Prof. Christopher Capozzola
MIT Course Number
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This course features archived syllabi from various semesters.
As events of the last few years have shown, the Supreme Court has played a crucial role in American political life. There is practically no issue of social significance in the American past that did not at some point end up in the nation's courtrooms, yet much of the workings of the constitution remain obscure. This subject is designed to introduce students to the main themes and events of American constitutional law since 1787. It introduces terms and concepts of law and legal history, focusing on three recurring themes in American public life: liberty, equality, and property. Readings consist mostly of original court cases, especially from the U.S. Supreme Court, but the focus of the class is on the historical connections between those cases and broader social, political, and cultural trends.