Foundations of American Law (An Undergraduate Course)
401 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2017 Last revised: 20 Dec 2017
Date Written: November 7, 2017
This is the first draft of an undergraduate introduction to law and legal systems. The text is still in a rough state, but I have used it to run two classes. I release it in case others are interested in helping to develop courses of this type. In its present form, it presents a challenging course, and engagement with the students in the seminar sessions is vital.
The basic purpose of the course is to foster an understanding of our legal system and the means and merits of legal argument. Students will learn to appreciate the distinction between rhetorical argumentation on disputed issues, as might appear in editorial writing, and legal argumentation. Each weekly reading consists of an explanation of legal concepts paired with one or more important cases that either illustrate the concepts directly or provide a basis on which to discuss the concepts. Links to a companion podcast series are provided. The course culminates with a few weeks’ discussion concerning pending or recently decided Supreme Court cases so that students can appreciate the legal disputes of our time from the legal perspective.
Keywords: education, legal systems, law, undergraduate, foundation
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