HISTORY 277 SYLLABUS:
LAW AND AMERICAN HISTORY
SPRING 2004

Cynthia Cumfer (I go by Cindy)
Office: Library 394 (the far south end of the new wing)
Office Hours: by appointment. I have an open-door policy. If you see me in, please feel free to stop by without an appointment.
(503) 771-1112, x7332
cynthia.cumfer@reed.edu

COURSE DESCRIPTION

What is law? Who creates law? What causes law to change? Does the American legal system reinforce or challenge societal power structures? What is the relationship between law and culture?

These are historical as well as legal questions. In this conference, we will examine the development of customary, common, positive, judicial and federal and state constitutional law in the United States from the American Revolution until the present. Conference participants will explore the role of customary and English common law and the development of an American doctrine of Constitutional law in the new republic. We will analyze the growth of the legal profession and changing ideas about the role of law in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Conference readings will consider the evolution of legal doctrines about property, corporations, employment, personal injury, and criminal law. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between economics and the law; to unwritten law; and to laws affecting those marginalized in the political process--native Americans, women, and racial, religious and sexual minorities. In addition to historical texts, we will read legal cases and will examine several famous trials.

You will engage in the historical inquiry by in-class discussion and analysis and by writing two papers. The first paper of 6 to 8 pages will be an analysis of a topic related to our class readings. The second paper of 12 to 14 pages will be a historiographic or a research paper on a topic raised by our readings or class discussion. You will discuss the challenges and findings of your second paper with the class during the final weeks. In lieu of the second paper, you have the option of writing short weekly reflection papers on topics you choose related to the weekly readings.

REQUIRED TEXTS

Nancy F. Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge, 2000)
Kermit L. Hall, The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (New York, 1989)
Hendrik Hartog and William E. Nelson, eds., Law as Culture and Culture as Law: Essays in Honor of John Phillip Reid (Madison, 2000)
Morton J. Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860 (Cambridge, 1977)
Morton J. Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1870-1960 (New York, 1992)
Darnell M. Hunt, O.J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction of Reality (Cambridge, 1999)
Buckner F. Melton, Jr., Aaron Burr: Conspiracy to Treason (New York, 2002)
Jeffrey P. Moran, The Scopes Trial: A Brief History with Documents (Boston, 2002)
Christopher L. Tomlins, Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic (Cambridge, 1993)

All required readings are on library reserve. All required journal articles and law review articles are also on e-reserve. If the bookstore does not have enough copies of a required text, you should check amazon.com.

For general background on the law and American history, consult the following:

Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States (2nd ed., New York, 2002), Volumes I and II
Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law (2nd ed., New York, 1985)
___, American Law in the 20th Century (New Haven, 2002)
Lawrence M. Friedman and Harry N. Scheiber, American Law and Constitutional Order: Historical Perspectives (Cambridge, 1988)
Michael Les Benedict, The Blessings of Liberty: A Concise History of the Constitution of the United States (Lexington, 1996)

For an excellent website on famous trials, including the three we examine in this conference, visit: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/ftrials.htm

SCHEDULE OF READINGS AND CLASSES

BACKGROUND AND CONCEPTUALIZATION

January 27: Introduction

January 29: Historiography and Approaches to Legal History

Gerald B. Wetlaufer, "Systems of Belief in Modern American Law: A View from Century's End," 49 Am. U. L. Rev. 1 (October 1999) [read up to "II. Dimensions of Difference"] Pt.1 (pp. 1-24), Pt. 2 (pp. 25-48), Pt.3 (pp. 49-59)

Kermit L. Hall, The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (New York, 1989), 3-8

John T. Noonan, Jr., Persons and Masks of the Law: Cordozo, Holmes, Jefferson, and Wythe as Makers of the Masks (New York, 1976), 3-64

Christopher Tomlins, "Roundtable: Expanding the Boundaries of Legal History," paper at conference for the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, July 16, 1999

Recommended:

Ron Harris, "The Encounters of Economic History and Legal History," Law and History Review, 21 (Summer 2003), 297-346 [available in Lexis-Nexus]
Kimberle Crenshaw, et. al., eds., Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings that Formed the Movement (New York, 1995)
David M. Trubek, "Where the Action Is: Critical Legal Studies and Empiricism," 36 Stan. L. Rev. 575-622 (1984)
James Willard Hurst, Law and Social Process in United States History (Ann Arbor, 1960)
David Sugarman, ed., Law in History: Histories of Law and Society (New York, 1996), Vols. I and II Austin Sarat and Thomas R. Kearns, eds., History, Memory, and the Law (Ann Arbor, 1999)

NATIONAL ORIGINS

February 3: Background and American Revolution

Hall, The Magic Mirror, 9-66

Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (Chapel Hill, 1969), 344-389

February 5: Constitution and Constitutional Law

Hall, The Magic Mirror, 67-86

Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 471-564

Joyce Appleby, "The American Heritage: The Heirs and the Disinherited," in David Thelen, The Constitution and American Life (Ithaca, 1988), 138-153

February 10: The Meaning of Nationhood: The Aaron Burr Trial

Buckner F. Melton, Jr., Aaron Burr: Conspiracy to Treason (New York, 2002) [to be read in groups]

Recommended:

Peter Charles Hoffer, Law and People in Colonial America (Baltimore, 1992)
Christopher L. Tomlins and Bruce H. Mann, eds., The Many Legalities of Early America (Chapel Hill, 2001)
Pauline Maier, American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence (New York, 1997)
Hendrik Hartog, ed., Law in the American Revolution and the Revolution in the Law: A Collection of Review Essays on American Legal History (New York, 1981)
John Phillip Reid, Constitutional History of the American Revolution: The Authority of Rights (Madison, 1986)
Marc W. Kruman, Between Authority & Liberty: State-Constitution Making in Revolutionary America (Chapel Hill, 1997)
Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (New York, 1996)
Michael Kammen, A Machine that Would Go of Itself: The Constitution in American Culture (New York, 1994)
Paul Finkelman, Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson (2nd ed., New York, 2001)
Peter S. Onuf, The Origins of the Federal Republic: Jurisdictional Controversies in the United States (Philadelphia, 1983)
Robert J. Haws, ed., The South's Role in the Creation of the Bill of Rights (Jackson, 1991)
R. Kent Newmyer, John Marshall and the Heroic Age of the Supreme Court (Baton Rouge, 2001)
___, Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story: Statesman of the Old Republic (Chapel Hill, 1985)

ANTEBELLUM AMERICA

SOURCES OF THE LAW

February 12: Customary Law

Stephen Aron, How the West Was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay (Baltimore, 1996), 102-123

Barnet's Lessee v. Russel, 2 Tenn. (Overton) 10 (1808)

Hendrik Hartog, "Pigs and Positivism," 1985 Wisc. L. Rev., 899-935

John Phillip Reid, Policing the Elephant: Crime, Punishment, and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail (San Marino, 1997), 91-132, 157-170

February 17: Common Law

Hall, Magic Mirror, 106-128

William E. Nelson, Americanization of the Common Law: The Impact of Legal Change on Massachusetts Society, 1760-1830 (Cambridge, 1975), 88-136

Morton J. Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860 (Cambridge, 1977), 1-62

February 19: Common Law

Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 62-108, 160-210

David Sugarman, "Review Essays: M.J. Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860," in David Sugarman, ed., Law in History: Histories of Law and Society (New York, 1996), Vol. I, 137-150

February 24: Statutory Law

Hall, Magic Mirror, 87-105

William J. Novak, The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill, 1996), 1-82

February 26: State and Federal Constitutionalism and Natural and Higher Law

Laura J. Scalia, America's Jeffersonian Experiment: Remaking State Constitutions, 1820-1850 (DeKalb, 1999), 23-25, 48-95

Tennessee Constitution of 1796, Articles X, section 4 and XI [on reserve]

Christian G. Fritz, "A Constitutional Middle-Ground between Revision and Revolution: A Reevaluation of the Nullification Crisis and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions through the Lens of Popular Sovereignty," in Hendrik Hartog and William E. Nelson, eds., Law as Culture and Culture as Law: Essays in Honor of John Phillip Reid (Madison, 2000), 158-226

"Appeal to Southern Women," in Ruth Barnes Moynihan, Cynthia Russett, & Laurie Crumpacker, Second to None: A Documentary History of American Women (Lincoln, 1993), Vol. I, 323-325

Recommended:

Alan Taylor, Liberty Men and Great Proprietors: The Revolutionary Settlement on the Maine Frontier, 1760-1820 (Chapel Hill, 1990)
Everett Dick, The Lure of the Land: A Social History of the Public Lands from the Articles of Confederation to the New Deal (Lincoln, 1970)
John Phillip Reid, Law for the Elephant: Property and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail (San Marino, 1980)
Charles S. Sydnor, "The Southerner and the Laws," Journal of Social History 6, (February 1940), 3-23
James Willard Hurst, Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth-Century United States (Madison, 1956)
Norman F. Cantor, Imagining the Law: Common Law and the Foundations of the American Legal System (New York, 1997)
Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau, Federal Courts in the Early Republic Kentucky, 1789-1816 (Princeton, 1978)
Gregory S. Alexander, Commodity and Propriety: Competing Visions of Property in American Legal Thought, 1776-1970 (Chicago, 1997)
Gary T. Schwartz, "Tort Law and the Economy in Nineteenth-Century America: A Reinterpretation," 90 Yale L. J. 1717 (1981)
___, "The Character of Early American Tort Law," 36 UCLA L. Rev. 641 (1989) [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Hildegard Binder Johnson, Order Upon the Land: The U.S. Rectangular Land Survey and the Upper Mississippi Country (New York, 1976)
Mark F. Fernandez, From Chaos to Continuity: The Evolution of Louisiana's Judicial System, 1712-1862 (Baton Rouge, 2001)
Stanley I. Kutler, Privilege and Creative Destruction: The Charles River Bridge Case (Philadelphia, 1971)
James Henretta, "Foreward: Rethinking the State Constitutional Tradition," 22 Rutgers L. J. 815 (1991)
Christian Fritz, "The American Constitutional Tradition Revisited: Preliminary Observations on State Constitution-Making in the Nineteenth Century West," 25 Rutgers L. J. 945 (1994) [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Fletcher M. Green, Constitutional Development in the South Atlantic States, 1776-1860: A Study in the Evolution of Democracy (New York, 1966)
Paul Finkelman and Stephen E. Gottlieb, eds., Toward A Usable Past: Liberty Under State Constitutions (Athens, 1991)
Tim Alan Garrison, "Beyond Worcester: The Alabama Supreme Court and the Sovereignty of the Creek Nation," Journal of the Early Republic, 19 (Fall 1999), 423-450
Michael Warner, The Letters of the Republic: Publication and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century America (Cambridge, 1990), 97-117

MARGINALIZED CONSTITUENCIES: DISTINCTIONS OF RACE, GENDER AND CLASS

March 2: Native Americans

Albert L. Hurtado and Peter Iverson, eds., Major Problems in American Indian History (Lexington, 1994), 207-211

Worcester v. Georgia, 31 US 515 (1832) [excerpts on library reserve]

Joseph C. Burke, "The Cherokee Cases: A Study in Law, Politics, and Morality," in John R. Wunder, ed., Native American Law and Colonialism Before 1776 to 1903 (New York, 1996), 136-168

Deborah A. Rosen, "Acoma v. Laguna and the Transition from Spanish Colonial Law to American Civil Procedure in New Mexico," Law and History Review, 19 (Fall 2001), 513-546 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]

March 4: Slavery [FIRST PAPER DUE]

Hall, Magic Mirror, 129-142

Thomas D. Morris, Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 (Chapel Hill, 1996), 17-57

State v. Mann, 2 Dev. (N.C.) 263 (1829) and Souther v. Commonwealth, 7 Gratt. (Va.) 672 (1851), in Kermit Hall, William M. Wiecek, and Paul Finkelman, eds., American Legal History: Cases and Materials (New York, 2nd ed., 1996), 192-196

Sally E. Hadden, Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas (Cambridge, 2001), 105-136

Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), in Hall, et. al., eds., American Legal History, 207-212

March 9: Domestic Relations

Hall, Magic Mirror, 150-167

Nancy F. Cott, Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Cambridge, 2000), 1-76

Hendrik Hartog, Man and Wife in America: A History (Cambridge, 2000), 40-62

March 11: Workers

Christopher L. Tomlins, Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic (Cambridge, 1993), xi-xvi, 1-16, 128-179, 259-292

March 23: Criminals

Hall, Magic Mirror, 168-178

John Phillip Reid, Patterns of Vengeance: Crosscultural Homicide in the North American Fur Trade (Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, 1999), 23-38, 75-117, 168-203

Recommended:

Michael Grossberg, Governing the Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century America (Chapel Hill, 1985)
Marylynn Salmon, Women and the Law of Property in Early America (Chapel Hill, 1986)
Mark V. Tushnet, The American Law of Slavery, 1810-1860 (Princeton, 1981)
Ariela J. Gross, Double Character: Slavery and Mastery in the Antebellum Southern Courtroom (Princeton, 2000)
Paul Finkelman, Dred Scott v. Sandford: A Brief History with Documents (Boston, 1997)
Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (Lincoln, 1984), Vol. I
Karen Orren, Belated Feudalism: Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States (Cambridge, 1991)
John Fabian Witt, "Rethinking the Nineteenth-Century Employment Contract, Again," Law and History Review, 18 (Fall 2000), 627-657 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Edward L. Ayers, Vengeance & Justice: Crime and Punishment in the 19th-Century American South (New York, 1984)

THE CIVIL WAR AND THE PROGRESSIVE ERA (1860-1917)

March 25: Background and Legal Philosophy

Hall, Magic Mirror, 189-246

Morton J. Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1870-1960 (New York, 1992), 3-63

March 30: The State and the Economy [PROSPECTUS AND BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR SECOND PAPER DUE]

The Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1873) and Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), in Hall, et. al., eds., American Legal History, 236-240, 388-392

William E. Nelson, The Roots of American Bureaucracy, 1830-1900 (Cambridge, 1982), 113-114, 133-155

Gregory S. Alexander, Commodity and Propriety: Competing Visions of Property in American Legal Thought, 1776-1970 (Chicago, 1997), 248-276

Michael Les Benedict, "Law and Regulation in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era," in Hartog and Nelson, eds., Law as Culture and Culture as Law, 227-263

April 1: Marginalized Constituents

Hall, Magic Mirror, 143-149, 178-188

Eric Foner, "Rights and the Constitution in Black Life during the Civil War and Reconstruction," in Thelen, ed., The Constitution and American Life, 203-223

Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896), Hall, et. al., eds., American Legal History, 250-254

Ellen DuBois, "Outgrowing the Compact of the Fathers: Equal Rights, Woman Suffrage, and the United States Constitution, 1820-1878," in Thelen, ed., The Constitution and American Life, 176-202

Cott, Public Vows, 77-131

Recommended:

"Forum: Once More Unto the Breach: Late Nineteenth-Century Jurisprudence Revisited," Law and History Review, 20 (Fall 2002), 541-641 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Bruce A. Kimball, "'Warn Students that I Entertain Heretical Opinions, Which They Are Not to Take as Law': The Inception of Case Method Teaching in the Classrooms of the Early C.C. Langdell, 1870-1883," Law and History Review, 17 (Spring 1999), 57-140 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
William K. Wyant, Westward in Eden: The Public Lands and the Conservation Movement (Berkeley, 1982)
James W. Ely, Jr., Railroads and American Law (Lawrence, 2001)
William J. Novak, The Legal Origins of the Modern American State: ABF Working Paper #9925 (Chicago, 1999)
Barbara Young Welke, Recasting American Liberty: Gender, Race, Law, and the Railroad Revolution, 1865-1920 (Cambridge, 2001)
Laura F. Edwards, "'The Marriage Covenant is at the Foundation of All Our Rights': The Politics of Slave Marriages in North Carolina after Emancipation," Law and History Review, 14 (Spring 1996), 81-124 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (3rd rev. ed., New York, 1974)
Elizabeth Dale, The Rule of Justice: The People of Chicago v. Zephyr Davis (Columbus, 2001)
Richard P. Cole and Gabriel J. Chin, "Emerging from the Margins of Historical Consciousness: Chinese Immigrants and the History of American Law," Law and History Review 17 (Summer, 1999), 325-364 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Michael Willrich, "The Two Percent Solution: Eugenic Jurisprudence and the Socialization of American Law, 1900-1930," Law and History Review, 16 (Spring 1998), 63-112 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Annette Gordon-Reed, ed., Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (New York, 2002)

MODERNITY IN THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY (1917-1945)

April 6: Background and Legal Philosophy

Hall, Magic Mirror, 247-266

Horwitz, Transformation of American Law, 169-233

April 8: The Economy

William E. Nelson, "Government Power as a Tool for Redistributing Wealth in Twentieth-Century New York," in Hartog and Nelson, Law as Culture and Culture as Law, 322-442

Hall, Magic Mirror, 271-285

April 13: Marginalized Constituents

Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (Lincoln, abridged ed., 1984), 311-339

Mae M. Ngai, "The Strange Career of the Illegal Alien: Immigration Restriction and Deportation Policy in the United States, 1921-1965," Law and History Review, 21 (Spring 2003), 69-107 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]

Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944), in Hall, et. al., eds., American Legal History, 430-436

Cott, Public Vows, 156-179

April 15: Conflicts over Modernity: The Scopes Trial

Jeffrey P. Moran, The Scopes Trial: A Brief History with Documents (Boston, 2002)

Recommended:

Roscoe Pound, The Spirit of the Common Law (Boston, 1921)
Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (Lincoln, 1984), Vol. II
David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin, 1987)
Earl Lewis and Heidi Ardizzone, Love on Trial: An American Scandal in Black and White (New York, 2001)
Linda K. Kerber, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (New York, 1998)
Norris Hundley, The Great Thirst: Californians and Water, 1770s-1990s (Berkeley, rev., 2001)
Char Miller, ed., Fluid Arguments: Five Centuries of Western Water Conflict (Tuscon, 2001)
The World's Most Famous Court Trial: Tennessee Evolution Case (Cincinnati, 1925)
Paul K. Conkin, When All the Gods Trembled: Darwinism, Scopes, and American Intellectuals (Lanham, 1998)
Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (New York, 1997)

LAW AND CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY

April 20: The Rights Discourse

Hall, Magic Mirror, 286-332

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), in Hall, et. al. eds., American Legal History, 510-513

Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States, Volume II: From 1877 to the Present (New York, 2002), 895-945

April 22: Issues Raised by the Rights Discourse

Urofsky and Finkelman, A March of Liberty, 946-973

G. Alan Tarr, "Constitutional Theory and State Constitutional Interpretation," 22 Rutgers L. J. 841 (1991)

Cott, Public Vows, 200-227

Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. __ (2003) [on library reserve]

Thomas L. Haskell, "The Curious Persistence of Rights Talk in the 'Age of Interpretation'," in Thelen, The Constitution and American Life, 324-352

SYNTHESIS

April 27: The Trial as a Site for the Construction of Knowledge: Race, Gender and Rights in the O.J. Simpson Case

Darnell M. Hunt, O.J. Simpson Facts and Fictions: News Rituals in the Construction of Reality (Cambridge, 1999), 1-84, 249-274

April 29: Synthesis

Review the materials we covered in this conference, particularly those assigned on January 29.

Recommended:

Hartog, Man and Wife in America, 295-308
"Forum: Whiteness and Others: Mexican Americans and American Law," Law and History Review, 21 (Spring, 2003), 109-213 [Available in Lexis-Nexis]
Stanton Lynd, "The Genesis of the Idea of a Community Right to Industrial Property in Youngstown and Pittsburgh, 1977-1987," in Thelen, The Constitution and American Life, 266-298
Martha Minow, "We, the Family: Constitutional Rights and American Families," in Thelen, The Constitution and American Life, 299-323
Shoshana Felman, "Forms of Judicial Blindness: Traumatic Narratives and Legal Repetitions," in Sarat and Kearns, eds., History, Memory, and the Law, 25-93

FINAL PAPER DUE: MONDAY, MAY 10 AT HIGH NOON.


Maintained by: library-www@reed.edu
Last updated: 3 February 2004