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Spring 2022 Seminar

Reconstruction Originalism

Prerequisite: None

Exam Type: No Exam

Reconstruction was America’s second founding, and yet its most important ideals are lost to modern American courts.

In this seminar, we will focus exclusively on the period 1865 through 1896, and dive deep into that history to understand what the Reconstruction Americans meant to their founders. The ultimate question of the course will be: How should an originalist read the 13th/14th/15th amendments, and the Civil Rights Act of 1866/70, and other enforcement measures?

The course will cover lots of reading, and each week, you will write a short (500 word) essay about that reading. There will be a final paper. Your grade will depend in part on class participation.