Boston University School of Law

JD804 American Legal History

 

Selected topics in 19th- and 20th-century U.S. legal history. We will first explore the role of the legal profession in four public controversies: the authority of English common law after the American Revolution, slavery and racism, women's rights, and organized labor. We will then turn our attention to various methodologies for interpreting legal change: formalism, realism, law and economics, critical legal studies, and feminist jurisprudence. Readings (which will be plentiful) are drawn from primary sources (cases, speeches, and treatises) and secondary literature (articles and books). Students can either write a research paper or complete a take-home examination. Research papers may, but need not, fulfill the Writing Requirement.