Prerequisite: At least one semester of U.S. History
This semester-long course offers an analysis of the history and uses of the U.S. Constitution, and the way it has been interpreted by the Supreme Court. We will consider the ideology behind the construction of the document and the varying historical contexts in which constitutional principles have been applied. By looking at certain landmark cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson, Roe v. Wade, Brown v. Board of Education, Schenck v. United States, Miranda v. Arizona, and Citizens United v. FEC, students will be asked to think about the various ways the Constitution has been “translated” by the Court into the everyday lives of Americans, particularly working people, women, and people of color who may or may not see their interests reflected in the language of the original document. The class will also discuss the tension between individual and collective rights and the ways in which the Constitution has been modified over the past 200 years.