American Legal History

B659 is taught by S. Conrad

Rather than any sort of survey or general overview, a sampling of scholarship in American legal history is what this course offers. The sampling will, however, touch on all four centuries of American legal history, and will attend to a wide range of areas of substantive law: property, contracts, torts; and administrative, criminal, family, and corporate law. The writing assignments will require analysis and evaluation of our authors strategies of argumentation. And those writing assignments will be blindly graded. Moreover, students will be required to revise some of the writing assignments in accord with feedback given in the initial blind grading. Generally, the course will consider how law itself changes, and how law has mattered or not in social and political change. Many questions addressed should ring familiar, from reading that students have done in the notes and other supplementary materials found in standard casebooks that seek to give historical perspectives on doctrinal change. But in this course, without any need to cover doctrine, there is an opportunity to pursue historical perspectives at length, and wherever the students interests lead. Roundtable discussion is very important in the weekly proceedings and the final grading in this course.