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2012-2013 Course Catalog

HIST 561 U.S. Constitutional History

3 hours


An intensive study of the origins and development of key principles and practices of constitutional democracy in the United States. Teaching with core texts and primary documents is emphasized. A substantial amount of each class session will involve class discussion focusing on United States Supreme Court decisions assigned by the instructor. The course will examine the origins of the U.S. Constitution, its development since 1787, its stature as the "supreme law of the land," the meaning of the separation of powers inherent in the U.S. federal system, how the Supreme Court became the "final arbiter" of constitutional meaning, the manner in which constitutional issues are presented to the courts for adjudication and the juridical techniques used by the courts to decide issues.

Prerequisite(s): HIST 501 Fundamentals of American History I and HIST 502 Fundamentals of American History II.