American Legal History
This course focuses on the role of law in American political and social thought from colonial times to the present. The intersection of law and politics and the role of the courts in a constitutional democracy are central course themes. Subjects include land use controls in the Colonial and Founding generations, politics in the Founding generation, slavery and race in American thought, nineteenth century judicial activism, the revolution of the New Deal, and modern topics such as desegregation and affirmative action, privacy and abortion, environmentalism, the new federalism of the Rehnquist/Roberts Courts, and that Court’s decision determining the result of the 2000 presidential election. Students must attend class, take a take-home examination. Class participation affects grades as well.