Introductory Seminar in U.S History
This seminar will explore the complex relationship between slavery and the American legal system between 1619 and 1877. From colonial slave codes and gradual emancipation statutes to federal fugitive slave acts and the Reconstruction Amendments, students will delve into the legalities of slavery in the United States. During the semester, we will discuss topics that include: the meaning of freedom in a slave society, the legal logistics of gradual emancipation, enslaved peoples’ property ownership, and the legal relationship between enslaved people, slaveholders, and non-slaveholders, and free people of color. Students will also research, draft, and revise an independent research paper on a topic of their choosing, in consultation with the instructor.