Constitutional Law Seminar: The History of the Constitution
This seminar examines key moments in the history of the Constitution of the United States. Topics to be covered include the framing and ratification of the Constitution; the creation of the federal judiciary and landmark decisions of the Marshall Court; the origins of federalism; slavery and constitutional problems raised by the Civil War; prohibition; economic issues and the New Deal; the Civil Rights era; and the modern constitutional politics of abortion and affirmative action. Although readings will include some cases, the course is concerned less with legal doctrine than with the operation of the Constitution in historical context. No particular background in history is required. The seminar has a take-home exam. Instead of the exam, students may write a final paper with the permission of the instructor. The paper may be used to satisfy the Upperclass Writing Requirement. The course is available for 3 credits to students who complete a major research paper.