The History of Early American Law
This course will be offered by Michael Caires, who will be joining us in the fall.
This course surveys the development of American legal institutions, legal thought, and legal doctrine from the Revolution to the Civil War. Equal attention is devoted to the common law, statues, and constitutional law. The course is organized around two main themes: (1) how political, economic, and cultural changes shaped the structure of American law; (2) how law channeled and constrained efforts to reform social relations in the antebellum era. Students are expected to read approximately 150 pages per week. There will be two mid-term exams, partly take-home and partly in class (25% each) and a final exam (40%).