KC Johnson

US Constitutional History (Summer 2020) (Section 2)

History 7448

American Constitutional History

This course explores American constitutional history from the Revolutionary Era to the present day. It will be taught partly synchronously–in two groups, during the Monday timeslot–and partly asynchronously.


  • Research Paper (40%)
  • Participation (30%)
  • Review Summaries & Case Readings (20%)
  • Asynchronous Lecture Questions/Reactions (10%)

Required Books:


July 13. Foundations

July 15 (asynchronous): Slavery, Expansion, and the Crisis of the Constitution

July 20. Reconstruction & the Gilded Age

  1. U.S. v. Cruikshank: Alex Rivers
  2. Civil Rights Cases: Seth Montag
  3. Bradwell v. The State: Sharon Davis
  4. Yick Wo v. Hopkins: Andrew Clarke

July 22 (asynchronous): The Progressive Constitution

July 27: FDR & Civil Rights


  1. Korematsu v. United States: Natalee Johnson
  2. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: Olivia Rizzo
  3. Meyer v. Nebraska: Malak Allan
  4. Adkins v. Children’s Hospital: Moshe Lach

July 29 (asynchronous): The Cold War & the Constitution

August 3: Civil Rights & the Constitution

(Olivia Rizzo) Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights


  1. Sweatt v. Painter: Alex Rivers
  2. Smith v. Allwright: Seth Montag
  3. Reitman v. Mulkey: Sharon Davis
  4. Milliken v. Bradley: Andrew Clarke

August 5 (asynchronous): Political Scandal & the Constitution

August 10: Battles over the Court


  1. Bethel School District v. Fraser: Natalee Johnson
  2. Morrison v. Olson: Olivia Rizzo
  3. Planned Parenthood v. Casey: Malak Allan
  4. Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Peña: Moshe Lach

August 12 (asynchronous): Gay Rights & the Constitution

August 17. The Modern Era


  1. Olivia: Kelly v. United States
  2. Natalee: Chiafalo v. Washington
  3. Moshe: Trump v. Mazars USA
  4. Seth: June Medical Services v. Russo
  5. Sharon: Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey
  6. Alex: NYState Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. City of New York

August 21. Final Papers Due by 11.59pm

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