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LAW 0868: American Legal History
Spring 2023 • Section 01 • CRN 47601

Course Description

This course is designed for students interested in exploring the mutually constitutive relationship between law and American life from the age of contact to the late 20th century. It starts from the premise that the history of the interaction between law and society is a key critical lens through which to examine law’s role in shaping our past and our present. It will proceed both thematically and chronologically, focusing primarily on the 19th and 20th centuries. Students will read a combination of primary sources and secondary sources, with the latter drawn principally from the scholarly literature. Subjects include the law of settler colonialism; the legal fights over the Revolution and the contested constitutional settlement of 1787; the laws of slavery and capitalism; the legal crisis of the Civil War; the Reconstruction amendments and their failure; the law of immigration and exclusion; the paradoxical rise of civil liberties in the modern state; the New Deal and the growth of administration; Jim Crow and the civil rights era; and the rise of mass incarceration.


Day/Time Location
T 10:00-11:50 AM Klein 6A

Course Details

  • Jane Manners
Credit Hours

3 Credits



Course Type
  • Writing
Course Modality


Fulfills J.D. Requirement
  • Writing Serial
  • Bias in the Law


Registration Info

No Registration Restrictions.

Book List/Materials