LEAD 216
American Constitutionalism I: Structures of Power Spring 2024
Division II
Cross-listed PSCI 216
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

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 contemporary conservative ascendancy. 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: Format: lecture; discussion
Limit: 25
Expected: 18
Class#: 3675
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three essays (3-4 pages, 5-6 pages, 7-8 pages), a two-part final exam, and class participation
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PSCI 216 Division II LEAD 216 Division II
Attributes: JLST Interdepartmental Electives
LEAD Facets or Domains of Leadership
POEC Depth
PSCI American Politics Courses

Class Grid

Course Catalog Archive Search



Start Time
End Time