American Legal History—SPRING 2021—ASSIGNMENTS

This syllabus, which divides into weeks, includes assignments for synchronous meetings of the class and asynchronous audio or video lectures by Professor Russell. The general structure is that in advance of each week’s assignments, Professor Russell will record a 25-minute preview of the week’s synchronous meetings. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the class will meet together on-line starting at 6 p.m. for 50 minutes. After class concludes, Professor Russell will record a 25-minute afterword. Sometimes the afterword will present new material, sometimes the afterword will review or supplement the class discussion.


The address for Zoom meetings is https://udenver.zoom.us/j/84536109581 This means that the Meeting ID is 845 3610 9581 There is a password to get into the meeting, which Professor Russell or any fellow student will give you.


Week 1.

1. INTRODUCTION (January 14, 2021) Video

--The Records of the Virginia Company of London (1619-20) at 241-47 (Susan Myra Kinsbury ed. Gov’t Printing Office 1906-35).


2. AFTERWORD: 17TH-CENTURY VIRGINIA AND MASSACHUSETTS 

--John ChildeRemonstrance and Petition of Robert Child to Massachusetts General Court, in New-England’s Jonas Cast up at London (1646), reprinted in 4 Peter ForceTracts and Other Papers, Relating Principally to the Origin, Settlement, and Progress of the Colonies of North America no. 3, at 8-14 (Washington, Wm. Q. Force 1846).

--John WinthropLittle Speech on Liberty (1645)in The History of New England, from 1630 to 1649, at 228-30 (Boston, Little Brown & Co. 1853).


Week 2.

3. PREVIEW: REMEMBERED FOLK LAW IN THE 17TH-CENTURY


4. 17TH-CENTURY COURTS AND STATUTES (JANUARY 19, 2021) Video

--The Book of the General Lawes and Libertyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusets, at iii-50 (Harvard Univ. Press, facsimile ed. 1929) (1648).

--Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639-1702): The Pynchon Court Record, An Original Judges' Diary of the Administration of Justice in the Springfield Courts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony 203-13 (Joseph H. Smith ed., Harvard Univ. Press 1961).

William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation 459-66, 473-75 (Wright & Potter Printing Co. 1900).

--Proceedings of the Provincial Court of Maryland 1663-1666, in 49 Archives of Maryland (J. Hall Pleasants ed., Md. Historical Soc’y 1932).

--Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County (The Essex Inst. 1913) (1664).

--Proceedings of the County Court of Kent (1648-1676), in 54 Archives of Maryland 224-25, 246-48 (J. Hall Pleasants ed., Md. Historical Soc’y 1937).

--H[enry] R[ead] McIlwaine (1864-1934), ed, Minutes of the Council and General Court of Colonial Virginia, 1622-1632, 1670-1676, with Notes and Excerpts from Original Council and General Court Records, into 1683, Now Lost (Richmond : The Colonial Press, Everett Waddy Co., 1924). 


5. NATIVE PEOPLE (JANUARY 21, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 1.

--Tecumseh to Governor Harrison at Vincennes (1810), in The World’s Famous Orations 14-15 (Williams Jennings Bryan ed., Funk & Wagnalls 1906).

--James KentCommentaries on American Law (6th ed., New York, William Kent 1848).


6. AFTERWORD: NATIVE PEOPLE TO THE END OF 19TH CENTURY (23:48)

--Dawes Severalty Act of 1887, 25 U.S.C. ch. 9 § 331 et seq.

--John W. Nobel, Sec’y of the Interior, Rules of Indian Courts and “What is an Indian?”, H.R. Doc No. 1, pt. 5 at 28-37 (1892).


Week 3.

7. PREVIEW: 18TH-CENTURY REVOLUTIONARY CRISIS (24:18)


8. REVOLUTION AND INDEPENDENCE (January 26, 2021) Video

--The Declaration of Independence (U.S. 1776).

4 Laws of New Hampshire: Including Public and Private Acts and Resolves (Revolutionary Period 1776-1784) (Henry Harrison Metcalf ed., Musgrove Printing House 1916).

Pa. Const. of 1776


9. EXCESSES OF DEMOCRACY (January 28, 2021) Video

--John F. Grimke’s Eyewitness Account of Camden Court Riot, April 27-28, 1785, 83 S.C. Hist. Mag. 209, 210-213 (Robert A. Becker ed. 1982).

--Camden Memorial (1785), in Grimke Family Papers (S.C. Historical Soc’y).

--Execution Sales Act, no. 1293, S.C. Statutes at Large (1785).

--David Ramsay to Thomas Jefferson (Apr. 7, 1787) in 11 The Letters of Thomas Jefferson, 279-80 (Julian Boyd ed., Princeton Univ. Press, 1955).

--2 David Ramsay, The History of South-Carolina, from Its First Settlement in 1670, to the Year 1808 at 391-401, 425-33 (Charleston, David Longworth 1809).


10. AFTERWORD: FEATURES OF THE CONSTITUTION OF 1787


Week 4.

11. PREVIEW: RACE AND SLAVERY FROM 1619 FORWARD


12. RACE AND THE LEGAL CONSTRUCTION OF AMERICAN SLAVERY (February 2, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 2.

--Virginia Act of General Assembly, Jan. 6, 1639-40, 2d ser. 4 Wm & Mary Q. 145, 146-47 (1924).

--1 William Waller Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature in the Year 1619 (R. & W. & G. Barton 1923).


13. THE EVERYDAY LAW OF SLAVERY (February 4, 2021) Video

--Jacob B. Wheeler, A Practical Treatise on the Law of Slavery (New York, Alan Pollock; New Orleans, Benjamin Levy 1837).

--Slaves and Free Persons of Color, ch. 107, §§ 26-77, in Revised Code of North Carolina, Enacted by the General Assembly at the Session of 1854 (Boston, Little Brown & Co. 1855).

--Bryan v. Walton, 14 Ga. 185 (1853).

--George Fitzhugh, Sociology for the South (Richmond, A. Morris 1854).


14. AFTERWORD: SLAVERY, THE CONFEDERACY, AND THE CIVIL WAR (25:31)

Slavery in the United State Constitution.

Fugitive Slave Act, ch. 60, §§ 1-10 (1850).

Dred Scott v. Sandford, 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857).

--CONSTITUTIONS OF THE UNITED STATES (1787) AND THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA (1861).

--Abraham Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation (Jan. 1, 1863).


Week 5.

15. PREVIEW: 19TH-CENTURY ECONOMIC HISTORY (24:05)

 

16. EXPANSION AND USE OF (NON-SLAVE) PROPERTY (February 9, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 3.

--Merritt v. Parker, 1 N.J.L. 460 (N.J. 1795)

Review of Joseph K. Angell, A Treatise on the Common Law in Relation to Water Courses, 2 Am. Jurist 25, 30-34 (1829).

--Massachusetts Mill Dam Act, ch. 0074 (1795).

--Snow v. Parsons, 28 Vt. 459 (1856).


17. LAND LAW (February 11, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 4.

--The Northwest Ordinance (1787).

--Public Lands Statutes, in Public Statutes at Large in the United States (1796-1850).


18. AFTERWORD: THE COLOR OF LAND LAW IN THE 20TH CENTURY (33:32)


Week 6.

19. PREVIEW: CORPORATIONS AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (21:56)


20. CORPORATIONS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP (February 16, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 4.

--Alfred B. Street, The Council of Revision of the State of New York (Albany, W. Gould 1859).

--Andrew Jackson, Veto of the Second Bank (July 10, 1832), in 2 James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897 (1900).

--Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge, 36 U.S. 420 (1837).

--New Jersey Turnpike Incorporation Act, ch. 158, N.J. Laws (1856).


21. REGULATION, LABOR, AND THE WIZARD OF OZ. (February 18, 2021) Video

--Oliver Wendell Holmes to Emily Hallowell (Nov. 16, 1862), in Touched with Fire; Civil War Letters and Diary of Oliver Wendell Holms, Jr., 1861-1864 (Mark De Wolfe Howe ed., Harvard Univ. Press 1946).

--The Rebellion at Homestead, 1892 Harper’s Wkly. 674.

--William Jennings Bryan, Cross of Gold, in Speeches of William Jennings Bryan (Funk & Wagnalls 1909).

Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905).


22. AFTERWORD: THE PROGRESSIVE STATE (30:37)

--Buck v. Bell, Superintendent of State Colony Epileptics and Feeble Minded, 274 U.S. 200 (1927).


Week 7. 

23. PREVIEW: BACK TO 17TH-CENTURY CRIME (36:41)

--The Book of the General Lawes and Libertyes Concerning the Inhabitants of the Massachusets, at iii-50 (Harvard Univ. Press, facsimile ed. 1929) (1648).

Deut. 25:3 (KJV)

Lev. 20:15-16 (KJV)

--Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639-1702): The Pynchon Court Record, An Original Judges' Diary of the Administration of Justice in the Springfield Courts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony 203-13 (Joseph H. Smith ed., Harvard Univ. Press 1961).

William Bradford, Of Plimoth Plantation 459-66, 473-75 (Wright & Potter Printing Co. 1900).

--Proceedings of the Provincial Court of Maryland 1663-1666, in 49 Archives of Maryland (J. Hall Pleasants ed., Md. Historical Soc’y 1932).

Psalms 51 (KJV)


24. CRIME FROM THE 17TH INTO THE 19TH CENTURIES (February 23, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 5.        

Thomas J. Dimsdale, The vigilantes of Montana; or, Popular Justice in the Rocky Mountains (Virginia City, D.W. Tilton & Co. 1866). 

 

25. VIGILANTISM AND 19TH-CENTURY PENTITENTIARIES (February 25, 2021) Video

--Gustave de Beaumont & Alexis de Tocqueville, On the Penitentiary System in the United States and Its Application in France (1833).

--Charles Dickens, American Notes For General Circulation 81-93 (London, Chapman & Hall 1850).

--Penitentiary Law, § 25, Tenn. Laws (1829).


26. AFTERWORD: The New Jim Crow


Week 8.

27. PREVIEW: 17TH-CENTURY MARRIAGE AND PROPERTY

--Colonial Justice in Western Massachusetts (1639-1702): The Pynchon Court Record, An Original Judges' Diary of the Administration of Justice in the Springfield Courts in the Massachusetts Bay Colony 203-13 (Joseph H. Smith ed., Harvard Univ. Press 1961).

--Proceedings of the County Court of Kent (1648-1676), in 54 Archives of Maryland 224-25, 246-48 (J. Hall Pleasants ed., Md. Historical Soc’y 1937).

Jesse Root, REPORTS OF CASES ADJUDGED IN THE SUPERIOR COURT AND SUPREME COURT OF ERRORS FROM JULY, A. D. 1789, TO JUNE, A. D. 1793 VOL. I (NEW YORK: THE BANKS LAW PUBLISHING CO., 1899) [Just read the section titled “On Marriage” that starts on p. 11.]

John WinthropLittle Speech on Liberty (1645)in The History of New England, from 1630 to 1649, at 228-30 (Boston, Little Brown & Co. 1853).


28. WOMEN’S LEGAL STATUS AND MARRIAGE (March 2, 2021)

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 6.

--Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions at the Seneca Falls Convention (1848).

--Wightman v. Coates, 15 Mass. 1 (1818).

--Askew v. Dupree, 30 Ga. 173 (1860).


29. COMMON LAW MARRIAGE’S INTERSECTION WITH RACE AND DIVORCE (March 4, 2021)

Keen v. Keen, 184 Mo. 358 (1904)

—Keen v. Keen: All that Father Giveth (Video [13:55])

—Completely optional: Keen v. Keen Record before the Supreme Court of the United States

Divorce Act, ch. 89 § 2, Me. Laws (1847).

Divorce Act, ch. 116 § 1, Me. Laws (1849).


30. AFTERWORD: No Afterword this week. And no preview for next week.


Week 9.

31. MARRIED WOMEN’S PROPERTY, ADOPTION, AND THE IDEA OF LIBERALIZATION (March 9, 2021) Video

--Married Woman’s Property Act, ch. 200, §§ 1-4, N.Y. Laws (1848).

--White v. White, 5 Barb. 474 (N.Y. 1849).

--Married Woman’s Property Act, ch. 375 §§1-3, N.Y. Laws (1849).

--Married Woman’s Property Act, ch. 90, §§ 1-11, N.Y. Laws (1860).

--Buckley v. Wells, 33 N.Y. 518 (1865).  

--Massachusetts Adoption Act.


32. MY GRANDMOTHER’S ABORTION (March 11, 2021) Video

Commonwealth v. Bangs (MA, 1812).

California Statutes about Abortion

People v. Rankin et al. (CA, 1937)


Week 10.

33. 19TH-CENTURY WORK INJURIES WITH A DOSE OF THEORY (March 16, 2021) Video

G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 7.

Farwell v. Boston & Worcester R.R., 45 Mass. (4 Met.) 49 (1842).


34. WORKERS COMPENSATION, NON-EMPLOYEES, AND BLOOD ON THE TRACKS (March 18, 2021) Video

Crystal Eastman, Work Accidents and the Law (1910).

—Video: A Trip Down Market Street (1905).

Death Calendar in Industry for Allegheny County


Week 11 (f.k.a. Spring Break)

35. PREVIEW: The Idea of Law, especially the Common Law

--1 Jesse Root, Reports of Cases Adjudged in the Superior Court and Supreme Court of Errors from July, A.D. 1789 to June, A.D. 1793 (New York, The Banks Law Publishing Co. 1899).

James Kent, Commentaries on American Law (2d. ed., New York, O. Halsted 1832).

William Kent, Memoirs and letters of James Kent (1898).


36. LEGAL PROFESSION AND YOUR SOUL (March 23, 2021) Video

--G. Edward White, American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction (2014), Chapter 8.

Hamilton, Federalist 78

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. J.P. Mayer, trans. George Lawrence (1835; New York: Harper & Row, 1969), Vol. I, Chap. 8.

--John Dean Caton, EARLY BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS (Chicago: Chicago Legal News Company, 1893)


37. AFTERWORD: LA PRIMAVERA


Week 12

38. PREVIEW: 19TH-CENTURY LEGAL PROFESSION 

Joseph G. Baldwin, THE FLUSH TIMES OF ALABAMA AND MISSISSIPPI A Series of Sketches (1853)

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. J.P. Mayer, trans. George Lawrence (1835; New York: Harper & Row, 1969), Vol. I, Chap. 8.

John Dean Caton, EARLY BENCH AND BAR OF ILLINOIS (Chicago: Chicago Legal News Company, 1893)


39. LEGAL EDUCATION, DIPLOMA PRIVILEGE, & FORMALIST JURISPRUDENCE (March 30, 2021) Video

Columbia College Law School Act, ch. 202, N.Y. Laws (1860).

Thomas Shearman, The Judiciary of New York, 105 N. Am. Rev. 148, 148-176 (1867).

Henry W. Taft, A Century and a Half at the New York Bar (1938).

Robert Taylor Swaine, The Cravath Firm and Its Predecessors (Ad Press 1946-48).

Christopher Columbus Langdell, Summary of the Law of Contracts (1871).


40. RECONSTRUCTION: LADDER OF RIGHTS (April 1, 2021). Video

--Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (Mar. 4, 1865).

--Civil Rights Act, ch. 4-6, Miss. Laws (1865).

Reconstruction Amendments

--Civil Rights Act of 1866, ch. 31, 14 Stat. 27 (1866).

--Civil Rights Act of 1875, ch. 114, 18 Stat. 335 (1875).

National Memorial for Peace and Justice


41. AFTERWORD: LYNCHING AND THE KLAN PROFESSOR OF LAW Video

--William Stewart Simkins, Professor of Law Univ. of Tex., Why the Ku Klux (November 1914), in 4 The Alcalde 735 (1916).

--Thomas D. Russell, ‘Keep Negroes Out of Most Classes Where There Are a Large Number of Girls’: The Unseen Power of the Ku Klux Klan and Standardized Testing at The University of Texas, 1899-1999


Week 13

42. PREVIEW: JIM CROW, PLESSY, AND THE NAACP’S LEGAL DEFENSE FUND.


43. CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT AND LITIGATION FROM THE 1930S FORWARD (April 6, 2021) Video

Jackson v. City of Denver (1942)

Sweatt v. Painter (USSC, 1950)

Brown v. Board of Education (USSC, 1954).

Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail.


44.  LEGAL REALISM’S CRITIQUE OF FORMALISM (April 8, 2021) Video

Joseph C. Hutcheson, Jr., The Judgment Intuitive: The Function of the “Hunch” in Judicial Decision, 14 Cornell L. Q. 274 (1929).

Fred Rodell, Goodbye to Law Reviews, 23 Va. L. Rev. 38 (1936).

Interesting but entirely optional:

Robert L. Hale, "Coercion and Distribution in a Supposedly Non-Coercive State," 38 Political Science Quarterly (1923), 470-478.


45. AFTERWORD: POST-REALIST LEGAL SCHOLARSHIP [50:14] This is twice as long as intended. Suitable for a long-run, workout, or just relaxing, at-home listening. All ages.


Week 14

46. PREVIEW: THE GREAT DEPRESSION

Bing Crosby, Brother Can You Spare a Dime? [3:11]

Bank Run, It’s a Wondeful Life [4:00]

Louis Armstrong & The Mills Brothers, The W.P.A. [2:46]

Dorothea Lange’s  Moving Photographs of the Depression Era 


47.  FDR AND THE NEW DEAL (April 13, 2021) Video

Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1933)

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Executive Order 9066 (February 19, 1942) 

 

48. HEALTHCARE (April 15, 2021) Video

In class, we will listen to Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine

Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine LP Cover


49. AFTERWORD: IMMIGRATION [28:51]

--Declan O’Rourke, Chronicles of the Great Irish Famine (Spotify) (Listeing to this album, which makes me weep, is optional.)

--Tom Russell, “Mary Clare Malloy” feat. Dolores Keane (Spotify) (optional but worth it if you have access to Spotify.)

--Edison Company, Emigrants landing at Ellis Island.

--Chinese Exclusion


Week 15.

judas black messiah

50. PREVIEW: 20TH-CENTURY SOCIAL MOVEMENTS [20:27]

Totally optional, but consider watching:

Mrs. America on Hulu

The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix

—Judas and the Black Messiah (Gone, apparently, from HBO Max.)


51. LGBTQ+ RIGHTS (April 20, 2021) Video

Mattachine Society.

The Stonewall Inn.

Obergefell v. Hodges (USSC, 2015) [Read the summary at the top and Justice Kennedy’s opinion.]


52. REAGAN AND THE CONSERVATIVE COUNTERREVOLUTION (April 22, 2021) Video


53. AFTERWARD: CONCLUSION Video [31:00]

Abraham Lincoln, Address at Gettyburg (1863)

Louis Brandeis, Opportunity and the Law (1914).



2021 FINAL EXAMINATION


Russell Memo on Writing


Russell Video about Memo on Writing



© Thomas D. Russell 2022