American Legal History

This course provides an introduction to the legal history of the United States. The main objective of the class is to provide perspective with which we, as lawyers, can understand the legal world in which we operate and evaluate the changes that will continue to take place during our own professional lifetimes. As a secondary theme, we will also discuss the many uses of history in present-day legal argument. Topics will include slavery and civil rights, religious freedom, the laws of war, economic regulation, the law of sex, sexuality, and marriage, and the development of the modern legal profession. Readings will include both primary historical sources and commentary by modern courts and scholars. No particular background in history is required.

Grading and Method of Evaluation:
Letter grade with pass/fail option. Take-home exam.