553: Unit 1

History 553: Law & American Society, Spring 2018


Intro | 1 | 2 | 3

1. Introduction to the Course

2. Law in America

Friedman, 3-19; newspaper assignment (see below)

Friedman's introduction identifies several characteristics of American law, including two central concepts: federalism and judicial review. He also argues that law mirrors American society, reflecting its "structure of power " as well as its "ideas and values." Circle key terms as you read. After you've finished reading, look over this list and see how many terms you can identify. Newspaper assignment: Spend an hour going through the New York Times over the past week and find a story illustrating either federalism or judicial review, and another demonstrating that law mirrors American society.

3. Law in the 19th Century

Friedman, 37-72

How did developments in the law concerning the economy, family, and race in the 19th century demonstrate that "American law is a reflection of what goes on in American society in general"? Key Terms.

4. Crime and Punishment in the Republic

Friedman, 75-80; 91-119; In the My Assignments tab, find Paper #1 for this class. Print out and bring to class.

In what ways has the American approach to criminal justice changed from the colonial period to the 19th century? from the 19th century to the 20th? in the last half century? Key Terms.

5. The Modern State and the Law

Friedman, 125-129; 134-157; 172 (top)-183; select case to research from library project assignment

How has the growth of the administrative-welfare state in the 20th century affected the development of the law? how has the civil rights movement? What are the most important trends in American law at the turn of the 21st century? Key Terms.

6. Paper research

Homework: Research your chosen case in the library. During class, we will meet in the Library and you will continue working on research on your case. Key Terms.

7. Essay due/ no class

Intro | 1 | 2 | 3