History 3551

Constitutional History of the United States to 1877

Fall Semester, 2007

T 5-6 periods

Th 6 period

Keene-Flint 105

Please note—this is a Gordon Rule 6 course.


Professor:       Elizabeth Dale

                        352-392-0271 ex. 262





office hours: T: 10 am to 11 am

                      Th: 11:30 to 12:30

                                                       and by appointment                                                   




Required reading:


Jack Rakove,  Original Meanings (Vintage Press, 1997) (ISBN 978-0679781219)

Saul Cornell, A Well Regulated Militia (Oxford U Press, 2006) (ISBN 0-19-514786-3)

Larry Kramer, The People Themselves (Oxford U Press, 2005) (ISBN 978-0195306453)

Austin Allen, The Origins of the Dred Scott Case  (Georgia UPress 2006) (ISBN 0-8203-2842-3)


The books have been ordered through Goerings Book Store. You may also order them on Amazon.com.


Also required: on-line readings from http://plaza.ufl.edu/edale





Class participation, worth 25% of your grade

1 case analysis (approx 3000 words), topic to be assigned, due on date indicated below, worth 25% of grade

1 book analysis (approx 3000 words), topic to be assigned, due on date indicated below, worth 25% of grade

Take home final (one 5-7 page essay), due on date indicated below, worth 25% of grade


All papers are due on the date set, at the start of class. Any paper turned in the day of the assignment after class will be marked down half a grade. Any paper turned in the day after it is due will be marked down a full grade; any paper turned in two days late will be marked down two full grades. Any paper turned in three days late will automatically receive an F. For purposes of this rule, weekends will be counted.


Students are expected to attend regularly, come to class on time, and to have read the material for the day prior to class.  Lectures, discussions, and assignments are intended to teach you the materials and skills you will need to do the assignments, and there is a close correlation between attendance, participation, and grades. Your class participation grade requires you to attend AND participate.





Week 1:

            Thursday: introduction to course


Week 2:

            Tuesday: Magna Carta and discussion of constitutional law

            Thursday: Charter of Massachusetts Bay, 1629, Sermon on the Arbella



Week 3:

            Tuesday: Laws and Liberties

            Thursday: Declaration of Independence



Week 4

            Tuesday: Constitution of Delaware (1776); Constitution of South Carolina (1776); Articles of Confederation (1781)

            Thursday: United States Constitution


Week 5

            Tuesday: Rakove, Original Meanings

            Thursday:  Marbury v. Madison (1803)


Week 6

            Tuesday: Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), Virginia Resolution, Kentucky Resolution          

Thursday: Rhode Island Reaction to the Virginia Resolutions, New Hampshire Resolution on the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions;



Week 7:

            Tuesday: Kramer, People Themselves

***First Assignment***

            Thursday: Report and Resolutions of the Hartford Convention (1815); South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification (1832); President Jackson’s Proclamation on Nullification (1833); South Carolina’s Reply to Jackson’s Proclamation on Nullification,




Week 8:

Tuesday: Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842)

Thursday: Prigg, continued; Fugitive Slave Law (1850)



Week 9:

            Tuesday: State of Georgia’s Platform on the Compromise of 1850; Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)

***First Assignment Due***

            Thursday: Allen, Origins of the Dred Scott Case



Week 10:

            Tuesday: Scott v. Sandford (Dred Scott case) (Taney opinion); Scott v. Sandford (Dred Scott case) (Curtis dissent)

            Thursday: Abelman v. Booth



Week 11:

            Tuesday: Statement of Secession, South Carolina, Statement of Secession, Georgia, Recommendation for the Secession of New York City

            Thursday: Cornell, A Well Regulated Militia


Week 12:

            Tuesday: Constitution of the Confederate States of America

***Second Assignment***

            Thursday: Emancipation Proclamation, Illinois Reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation, Popular response to the Emancipation Proclamation



Week 13:

            Tuesday:Civil Rights Act of 1866, Thirteenth, Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution

            Thursday:  Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteen Amendments, con’t


Week 14:

            Tuesday: Reaction to Presidential Reconstruction,  Reaction to Congressional Reconstruction; Civil Rights Act of 1875

***book assignment due***

            Thursday: no class – Thanksgiving break

Week 15:

            Tuesday: Slaughterhouse Cases

***Final exam handed out***

            Thursday:  Munn v. Illinois

Week 16:

            Tuesday:        last class

Civil Rights Cases


Finals week:

            Friday, Dec. 14: finals are due in my office (234 Keene-Flint) by noon