Law Course Catalog

7914. American Slavery and American Law: The Legal Origins of Racism in America

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Concentrating on the period from the adoption of the Constitution through the end of Reconstruction in l877, this course is about law in action (thus the meaning of law) --how lawyers, judges, and legislators created a system of law based on race that enslaved millions -- and then attempted to dismantle the system they created. The slavery provisions in the Constitution, along with leading state and national judicial decisions concerning slavery are located in the context of history. The course also considers resistance to slave law on the part of slaves. Some attention is given to the Civil War Amendments (13, 14, 15) and why they failed to deliver meaningful freedom Black Americans.