growth of representative government, and the challenge posed by democracy. The clear analysis and explanation contained in each essay will enable the reader to return to the original texts with a new understanding and insight.