KC Johnson

US Constitutional History (summer 2022)

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 Thursday timeslot–and partly asynchronously.


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

Required Books:


July 14. Foundations

July 19 (asynchronous): Slavery, Expansion, and the Crisis of the Constitution

July 21. Reconstruction & the Gilded Age

  1. U.S. v. Cruikshank:
  2. Civil Rights Cases
  3. Bradwell v. The State:
  4. Yick Wo v. Hopkins:

July 26 (asynchronous): The Progressive Constitution

July 28: FDR & Civil Rights


  1. Korematsu v. United States:
  2. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette:
  3. Meyer v. Nebraska:
  4. Adkins v. Children’s Hospital:

Aug. 2 (asynchronous): The Cold War & the Constitution

August 4: Civil Rights & the Constitution

Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights


  1. Sweatt v. Painter:
  2. Smith v. Allwright
  3. Reitman v. Mulkey:
  4. Milliken v. Bradley: 

August 9 (asynchronous): Political Scandal & the Constitution

August 11: Battles over the Court


  1. Bethel School District v. Fraser:
  2. Morrison v. Olson:
  3. Planned Parenthood v. Casey:
  4. Romer v. Evans:

August 16 (asynchronous): Gay Rights & the Constitution

August 18. The Modern Era

  • Readings TBA


  1. Kelly v. United States
  2. Chiafalo v. Washington
  3. Trump v. Mazars USA
  4. June Medical Services v. Russo
  5. Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey
  6. NYState Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. City of New York
  7. McGirt v. Oklahoma

August 18. Final Papers Due by 11.59pm

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