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Master of Liberal Studies

Spring 2018 Semester

MLS Civics Program

Spring Semester 2018

MLS 581 “Liberty”

Professor Siobhan Moroney

Course Description

Throughout the history of western ideas, the concept of liberty is a relatively modern one; we can trace its development from the English Enlightenment to the 21st century. We will explore the idea of liberty as a political, economic, cultural and social standard, including markets, individual rights, conflicts between equality and freedom, international relations, psychological explorations of freedom, conflicts between states, and individual liberties. Throughout the course, we will apply theoretical constructs to real problems, looking at public policy and Supreme Court law.  How can liberty be applied to America’s discussions of personal rights, including First Amendment liberties, sexuality, and abortion? Does freedom require the government to avoid infringing on individual autonomy, or must the government actively protect an individual’s autonomy? If so, how is the balance between government interference and individual autonomy struck?  Does economic freedom require political freedom? Seven class meetings, with the rest of the course work carried out online.


Siobhan Moroney
Associate Professor of Politics at Lake Forest College

Professor Moroney earned her BA from the University of Oklahoma and her PhD from Rutgers University. She teaches political theory and American politics as well as American studies. Her current research is on American house design and its connection to familial relations.

Syllabus for MLS 581: “Liberty”