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U.S. Lgl Hist I (LAW-606-001)
An indication of topics we will cover in the first session and some study questions you might find useful can be found in the Course Announcements section of the MyWCL site for the course.
Explores the interaction of American law and society primarily from the Revolutionary War and New Republic era through post-Civil War reconstruction, with a brief introductory overview of colonial developments. Examines the origins, evolution, and impact of major constitutional, statutory, and private law developments in this period. Specific topics include changes in understanding and operation of basic constitutional rights; the evolving scope of governmental power and relationship between federal and state authority; legal promotion and regulation of American economic life, particularly through the development and application of property, tort, and contract law; the changing legal and social status and activity of women, African-Americans, and industrial workers; evolving ideas and practices regarding crime and criminals; and the history of the legal profession.
Textbooks and Other Materials
The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check here to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.
REQUIRED: Bernard Bailyn, et al., The Great Republic, Volume I (4th ed. 1992) [NOT The Great Republic 1820-1920]; Kermit Hall and Peter Karsten, The Magic Mirror (2d ed. 2009); Morton Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law 1780-1860 (1977); Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, A March of Liberty, Volume I (3d ed. 2011); and William Wiecek, Liberty Under Law (1988). ONLY RECOMMENDED: Lawrence M. Friedman and Harry N. Scheiber, American Law and the Constitutional Order (Enlarged ed. 1988) NOTE: The Bailyn, Horwitz, and Wiecek books all can be purchased used on line at a very dramatic discount. (There is at least one used copy of the Wiecek book available for literally one cent plus shipping.) You may be able to find a used copy of the Hall and Karsten book at a significant discount as well. Several copies of each of the required and recommended books will be available in the library reserve stacks as well. We will use only very little of the recommended Friedman and Scheiber text.
First Class Readings
For our first class, please read: Kermit Hall and Peter Karsten, The Magic Mirror 7-9(middle) (2d ed. 2009) and two selections on reserve–David M. Walker, “Ancient Law” and J.H. Baker, An Introduction to English Legal History 1-17 only (we will read more from the Baker selection for our second class). Reserve materials are available both in hard copy in the library and electronically in the “Reserve Reading” file in the Course Materials section of the MyWCL site for this course. Additional Recommended but not Required Reading: Russ VerSteeg, The Essentials of Greek and Roman Law (2010) (selection on electronic reserve at the MyWCL site).
The syllabus is available in the following format(s):