American Legal History

American Legal History & its Materials

Professor Eben Moglen
Columbia Law School

Fall 2016

On Friday, 11 November, we will meet in WJWH 600, for one day only, to accommodate a conference being held in our usual classroom.

My office hours in fall 2016 are Thursdays 3:50-5:50pm, and Fridays 9am-10am. If you need to see me but cannot make office hours, please email or contact my assistant, Benjamin Mintzer,, x40692.


09/08/2016 Settlement
09/09/2016 Ideology and Illusion in Colonial Legal Development
09/15/2016 Colonial Labor Systems & Law
09/16/2016 Status, Class and Patriarchy
09/22/2016 Commercial Development
09/23/2016 Law and the River
09/29/2016 Empire
09/30/2016 Colonial Policy and Colonial Constitutionalism
10/06/2016 Transition of Federalisms: The Revolution that Wasn't
10/07/2016 Constitution-Making Looking Backward
10/13/2016 Expansion, Transformation, and the Release of Energy
10/14/2016 What's Not in the Constitution
10/20/2016 Marshall
10/21/2016 Codification and the Common Law
10/27/2016 Collision of Worlds
10/28/2016 War, the Constitution, and Emancipation
11/03/2016 Lincoln
11/04/2016 Reconstruction and Reimperialization
11/10/2016 The Age of Bitter Irony
11/11/2016 Progressivism and Legal Anti-Formalism
11/17/2016 Bread and Roses, and the Iron Heel
11/18/2016 Holmes
11/29/2016 A New Deal for the American People
12/01/2016 Brandeis, Warren: the Rise and Fall of Civil Liberties
12/02/2016 Legal Realism and the Reaction
12/08/2016 Marshall: Civil Rights and the New Public Law
12/09/2016 Conclusion

A Word on Technology Old and New About the Word

This course is an attempt to learn about, understand and comment on legal materials generated by people living in a society more different from our own than we are usually conscious of. We must assemble the field of knowledge relevant to our questions even as we begin trying to answer them. Wiki technology is an ideal match for the work we have in hand. Below you will find an introduction to this particular wiki, or TWiki, where you can learn as much or as little about how this technology works as you want.

For now, the most important thing is just that any page of the wiki has an edit button, and your work in the course consists of writings that we will collaboratively produce here. You can make new pages, edit existing pages, attach files to any page, add links, leave comments in the comment boxes--whatever in your opinion adds to a richer dialog. During the semester I will assign writing exercises, which will also be posted here. All of everyone's work contributes to a larger and more informative whole, which is what our conversation is informed by, and helps us to understand.

Please begin by registering. I look forward to seeing you at our first meeting on the 8th.

Introduction to the AmLegalHist Web

The AmLegalHist site is a collaborative class space built on Twiki [], a free software wiki system. If this is your first time using a wiki for a long term project, or first time using a wiki at all, you might want to take a minute and look around this site. If you see something on the page that you don't know how to create in a wiki, take a look at the text that produced it using the "Edit" button at the top of each page, and feel free to try anything out in the Sandbox.

All of the Twiki documentation is also right at hand. Follow the TWiki link in the sidebar. There are a number of good tutorials and helpful FAQs there explaining the basics of what a wiki does, how to use Twiki, and how to format text.

From TWiki's point of view, this course, American Legal History, is one "web." There are other webs here: the sandbox for trying wiki experiments, for example, and my other courses, etc. You're welcome to look around in those webs too, of course. Below are some useful tools for dealing with this particular web of ours. You can see the list of recent changes, and you can arrange to be notified of changes, either by email or by RSS feed. I would strongly recommend that you sign up for one or another form of notification; if not, it is your responsibility to keep abreast of the yourself.

AmLegalHist Web Utilities


Webs Webs

r61 - 23 Jan 2017 - 21:05:12 - EbenMoglen
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