Fall semester, 2007
John E. Semonche
Jordan M. Smith
Students may find these web sites useful during the course.
The assignments listed below are to be read in preparation on the day listed. Although this is a desirable practice generally, it is especially valuable here since our class builds upon the base your reading provides. The text, Urofsky & Finkelman, A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States, Vol. I, 2nd ed. (hereinafter cited as Text), a source book, Hall, ed., Major Problems in American Constitutional History, Vol. I (hereinafter cited as Hall), the simulation coursepack and the other paperbacks listed below can be purchased at the Student Stores.
- Annotated Constitution of the United States
Cases Decided by the Supreme Court of the United States explained and analyzed by article and section.
- The official U.S. Supreme Court Site
Useful for keeping track of current developments.
- Oyez: A U.S. Supreme Court Database
A visual tour of the Supreme Court; selected oral arguments in significant cases; biographies and portraits of Justices; and written opinions since 1891.
- Current Supreme Court Decisions and Selected Historical Decisions
Decisions are added to the database the day that they are delivered. The database also contains 580 historial Supreme Court decisions.
- Selected Statutes of the United States
A chronological selection of important federal laws
- Material Relating to Impeachment
A comprehensive database of material relating to impeachment, including relevant historical instances of its use.
- Sources and Visuals on Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
An extensive database drawn from the files of Harper's Weekly, including pictures and cartoons.
- FACT: First Amendment Cyber Tribune
News and court decision concerning the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
- 22 Introduction to the field and to the course.
- 27 Hall, pp. 23-38; and Text, pp. 1-16.
- 29 Text, pp. 17-60; and Hall, pp. 38-61.
- 3 Holiday
- 5 John Phillip Reid, Constitutional History of the American Revolution, abridg. ed., pp. ix-106.
- 10 Hall, pp. 62-97, 114-119; Text, pp. 61-92, A5-A10.
- 12 Kaminski & Leffler, Creating the Constitution, pp. 1-115.
- 17 Text, pp. 93-109, A11-A26; and Hall, pp. 146-177.
- 19 Kaminski & Leffler, pp. 116-172; and Simulation No. 1: Consideration of the proposed Constitution.
- 24 Text, pp. 109-119; and Kaminski & Leffler, pp. 173-246.
- 26 Text, pp. 120-28; and Hall, pp. 178-230.
- 1 Text, pp. 128-46, 181-85; and Hall, pp. 231-275.
- 3 Text, pp. 147-80, 185-89; and Simulation No. 2: The House Considers Repeal of the 1801 Judiciary Act.
- 8 Text, pp. 189-206; and Hall, pp. 276-332.
- 10 Text, pp. 207-47.
- 15TAKE-HOME MID-TERM EXAMINATION DUE; and showing of films recreating two Marshall Court decisions.
- 17 FALL BREAK
- 22 Text, pp. 248-83; and Hall, pp. 364-404.
- 24 Text, pp. 287-336; and Hall, pp. 405-450.
- 29 Simulation No. 3: The Senate Decides on the Censure of Andrew Jackson.
- 31 Hall, pp. 333-63; and Text, pp. 283-87.
- 5 Text, pp. 337-400.
- 7 Hall, pp. 491-523.
- 12 Simulation No. 4: Abraham Lincoln Decides Whether to Initiate a Blockade of Southern Ports.
- 14 PAPER DUE
- 19 Text, pp. 401-28; and Belz, Abraham Lincoln, Constitutionalism, and Equal Rights in the Civil War Era, pp. ix-71.
- 21 THANKSGIVING26 Belz, pp. 72-161; Text, 429-37; and Computer Simulation No.1: 1865--Should the Southern States Be Readmitted to the Union?
- 28 Belz, pp. 162-86; Text, pp 437-55, 465-68; and Simulation No.5: The Supreme Court Decides on the Constitutionality of Military Reconstruction
- 3 Text, pp. 455-65, 468-85; and Hall, pp. 584-602.
- 5 Belz, pp. 187-246.
- 10 FINAL EXAMINATION: 4-7 p.m.
1. One reiterated word of warning at the outset: read the assignments before the designated class period. Legal material often requires that you establish a base for understanding that which follows. Your predecessors in the course who have had the most difficulty sought to do their reading in large catch-up chucks. Although we hope that you will find the assignments quite readable, and in part they were chosen with this goal in mind, reading them in large segments precludes gaining full value from the class periods. To put all this in more simple language, without the reading you will not know what is going on.
2. The syllabus lists five class simulations and one computer simulation. The class simulations are available for purchase in a coursepack at Student Stores. They require your participation as individuals and as a class. Success in the past with this teaching method has led to an extended use of simulations in the course.
3. The syllabus also lists a computer simulation that you will have to douwnload from Semonche's home page, the address of which is http://www.ibiblio.org/semche/history/jackweb.html. All you have to do is follow the instructions after clicking on "American History Simulations." This home page also provides access to other useful information for the course, including the course syllabus with useful links to Internet sites that you may find useful.
4. One take-home mid-term examination is listed in the syllabus. You will be given the exam approximately one week before the due date listed. If there is class demand an optional quiz can be given sometime in early November. Assuming only the mid-term examination, it will count 30% of your course grade. The paper will also count 30% and the final exam 40%. Good class participation in the simulations and discussion may result in raising your grade in the course. Also improved performance may be con-sidered in awarding your final grade.
5. Troubled in the past by term papers that are onerous in the doing and in the reading, the following options are presented:
6. Office hours will be M & W from 4:30 to 5 p.m. and on W from 2 to 2:45 p.m. Do, however, take the opportunity to schedule times that will be most convenient to you. Also should you wish to get in touch by email, the address is email@example.com.
- a. Prepare a simulation following the guidelines of those used in the course. You can use any historical event or episode that falls within our time period and that relates to some constitutional matter. If the class is interested, we may be able to run some of the simulations prepared.
- b. Use the simulation material and the corresponding class period as one of your sources for dealing with the historical problem simulated.
Both of these options leave you considerable room to do the type of work that you consider most useful. The guidelines can be made more definite, but they are presented as ideas that you can shape in terms of your own interests and talents.
Because in any there are individuals who have some special interest that may not fit into either of the first two options, a third option is presented. With prior approval from the instructor any student wishing to do a traditional term paper on a manageable subject can do it. If I am correct in the assumption that a paper has more value if it arises from our class periods, most of you will see the worth of taking one of the first two options. Those of you who, upon reflection, feel differently will not be at any disadvantage in pursuing the more familiar.
Length of the "papers" will vary with the option selected, but as a target let us figure about 15 double-spaced typewritten pages. Whether you write more or less is not important; what is important is doing well the job you select.
Remember the due date of the papers is November 14, 2007.
This page was created by John E. Semonche. It was last updated August 2007. If you have any suggestions or comments, feel free to contact Semonche here.