KC Johnson

History 3457/CS 3120: Youth, Public Policy, & the Law

This hybrid course–which includes elements of history, public policy, and law–traces the treatment of youth-related issues from the early 20th century until the present day.

All documents and other primary sources will be posted on the course website; articles will be e-mailed.


  • Exams (midterm and final): 55 percent
  • Group presentation: 25 percent
  • Reading-based quizzes (2 lowest grades dropped): 10 percent
  • Participation: 10 percent

My Contact Information:

  • email: kcjohnson9@gmail.com
  • cell: 207-329-8456
  • skype: kcjohnson9
  • office hours: Tuesday/Thursday, 12.30-1.30, Whitehead 502

Lectures and PowerPoints


January 29: The Pre-20th Century Background

January 31: Progressivism

  • Gwendoline Alphonso, “Hearth and Soul: Economics and Culture in Partisan Conceptions of the Family in the Progressive Era, 1900–1920,” Studies in American Political Development
  • Kathleen Sullivan, “Marriage and Federal Police Power,” Studies in American Political Development
  • Chris Guthrie and Joanna L. Grossman, “Adoption in the Progressive Era: Preserving, Creating, and Re-Creating Families,” American Journal of Legal History

February 5: Youth Culture & the 1920s

  • Edward Larson, “An American Tragedy: Retelling the Leopold-Loeb Story in Popular Culture,” American Journal of Legal History
  • J. Lemons, “The Sheppard-Towner Act: Progressivism in the 1920s,” The Journal of American History
  • Michael Pisapia, “The Authority of Women in the Political Development of American Public Education, 1860–1930,” Studies in American Political Development

February 7: The New Deal & the American State

  • Carpenter & Sin, “Policy Tragedy and the Emergence of Regulation: The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938,” Studies in American Political Development
  • Farhang & Katznelson, “The Southern Imposition: Congress and Labor in the New Deal and Fair Deal,” Studies in American Political Development
  • Paula Fass, “Without Design: Education Policy in the New Deal,” American Journal of Education

February 12: No classes—college holiday

February 14: Higher Education, Public Schools, and the Path to Brown

  • Kevin McMahon, “Constitutional Vision and Supreme Court Decisions: Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race,” Studies in American Political Development
  • Michael Klarman, “How Brown Changed Race Relations: The Backlash Thesis,” Journal of American History
  • Joan Malczewski, “’The Schools Lost Their Isolation’: Interest Groups and Institutions in Educational Policy Development in the Jim Crow South,” Journal of Policy History

February 19: Shaping the Next Generation: Cold War Education

  • Bruce Dierenfield, “Secular Schools? Religious Practices in New York and Virginia Public Schools since World War II,” Journal of Policy History
  • Jonathan Herzog, “America’s Spiritual-Industrial Complex and the Policy of Revival in the Early Cold War,” Journal of Policy History

February 21: The Great Society

February 26: Youth Issues and the Warren Court’s Legacy

February 28: The Path to Loving

  • Peggy Pascoe, “Miscegenation Law, Court Cases, and Ideologies of ‘Race’ in Twentieth-Century America”. Journal of American History
  • Gregory Michael Dorr, “Principled Expediency: Eugenics, Naim v. Naim, and the Supreme Court”, American Journal of Legal History

March 5: Daniel Patrick Moynihan: Public Intellectual & Policymaking


March 7: Busing Controversies

  • Mark C. Radhert, “Obstacles and Wrong Turns on the Road From Brown: Milliken v. Bradley and the Quest for Racial Diversity in Education,” Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review
  • James T. Hannon, “The Influence of Catholic Schools on the Desegregation of Public School Systems: A Case Study of White Flight in Boston,” Population Research and Policy Review

March 12: The Path to Roe

  • Linda Greenhouse and Reva Siegel, “Before (and After) Roe v. Wade,” Yale Law Journal
  • Melvin Urofsky, “William O. Douglas as a Common Law Judge,” Duke Law Journal

March 14: Midterm exam

March 19: Wolfe Scholar Event–location TBA

March 21: Conservatives & “Family Values” in the 1970s

  • Kimberly Morgan, “A Child of the Sixties: The Great Society, the New Right, and the Politics of Child Care,” Journal of Policy History
  • Robert Freedman, “The Religious Right and the Carter Administration,” The Historical Journal

Spring Break

April 4: Diversity, Affirmative Action, & the Changing Nature of University Education

  • Guido Calabresi, “Bakke as Pseudo-Tragedy,” Catholic Law Review
  • Lee Epstein and Jack Knight, “Piercing the Veil,” Yale Law and Policy Review

April 9: The Republican Years

  • Susannah Tobin, “Defining Hazelwood,” Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review
  • Neal Devins, “How Planned Parenthood v. Casey (Pretty Much) Settled the Abortion Wars,” Yale Law Journal

April 11: Clinton & Triangulation

April 16: Youth & Public Policy during the Bush Years

April 18: Campus Diversity in the 1990s and Bush Years

  • Kors & Silverglate, Shadow University, intro, chapter one
  • Robert P. George, “Gratz and Grutter: Some Hard Questions,” Columbia Law Review
  • Cass R. Sunstein, “Affirmative Action in Higher Education: Why Grutter Was Correctly Decided ,” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

April 23: Campus Diversity, Due Process, & the Duke Lacrosse Case

April 25: Marriage Equality, Family, & Children as a Political Issue

April 30: Youth & Politics in the Obama Era

May 2: Diversity on Campus in the Obama Era

  • Richard Sander & Stuart Taylor, Mismatch (selections)
  • Greg Lukianoff, Unlearning Liberty (selections)

May 7: Group presentations 1: Moot courts, 4-person teams

  1. Hollingsworth v. Perry
  2. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Actionet alvRegents of the Univ. of Mich., et al.

May 9: Group presentations 2: Moot court, 4-person team; policy recommendations, 5-person team

  1. Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl
  2. school violence

May 14: Group presentations 3: 4-person groups

  1. Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, student loans & federal education policy
  2. due process & student rights on campus

May 16: Review class–Jeopardy!

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