KC Johnson

American Constitutional History (fall 2017)

History 7448

American Constitutional History

Tuesdays at 5.30pm

This course explores American constitutional history from the Revolutionary Era to the present day.


  • Research Paper (50%)
  • Participation (30%)
  • Review Summaries & Case Readings (20%)

Required Books:


August 29. From the Revolution to the Constitution

September 5. Constitutional Debates

  1. Military Power: Brutus No. 8; Federalist No. 8 (Roderick Wells)
  2. Nature of Senate: Brutus No. 16; Federalist No. 62 (Marina Robinson)

September 12. Slavery & the Congressional Era

September 26. Reconstruction

  1. U.S. v. Cruikshank: Jean Lee
  2. Civil Rights Cases: Francisco Manitas

October 10. The Gilded Age & the American State

  1. Bradwell v. The State: Javier Madina
  2. Yick Wo v. Hopkins: Michael Persaud

October 17. The Progressive Constitution


  1. Meyer v. Nebraska: Howard Zisser
  2. Adkins v. Children’s Hospital: Steven Goldberg

October 24. FDR & Civil Rights


  1. Korematsu v. United States: Lawrence Bosket
  2. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: Christopher Furnari

October 31: Civil Rights & the Constitution

(Lydia Chais) Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights

November 7. Constitutional Liberalism


  1. Reitman v. MulkeyFrancisco Manitas
  2. Milliken v. Bradley: Lydia Chais

November 14. Transitions


  1. Bethel School District v. FraserHoward Zisser
  2. Morrison v. Olson: Steven Goldberg

November 28. Gay Rights & the Constitution


  1. Windsor v. United States: Shumaila Nassir
  2. Lofton v. Sec’y of Department of Children and Family Services: Raphael Nelson

December 5. The Roberts Era


  1. District of Columbia v. HellerJohn Kim
  2. NFIB v. SebeliusCarlos Santiago

December 12. Reading Day

December 23. Final Papers Due by 11.59pm

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