Hobbes, Thomas. Leviathan, edited by C. B. MacPherson. New York: Penguin Classics, 1982.
Using the methods of geometry, Hobbes breaks down the state into its parts. He then rebuilds the state into a model of a good state, which must be absolute.
Locke, John. Second Treatise of Government, edited by Thomas P. Peardon. New York: Prentice Hall, 1952.
Locke’s book is in many ways the founding document of modern liberal democracy.
Machiavelli, Niccolo. The Prince. Harvey Mansfield, trans. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
Notorious for its brutality, this book imagines politics as a bloody contest in which success is the only goal.
Madison, James, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay. The Federalist, edited by J. R. Poole. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2005.
This book provides insights into the nature of politics and the reasoning behind the Constitution of the United States.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Translated by Martin Malia. 1848. Reprint, New York: Signet Classics, 1998.
This book presents a very different view of politics, one that renounces liberal democracy as nothing more than the tool of the wealthy.
Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty. New York: Penguins Classics, 1975.
In this work, Mill presents a powerful argument for expansive freedom in society.
Plato. The Republic. Translated by G. M. A. Grube and C. D. C. Reeve. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1992.
Plato’s most famous political dialogue focuses on the creation of a good society.
Simpson, Peter, ed. The Politics of Aristotle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
Aristotle’s important work is the first attempt to systematize knowledge of government.
The website of the American Political Science Association, the leading organization of political scientists in the United States.
An organization that measures and promotes democracy around the world.
A great source for free ebooks; many classics of political theory can be found there.
The University of Michigan is one of the leading political science schools in the United States; this page has many links to sites that might interest or help those studying politics.