Law 6936,  Spring 2002

Civil Liberties in Times of War and Trouble

Professor Elizabeth Dale

© Elizabeth Dale 2002


Class time: 9:10-11:20, Wednesday

Room: 350 Holland Hall

Office hours

            T:8:00-10:15 (at 234 Keene-Flint, on main campus)

            W: 8:15-9:10 (in Room 350 Holland Hall)

            Th: 8:00-10:15 (at 234 Keene-Flint, on main campus)

            F: 8:00-noon (at 234 Keene Flint, on main campus)

(Note: I may have meetings, etc on Friday, to make sure I will be at my office that morning, please call or email in advance)

Office: 234 Keene-Flint



Assigned books:


Michael Kent Curtis, Free Speech: The People’s Darling Privilege (Duke 2000)

Mark Neely, The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War (Oxford, 1992)

Richard Polenberg, Fighting Faiths: The Abrams Case, the Supreme Court, and Free Speech (Cornell, 1999)

Peter Irons, Justice at War (California, 1993)

Mary L. Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights (Princeton 2000)


Other assigned materials will be linked to this syllabus, unless noted below.



Class participation                                         worth 10% of grade

Draft final paper, and presentation               worth 40% of grade

Final paper                                                     worth 50% of grade

Your final paper is to be roughly 15-20 pages long, except for students who are doing this for their senior paper. Their papers must be between 20-25 pages long.

For a list of possible final paper topics, see the law 6936 web page, under seminar paper topics.


Schedule of classes:

January 16, 2002:      first class

January 23, 2002:      John Peter Zenger trial

January 30, 2002:      Alien and Sedition Acts , readings from Curtis, Free Speech (through page 117)

February 6, 2002:       Abolition materials , readings from Curtis, Free Speech (from page 117 through page 300)

February 13, 2002:     Neely, Fate of Liberty, Civil War Era cases. You might also read the rest of Curtis, Free Speech.

February 20, 2002:     World War 1 and the Red Scare: Polenberg, Fighting Faiths; Schenk, Abrams

February 27, 2002:     Sacco and Vanzetti trial

                                    You might, if you have time, compare the account of their case presented at a “popular history” site.

March 6, 2002:           Break

March 13, 2002:         World War II and internments, Irons, Justice at War

March 20, 2002:         Cold War, Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights

March 27, 2002:         The Rosenberg Case (please look at both part 01 and part 02 of the FBI file)

                                    For background on the case, you might look at a popular account of their case

April 3, 2002:              Vietnam: Chicago Seven Trial  ( )

                                        (Please read the links under Convention Week and Conspiracy Trial)

April 10, 2002:            1st week of presentations

April 17, 2002:            2d week of presentations, draft of final paper due

                                    Draft of final paper returned Monday April 22, 2002

April 24, 2002:            3d week of presentations, last day of class

Finals weeks:             final paper due