Modern Constitutional History
This course will examine the role of the law and lawyers in American history from Reconstruction until the end of the 20th century. We will examine the Civil War Amendments and federalism, laissez-faire formalism and economic regulation, the growth of legal liberalism, and the conservative reaction. Our primary purpose is to better understand the role lawyers have played in shaping social, political, and economic change.
The class will use a combination of teaching methods. Approximately 80% of our class time will be lecture. The other 20% will be organized as a seminar, emphasizing intensive reading, discussion, and critique of texts. Consequently, a primary requirement of this course is a careful reading of the assigned texts and a willingness to participate actively in class discussions.