American Legal History Final Exam (House of Russell)
READ EACH ITEM OF THESE
1. As indicated on the
syllabus, the examination for this course is a take-home exam. You
have until 3 pm on Wednesday, May 18, 2011 to complete your answer.
The absolute, non-negotiable deadline for turning in your answer is
3 pm on May 18. There will be no possibility of submitting an exam
after 3 pm on May 18; I will not accept late work. If you turn in
your answers late, you flunk the course. Please email your
completed exam to the registrar's office at
your answer using this naming convention: Russell-History-Exam#.
You may wish to send your answer with a delivery and/or read
receipt. Before you submit your exam, you should figure out on your
own how to use delivery and read receipts.
2. There will be no right and
no wrong answers. The exam questions call for a broad synthesis of
the course materials, with particular attention to the collection of
documents. The best answers will be well-written, intelligent
essays with coherent theses. The best answers will be thickly laced
with specific examples from the material, especially the primary
3. Your essay should argue a
position, that is, make a point or a series of points. The fastest
way out of the top part of the curve is to not make an argument.
The themes may be ones that Professor Russell has developed in the
course or, better yet, ones that you have found on your own. The
very best imaginable answer will teach Professor Russell a great
deal. Your responses should avoid summarizing a lot of facts or
conclusions and should formulate and cogently defend a proposition
(or set of propositions) about subjects covered in the course.
4. You should support and
illustrate your argument with specific examples drawn from the
course materials and lectures. You may also use examples from other
courses that you have taken in the law school, but if you don't use
material from this course, you should not expect a high grade and
perhaps not a passing grade. There is no need to be absolutely
comprehensive, that is, to look for examples from every nook and
cranny of the course, but the strongest answers will display an easy
familiarity with the material.
5. You answer should be from
1,800 to 2,400 words, which is roughly from 6 to 8 pages in
standard, typed and double-spaced format. Your answer may not
exceed 2,400 words. Most word processors include a feature that
counts words. You need not write a full 2,400 words. You should
indicate the word count at the end of your answer. (Within
Microsoft word, you can find the word count by clicking
6. All of the work on this
examination must be your own. You may consult freely with others
including Professor Russell, but be sure that the final work-product
represents your own thoughts in your own words. Any words or ideas
of others (whether written or spoken, but especially if written)
that you end up using should, of course, be cited to source. You
should not feel that you need to do any reading whatsoever outside
the assigned materials.
7. There is no reason to use
any particular citation form. Indeed, for the purposes of this
exam, Professor Russell regards the style of your citations as
entirely unimportant. Do not, for example, feel that you should
open up A Uniform System of Citation (the Harvard Law Review
Bluebook) in order to write your essay. For example, if you refer
to material from the lecture, do not include any citation at all.
If you wish to cite from Friedman, History of American Law, use a
simple, parenthetical citation in the body of your essay, such as
(HAL, p. __). You can cite to the documents with a simple reference
to the author or title. If you remember something from the reading
and wish to refer to it but cannot remember just where it was that
you encountered it, do not waste time trying to find the exact page,
just skip the citation. However, if you refer to sources that were
not part of the course reading, be sure to include a citation that
is sufficient to allow Professor Russell to identify the source.
You should at all times avoid plagiarism, and if you quote directly
from a source, be sure to put that material in quotation marks and
cite the source and page number.
9. Be sure to put your exam
number on the first page your answer. For the sake of convenience
and safety, you may wish to put your number on each page. Do not
put your name anywhere on your essays.
10. If, in preparing for this
examination you have violated the Honor Code, or if, during this
examination, you violate the Honor Code, the best course of action
is for you to report to Dean of Students immediately after this
news stories about the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil
War. Analyze critically the legal historical content (or lack
thereof) of these stories. Do your best to broaden your focus
beyond the narrow 4+ years of the war itself.
20th century regulation of marijuana and also Prohibition. To what
extent are these efforts consistent with American legal culture in
the 19th century and before?
Dispel a modern
day myth about law and history. Donít focus on something trivial
such as that Sir Edward Coke is pronounced "Cooke." Instead, focus
on a larger point such as we have always had a society founded upon
"separation of church and state" or that the government did not
meddle that much in law and economy in a purely capitalistic
orientation of lawyers really shift from the Courts to Business over
the course of the 19th century? Or is a better explanation simply
that the orientation of Business shifted away from the Courts and
lawyers have always been mostly oriented toward Business?
Has law and the
legal profession struggled more against equality or more to promote
equality since 1776?
discuss groups throughout U.S. history, whether along religious,
ethnic, or other lines, that both society and the law pushed (or
tried to) push to the margins. Discuss the time period of
marginalization, point to specific examples in society and the laws,
and briefly explain your (supported) argument as to why you think
these groups were marginalized. Discuss critically the practical
and ideological role of law with regard to marginalization.