553: Paper #1

History 553 Paper #1

This project introduces you to some of the sources you will use in preparation for your oral arguments at the end of the term. You will do brief research in these sources about a particular Supreme Court case, and then make connections to what we've been reading in Law in America. According to Lawrence Friedman, "American law is a reflection of what goes on in American society in general." This project asks you to investigate a case and to evaluate to what extent the Court's decision supports Friedman's contention.

Government and the Economy

Working women: Muller v. Oregon 208 U.S. 412 (1908)

Minimum wage: West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish 300 U.S. 379 (1937)

Wagner Act: National Labor Relations Board v. Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. 301 U.S. 1 (1937)

Rights of the Individual

Privacy: Griswold v. Connecticut 381 U.S. 479 (1965)

Civil Rights Act: Katzenbach v. McClung 379 U.S. 641 (1966)

Racial discrimination: Loving v. Virginia 388 U.S. 1 (1967)

Students' rights: Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District 393 U.S. 503 (1969)

Sex discrimination: Frontiero v. Richardson 411 U.S. 677 (1973)

Gay rights: Bowers v. Hardwick 478 U.S. 186 (1986)

Criminal Justice

Drug Laws: Webb v. US 249 U.S. 96 (1919)

Capital punishment: Gregg v. Georgia 428 U.S. 153 (1976)

Defendant's rights: Gideon v. Wainwright 372 U.S. 335 (1963); Miranda v. Arizona 384 U.S. 436 (1966)

The way you should go about completing this project is as follows:

1) Before you come to class for meeting #6, pick one of the cases listed above and find out about it. There is no libguide for this course, here are some good legal reference books:

Gary Hartman, Roy Mersky and Cindy Tate, Landmark Supreme Court Cases

John W. Johnson, Historic U.S. Court Cases: An Encyclopedia

Kermit L. Hall, ed., The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the Unites States

The Oxford Companion to American Law

Mark Mikula and L. Mpho Mabunda, Great American Court Cases.

Paul Finkelman and Melvin Urofsky, Landmark Decisions of the US Supreme Court

Check bibliographies at the end of your entry for books we have in the Library. Check out the opinion on one of the many web sites available. Read at least the synopsis or summary of the opinion. Below is a list of good web sites.






2) Review the relevant section of Friedman's Law in America. This also should be done by class #6

3) Consider the historical context. You may use the textbook from your high school US history course, or reference books in the library. If you don't already know how, talk to me about how to use the library's card catalogue (biblion) or libguides.

4) Write a 3-4 page paper (750-1,000 words) in which you explain how well the decision in your case supports Friedman's contention about the law in America. To do this you will have to talk about the specifics of the case, but be sure that your discussion is framed around making connections between your case, other relevant decisions made by the Court, and "what is going on in American society in general." For that last part, you can rely on your knowledge of US History, supplemented by what you know from Friedman and from other reading and research that you might do.

The paper is due during class meeting #7 in the classroom. There will be no class meeting that day.

Use footnotes and include a bibliography at the end of the paper. Use Chicago Manual of Style formatting (the link only works if you are on the Academy server).

See my Paper-Writing Guide for insight into what I look for in a history paper.

Your heading should include name, format, word count.