Const Law II: Constitutional History

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, TUE 2:15 - 3:30 pm TNH 2.138

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
December 13, 2012


Constitutions are about power, what it is to be used for, by whom, and according to what understandings and justifications. Constitutional conflicts concern the reach and limits of government power: state and local power versus federal power; legislative versus judicial power; public governmental power versus private liberty. Constitutional conflicts, at the same time, concern questions of interpretive authority. Who has the right to say what the Constitution means and demands? The courts? The federal or state lawmakers? The president? The people themselves? Constitutions, also, are about political community. Who belongs, in the U.S. Constitution's words, to "We, the People"? Who counts as a full, rights-bearing citizen? And what are his or her rights? These are the main issues of constitutional history; small wonder that its currents and conflicts always have involved more than the courts. This course will weave together U.S. constitutional history in the courts with the history of constitutional conflicts in American politics, culture and society.