Const Law II: Race and the Constitution

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON, WED 2:30 - 3:45 pm JON 5.206

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final exam (administered by Exam4 in Closed mode) May 7, 2024 8:30 am A-Z in 3.124


This course will offer an intensive examination of the way the Constitution (and then controversies involving the Constitution) handled variosu issues involving race.  We will begin with the debates at the Philadelphia Conventiona about slavery.  Most of our time will undoubtedly be spent on the treatment of Blacks, both as enslaved and as "free" persons, but attention will also be paid to members of Indigenous Nations and Asians (as in the aptly named Chinese Exclusion Cases).  Although the arrival of the Reconstruction Amendment will obviously be an important part of the course, we shall spend a fair amount of time looking at ante-bellum materials.  The course will conclude with the 1903 Alabama case Giles v. Harris, in which the Supreme Court basically gave up on enforcing the Fifteenth Amendment and its ostensible prohibition of racial discrimination with regard to voting.  

Although there will be a final examination--of two question to be answered in two hours--the grade will also be based on two "response papers" to given assignments of. your choice.  Each response paper should be approximately 1200-1500 words.  Should any of you, after grading the final exam and the response papers, be at the cusp between two grades, then class participation (or its lack) will determine the final grade.  

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

The Second Founding : How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution *
Foner, Eric
Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W.
ISBN: 978-0-393-35852-0
The Essential Douglass : Selected Writings and Speeches *
Douglass, Frederick
Hackett Publishing Company, Incorporated
ISBN: 978-1-62466-453-3


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Important Class Changes

Date Updated
03/29/2024 Exam information updated