LEAD 216
American Constitutionalism I: Structures of Power Fall 2018 Division II; Cross-listed as PSCI216 / LEAD216

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How has the American Constitution been debated and understood over time? What is the relationship between constitutional and political change? This course examines the historical development of American constitutional law and politics from the Founding to the present. Our focus is on structures of power — the limits on congressional lawmaking, growth of presidential authority, establishment of judicial review, conflicts among the three branches of the federal government, and boundaries between the federal and state and local governments. The specific disputes under these rubrics range from secession to impeachment, gun control to child labor, waging war to spurring commerce; the historical periods to be covered include the Marshall and Taney Court years, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Progressive Era, the New Deal, the Warren Court, and the conservative ascendancy of the late twentieth century. Readings are drawn from Supreme Court opinions, presidential addresses, congressional debates and statutes, political party platforms, key tracts of American political thought, and secondary scholarship on constitutional development. Throughout the semester, our goal will be less to remember elaborate doctrinal rules and multi-part constitutional “tests” than to understand the changing nature of, and changing relationship between, constitutional power and constitutional meaning in American history.
The Class: Type: lecture/discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 25
Class#: 1372
Requirements/Evaluation: three 5- to 7-page essays, a final exam, and class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II;
Attributes: LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership; POEC U.S. Political Economy + Public Policy Course; PSCI American Politics Courses

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