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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2007

HIS 306N • Race and the Constitution

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course examines the constitutional issues involving slavery and race in America from the drafting of the U.S. constitution in 1787 to the present. The course is divided into three chronological sections. The first (c. 1787 to 1865) examines how the constitution deals with slavery and sectionalism between the North and South prior to and during the Civil War. The second section (c. 1865 to 1950) explores the abolition of slavery by the 13th amendment of the constitution and the emergence and of legal segregation and "Jim Crow" laws despite the enactment of the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment. Finally, the third section (c. 1950 to the present) deals with the reversal of constitutional interpretation to overturn the separate but equal doctrine and the new constitutional issues arising from affirmative action. The goal of this course is to provide historical context to these changes in the text and interpretations of the constitution as well as the respective historical roles of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government in these changes.

Grading Policy

There will be three examinations in this course, two mid-terms and a final. The mid-terms will each count for 30% and the final (which will have a cumulative component) will count for 40% of the course grade. The exams will consist of objective and essay questions on the material from the readings and lectures. Exams will not be given ahead of schedule, nor will any make-ups be given, for any reason. Class attendance is expected and contributions to class discussion may improve a student's grade.


Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, eds., Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History. Volume I: From the Founding Through the Age of Industrialization Melvin I. Urofsky and Paul Finkelman, eds., Documents of American Constitutional and Legal History. Volume II: From the Age of Industrialization to the Present The U.S. Constitution and Fascinating Facts About It


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