HIST 1907W
3 credits/Fall 2003
F 12:20-2:15
Blegen Hall 125

Professor Barbara Welke
752 Social Sciences Tower
Office Hours:
T/Th. 2:15-3:30 p.m.
tel: (612) 624-7017


The Fourteenth Amendment and the Rights Revolution

Syllabus | Schedule | Assignments | Internet Resources

 Lecture and Reading Schedule

Sept. 5 Introduction to course, to each other

In-Class Web Links: U. S. Constitution

For all future references to the U.S. Constitution and Amendments refer back to this link.

Sept. 12 The Constitution, the States, and the Nation Before the Civil War

1. Alexis De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Book I, “Necessity of Examining the Condition of the States Before That of the Union At Large,” pp. 59-60. (CP Doc 1)
2. In Re Booth and Rycraft, 3 Wis. 157 (1854).

Due: Introductory Writing Assignment

Sept. 19 Civil War and Reconstruction


1. The Emancipation Proclamation (1863)
2. 13th & 14th Amendments
3. Black Codes of Mississippi (CP Doc 2)
4. Scott v. Sandford, 60 U. S. (19 How.) 393 (1857).
5. The Civil Rights Act of 1866
6. President Andrew Johnson’s Veto of the Civil Rights Act
7. Congressional Debate of the 14th Amendment, 1866 (CP Doc 3)

Informal Writing Assignment: I will assign each student to read one document for the week closely. It will be the basis for your writing assignment on the following question. How does the document(s) you've read for this week inform the need for and/or meaning of the 14th Amendment? (You should also be prepared to fully explain your document to the class)

Due: Case Choices for Research Paper (See Cases in Context link on Assignment page)

Sept. 26 Debate: The Fourteenth Amendment - Revolution in Federal Civil Rights or Rebirth of Federalism

1. Robert J. Kaczorowski, “ ‘To Begin the Nation Anew: Congress, Citizenship, and Civil Rights after the Civil War,” American Historical Review 92 (Feb. 1987): 45-68.(CP Doc 4), or
2. Michael Les Benedict, “Preserving Federalism: Reconstruction and the Waite Court,” Supreme Court Review (1978): 39-79. (CP Doc 5); and

3. The Slaughterhouse Cases, 83 U. S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873)

Oct. 3 Library Session – Class will meet in Wilson Library, Room S30b (sub-basement) with Rafael Tarrago for an orientation to the library and the research process.

Oct. 10 The Supreme Court and the 14th Amendment: First Interpretations

1. Bradwell v. Illinois, 16 Wall. (83 U. S.) 130 (1873)
2. Minor v. Happersett, 21 Wall. (88 U. S.) 162 (1875)

3. Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U. S. 537 (1896)

Informal Writing Assignment: (click on this link!)

Additional Materials We'll Be Using in Class (in other words you don't need to read in advance!):

1. Robinson v. The Memphis and Charleston Railroad Company (CP Doc 6)

2. The Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883).

Oct. 17 Freedom of Contract and “Substantive” Due Process

1. Lochner v. New York, 198 U. S. 45 (1905)
2. Brief for Curt Muller in Muller v. Oregon (1907)(CP Doc 7)
3. “Brandeis Brief” (1908)(CP Doc 8)

In-Class Discussion Links:
1. Muller v. Oregon, 208 U. S. 412 (1910)

Informal Writing Assignment: Imagine that you are the Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. You have just reread the Court's opinion in Lochner and the Briefs filed by the parties in Muller v. Oregon. Write a 2-page opinion deciding the Muller case. Remember that your opinion must include your reasoning. Don't read the opinion in Muller! The point of this assignment isn't whether you reach the same conclusion as the court actually reached. Rather, it's a hopefully fun way to think through the issues and evidence before the court. As well as to get you thinking about how earlier cases shape the cases that follow.

Due: Research Paper Intermediate Deadline (See Cases in Context link on Assignment page)

Oct. 31“Equal Protection” and Race: Brown v. Board of Education

1. Kluger, Simple Justice, ch. 1, 8, 13, 15, 21 (pp. 525-40), 22, 23, 25, 26.
2. Horwitz, The Warren Court, “A Note to the Reader,” and ch. 1-2.

Informal Writing Assignment: In Simple Justice, Richard Kluger tells the story behind Brown v. Board of Education. Reading that story, having the case placed in its larger historical context, is critical to our understanding of both the personal cost that lay behind the challenge to segregation and to understanding the magnitude of the Court's decision. I'd like you to use your informal writing assignment this week to explain what you see as the key moments or elements of the history Kluger relates. You should explain why you see these events/elements as most significant and should note as well elements that you see as less important and again explain why. The purpose of this assignment is to give you the opportunity to critically engage with Kluger's narrative and to be thinking about how understanding historical context helps us to place individual cases in a larger framework of U. S. history.

As always, if you have any questions regarding either the assigned reading or the informal writing assignment, please give me a call or send an email.

Please print-off the Brown I decision (linked below) and bring to class with you. We'll read it together in class.

In-Class Discussion Links:
1. The Southern Manifesto (1956)
2. Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954)(Brown I)
3. Brown v. Board of Education, 349 U. S. 294 (1955)(Brown II)

In Class: - Listen to Audio Tape of (edited and narrated) Oral Argument in Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U. S. 1 (1958), from Peter Irons and Stephanie Guitton, May It Please the Court: Transcripts of 23 Live Recordings of Landmark Cases as Argued Before the Supreme Court (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 250-261. (CP Doc 9)

Nov. 7 “Due Process” and Applying the Bill of Rights to the States

1. Horwitz, The Warren Court, pp. 91-98.
2. Anthony Lewis, Gideon’s Trumpet (entire)

Informal Writing Assignment: Your informal writing should include the following three elements:

1. What element of the Bill of Rights did the U. S. Supreme Court apply to the States through the 14th Amendment in Gideon? What does the debate over incorporation of the Bill of Rights through the 14th Amendment suggest about the balance of state and federal power in protecting civil liberties by the 1960s? (The basic debate we've been discussing since the beginning of the term). Can you think of national events from the 1930s on that would have brought the federalism question back to the fore?

2. Your reflections on the Gideon case as portrayed through Anthony Lewis's account.

3. At least three questions from the readings (including at least one from Horwitz) that you would like to discuss in class.

In Class: - Listen to Audio Tape of (edited and narrated) Oral Argument in Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U. S. 335 (1963), from Peter Irons and Stephanie Guitton eds., May It Please the Court: Transcripts of 23 Live Recordings of Landmark Cases As Argued Before the Supreme Court (New York: The New Press, 1993), pp. 185-198. (CP Doc 10)

Nov. 14 “Gideon's Trumpet" starring Henry Fonda

Due: Research Paper "Best" Draft

Nov. 21 Equal Protection and Sex

1. “ ‘Woman is the Center of Home and Family Life’ Gwendolyn Hoyt and Jury Service in the Twentieth Century,” in Linda K. Kerber, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998), pp. 124-220. (CP Doc 11)

Informal Writing Assignment: Why, after women gained the right to vote, did states continue to exclude women from jury service either entirely or by limiting service to those who specially registered to serve? Was the exemption of women from jury service really a privilege? What did it suggest about women's capability and obligations as citizens? How does jury service relate to constitutional rights? How did these issues play out in Hoyt v. Florida, Taylor v. Louisiana and other cases?

In class: Listen to Excerpt from Oral Argument in Hoyt v. Florida before U. S. Supreme Court

Nov. 28 No Class – Thanksgiving

Dec. 5 The 14th Amendment and the Right to Privacy

1. Horwitz, Warren Court, pp. 106-115.
2. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965)(CP Doc 12).
3. Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973).
4. Brief of Professors of History, Amici Curiae Brief in Support of Petitioners in Lawrence v. Texas (skim only).

5. Lawrence v. Texas (June 26, 2003).

Informal Writing Assignment: Your class readings for this week include excerpts from three key Supreme Court decisions in the development of the constitutional "right to privacy" -- Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)(CP Doc 12), Roe v. Wade (1973) and Lawrence v. Texas (2003)(on-line links), as well as the Amici Curiae brief (on-line link) by a group of history professors in Lawrence. Each of these cases involved a state statute prohibiting certain conduct. Please reflect on the following in your writing assignment: (1) What was each state trying to prohibit and why? When were the statutes adopted? Did other states have similar laws? (2) Considering the broader historical context, why did these cases come before the Supreme Court when they did and how do you think that shaped the Supreme Court's decisions? (3) How is "history" important to each case? (4) How does the "right to privacy" itself develop over the course of these three cases? I mean this both in the context of the factual circumstances involved in each case as well as the Court's constitutional interpretation; and (5) in an additional page, reflect on what stands out to you most in what we have discussed this term about the 14th Amendment and its history and why.

In Class: - Listen to Audio Tape of (edited and narrated) Oral Argument in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965), from Peter Irons and Stephanie Guitton eds., May It Please the Court Arguments on Abortion (New York: The New Press, 1995), pp. 1-21. (CP Doc 12)

Dec. 12 In Class Paper Presentations

Due: Final Draft Research Paper

Main | Syllabus | Assignments | Internet Resources | top