20th Century Constitutional History

The United States Constitution was originally framed in the 18th century and significantly amended in the 19th century, but our understanding of the Constitution has also been formed through crises, wars, and social and political strife during the 20th century. This course will explore the 20th century as a formative period in American constitutional history. We will consider the impact of war and national security, the impact of the Great Depression and the New Deal, the role of social movements, including the civil rights movement and the women's movement, and other developments.

Readings will consist of cases and other legal sources, primary historical sources, and secondary works in history. The class will be a combination of lecture and discussion. Students will be required to write four short reaction papers about course readings, which will be turned in before class. There will be a take-home final exam.
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