This book introduces readers to analytical interpretation of seminal writings and thinkers in the history of political thought, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Bible, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Bacon, Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, Marx, and Nietzsche. Chronologically arranged, each chapter in the book is devoted to the work of a single thinker. The selected texts together engage with 2000 years of debate on fundamental questions, which include: What is the purpose of political life? What is the good life, for us as individuals, and for us as a political community? What is justice? What is a right? Do human beings have rights? What kinds of human virtues are there and which regimes best promote them? The difficulty of accessing the texts included in this volume is the result not only of their subtlety but also of the dramatic change in everyday life. The authors shed light on the texts' vocabulary and complexities of thought and help students understand and weigh the various interpretations of each philosopher's thought. • Accessible interpretive essays on the greatest texts in the history of political thought, from Plato to Nietzsche. • Includes key passage plus a succinct discussion that glosses the text, examines later-day interpretations, and guides students in forming their own interpretations. • Allows students to learn from, rather than only about, each thinker, and to apply their thought to the present day.