Archive for the 'Class Discussions' Category

4/16 – The Warren Court

by Tona H - April 14th, 2012

I wanted to post the link to the Earl Warren obituary in the New York Times, from 10 July 1974.

Other resources:

Warren Court, US Supreme Court Historical Society

Joan Rapczynski, “The Legacy of the Warren Court,” Yale New Haven Teachers Institute curriculum unit

Wikipedia list of Warren Court cases (not much annotation, but it’s a pretty comprehensive list)

How to Approach a Primary Source Document

by Tona H - March 1st, 2012

In retrospect, it probably would have helped for us to have the source analysis discussion from this week’s class before I had you turn in your document analyses. I really enjoyed that discussion and in fact, I thought about it all the way home and took some time to blog about it the next day. I thought I’d provide the link, just in the interest of full disclosure. You can read the full post here. Yes, I occasionally blog about my teaching although I seldom draw the attention of my undergraduates to it!

Have a wonderful weekend, see you on Monday. Just to remind, the reading for Monday’s discussion is:

Mon 3/5: Women’s Suffrage. Reading: Amar 419-428 and 2 PDF articles: Nancy Cott, “Marriage and Women’s Citizenship in the United States, 1830-1934,AHR December 1998 and Elizabeth Kenny Sparacino, “An Online Bibliography of Resources for the Study of Woman Suffrage,History Teacher Feb 2004.

Day Four: Protective Legislation, Police Power and Liberty of Contract

by Tona H - February 12th, 2012

Our discussion on Monday 2/13 will center on how Americans understood–and fought over–Constitutional concepts at the turn of the twentieth century, including laissez-faire, liberty/freedom of contract, substantive due process, police power, and the role of government (state and/or federal) in crafting and enforcing different kinds of protective legislation. The broader cultural context of these cases includes the constriction of black civil rights under Jim Crow, imperialist expansion, labor unrest, and the Populist and Progressive movements. It should be a rich discussion! Bring the Major Problems book. Also: the Document Analysis paper is due.
Image: The Guthman Steam Laundry, Atlanta GA 1905

Short video clip: Eric Foner explaining “freedom of contract” 1:24 (Companion website for Give Me Liberty!)

The Brandeis Brief (full text)’s Landmark Cases site
Harvard Baker Business Library Women and Work Collections (documents, photographs, pamphlets, periodicals)

Day Three: The Plessy Case

by Tona H - February 4th, 2012

1875 Portrait of PBS Pinchback Last Monday, we suggested that the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson case is (yet another) endpoint to Reconstruction. With it, the last practical enforcement of nearly any part of the Radical Republican’s program for black civil rights disappeared and it marked the beginning of a 50-year period of Jim Crow state legislation across the South. This is the “racial nadir,” the codification of racial segregation and legal inferiority of Americans of color.

Please read and bring with you the slender (but packed!) Bedford book on the case.

Note: this photograph is NOT of Homer Plessy (although it shows up all over the web as his portrait), but rather Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback, who briefly served as the state’s first non-white governor during the Reconstruction era in 1872-1873. Just to clarify. I have made the same mistake myself.

And here are some additional links and resources we may use in class:
Brief bio of Plessy, New Orleans Public Library, “Notable African Americans from Louisiana”
Plessy and Ferguson: Descendants of a Divisive Supreme Court Decision Unite,” Washington Post 5 June 2011
Plessy v. Ferguson 163 US 537 (1896) at Oyez Project
Plessy v. Ferguson at Our Documents
Related lesson plans, by Karen Wolff from the Yale-New Haven CT Teachers Institute
Constitutional Conflicts: The Road to Brown, on Doug Linder’s site “Exploring Constitutional Law”
Jim Crow Gateway Resources on Plessy v. Ferguson
The Plessy case on
Texas HS Civics online lesson on the case (Oyez, Oyez, Oh Yay! – created by the State Bar of Texas)
3.5 minute resource video on the case, from PBS “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” posted on the Teacher’s Domain
Charles Thompson, “Harlan’s Great Dissent,” Kentucky Humanities 1996 (1), posted at the Brandeis School of Law

Day Two: Reconstruction Amendments

by Tona H - January 28th, 2012

Bring the Major Problems to class on Monday, we’ll be looking at the cases and documents in Chapter 7, and at how the addition of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments profoundly changed both the Constitution and the nation.

Links and Resources for Discussion:

Interactive Reconstruction Timeline (Digital History/CHNM)
Frederick Douglass, “What the Black Man Wants,” 1865
Black Codes, 1865-1866
13th Amendment Proposals (Harpers Weekly)
14th Amendment (Harpers Weekly)
15th Amendment (Harpers Weekly)
Reconstruction Amendments (Gilder Lehrman Institute)
Thomas Kelly, 15th Amendment Celebration print, 1870 (Library of Congress/Wikimedia)
Slaughterhouse Cases (Oyez)
Bradwell v. Illinois (Oyez)
Minor v. Happersett (Cornell Law)
The Civil Rights Cases (Oyez)
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow (PBS)
Douglas Blackmon, Slavery By Another Name