Final Examination

American Legal History

Spring 2008.

Instructions Be sure also to see Russell's fussy comments about writing.

1.  Evaluate Senator Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech along with Chief Justice Taney’s opinion Dred Scott, and the opinions in Plessy v. Ferguson (find this on your own) and Brown v. Board of Education.  To what extent does Sen. Obama’s speech shed light upon the opinions in these three landmark Supreme Court cases?  To what extent do these cases reflect accurately American society at the time?  What do the cases and the speech tell us about the relationship of law and society?

2.     Critically analyze the comments on the legal profession that Alexis de Tocqueville made in Democracy in America.  How right or wrong was he?  In addition to the documents that you have read for the course, take a careful look at Friedman’s chapters on the legal profession when answering this question. 

3.  You are an American lawyer in 1854.  You can pick where you live as well as your political point of view.  You have just read Fitzhugh's Sociology of the South.  Using the materials of your profession--meaning think like a lawyer--write a letter to Fitzhugh responding to his argument.