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Spring 2025 Seminar

Constitutions, Law, and Empire

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

What is a Constitution? Why, and under what circumstances, do people make them? What about the United States and its written constitution: Exactly when and how was it made? This seminar will consider these and other questions as we read literature on constitutional developments in the British Empire, with a focus on settler constitutionalism in North America, the constitutional origins of the American Revolution, the development of state constitutions and the Federal Constitution, the law of nations (international law) with respect to slavery, colonization, and territorial expansion, Manifest Destiny, and the crisis of constitutionalism and law that led to the American Civil War.

Note: This course is jointly listed with FAS as HIST 2445.