Constitutional History



SLN #: 26737
Course Prefix: LAW-691
Course Section: 022
Credit Hours: 2
Instructor(s): Wiecek

Course Description:
This is a survey of American constitutional development, starting at the end of Reconstruction and going forward to the turn of the twenty-first century. We begin with the impact of industrialization on our public law, centering on the struggles over labor organization. The origins of the administrative state, resulting in extensive federal and state regulation of the economy, dominate this theme. World War I introduced both the rise of executive power and the emergence of civil liberties issues, especially those grounded in the First Amendment. The Depression’s impact on constitutional development culminated in a new constitutional order that acknowledged extensive regulatory powers and expressed an expanding concern for non-economic liberties. World War II, followed by the Cold War, produced the national-security state, with all that entailed for presidential power. Warren Court liberal activism confirmed the ascendance of legal liberalism, only to be contested by the emergence of a powerful conservative reaction that is attempting to roll back the combined impact of the New Deal and civil-liberties benchmarks of the 1960s. Meanwhile, a brief period of civil-rights activism, aspiring to full equality among races and ethnic groups, between men and women, and for all groups previously burdened by discrimination and denial of opportunity, was followed by an effort to co-opt the gains of the civil-rights era for a constitutional vision altogether different.

Course objectives:
1. convey knowledge about the American constitutional order from the late nineteenth-century to the present.
2. provide the historical background necessary to fully understand the constitutional issues of the present.
3. enable you to place the public-law controversies that you will confront in law school and in practice in a context that will help you understand them and resolve them knowledgeably and wisely.

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 2
Grading Option: Numeric Grade and ONE-Time Pass Option is Available, or Letter Grade Only
Graduation Writing Requirement: No
Flexible Writing Requirement: Yes
Skills Requirement: No
Final Exam Given: Yes
Final Exam Type: In-Class
Paper or In-Class Presentation: 30% of the course grade will be derived from a paper that is, in effect, a semester-long take-home exam based on the documents we will be discussing in the course.
Participation Points: Yes
Attendance Policy: Per Statement of Student Policies
Additional Attendance Policy: Yes
Online Course Site: Blackboard