565.01 The Reconstruction Amendments: Our Second Founding

The Reconstruction Amendments (the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments) are cornerstones to what has been described as our nation’s “Second Founding.”   Although students may be familiar with discrete clauses of these amendments from a general constitutional law or federal courts class, this seminar offers a chance to study the Reconstruction Amendments in more detail, and as a unit.   We will become acquainted with the key figures, events, and primary documents that surround the drafting, ratification, interpretation and enforcement of these Amendments.   We will consult the work of luminaries such as Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and John Bingham, as well as contemporary sources like newspaper articles, congressional reports, and the Proceedings of the Black National and State Conventions.    We will also examine select secondary works by legal scholars and historians that shed light on these amendments both descriptively and theoretically.  

Students may enroll in the course for 2 or 3 credits.  Evaluation for the 2 credit course will be short reflective papers and class participation.  Evaluation for the 3 credit course will be short reflective papers, class participation, and a research paper suitable to satisfy the substantial writing requirement. 

Special Notes:


Spring 2024

Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor
Course Credits
Reflective Writing
Reaction Papers
Class participation
Darrell A. H. Miller
Sakai site: https://sakai.duke.edu/portal/site/LAW-565-01-Sp24
Email list: LAW-565-01-Sp24@sakai.duke.edu
Degree Requirements
Course Requirements - JD
Course Requirements - LLM
Course Requirements - Public Interest
Course Areas of Practice
Course Areas of Practice