Constitutional History: Civil War & Reconstruction (S)


This course will investigate the constitutional history of the era of the Civil War and Reconstruction. We will explore legal and constitutional change from several different angles, including presidential leadership, legislative mandates, and judicial interpretation. We will also consider how society at large debated and helped to shape legal developments, paying particular attention to the themes of fluidity, contingency, and participation, and how law, society, and politics mixed during this period to set American legal development on paths that were not predetermined. Topics to be covered will include slavery, secession, Lincoln's constitutionalism, civil liberties and war powers, Lincoln and race, African Americans and the Union, the redefinition of American citizenship during Reconstruction, civil rights during Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow. Prior background in American history is not required. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.