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Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

Purpose of Course  showclose

The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with civil rights and civil liberties in the United States. While much of the reading will focus on court cases, it is not a course on the law or on the courts. Rather, this is a course on constitutional politics. The focus will center on understanding how a free society governs and controls itself. The material will address evolving opinions and doctrines of the United States Supreme Court that focus on the civil liberties and rights of both individuals and groups. This material will emphasize cases with particular relevance to political controversies of both the past and present such as the following: the civil liberties in a post-September 11th country, same-sex marriage, racial equality, gender equality, pornography, as well as speech and privacy in general. The design of this course will encourage students to take a historical view to understand contemporary issues.

As mentioned above, this course primarily will explore the doctrines of the Court. This means that the substance of the judicial arguments and justifications for revision, rejection and replacement of long-standing precedent, and how the Court reasons and argues for a particular interpretation of the Constitution will all be examined. The course will also consider the political role of the Court investigating how the Court’s priorities have evolved over time and how it has responded to developments in the other branches of the government. Altogether, the purpose of the course is to provide students with a firm grasp of the theoretical and philosophical concepts that both shaped and continue to influence the rights and liberties afforded to citizens in the United States.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to POLSC432.  Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.
 
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  Unit 1 will lay the foundation for understanding the difference between liberties and rights. This will be essential to understanding the rest of the course. Then the units that follow will cover a series of specific topics (e.g. speech, race, gender, etc.). Each will begin with the history of that topic as related to civil rights and liberties in the United States followed by material covering the constitutional issues and development related to each respective topic. This material will all prepare you for the Final Exam.
 
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
 
Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of 108 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. These should help you plan your time accordingly.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and to determine how much time you have over the next few weeks to complete each unit, and then to set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take you 9 hours.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 4.5 hours) on Monday night and Tuesday night; then subunits 1.2 (a total of 2.5 hours) on Wednesday night; then subunit 1.3 (2 hours) on Thursday night; etc.
 
Tips/Suggestions: Successful completion of this course will require both historical knowledge and logic. The historical knowledge will help you to understand how to interpret court cases. It is important to try to think about the context within which many of the decisions centered on people’s rights were being made. What may seem like a clear violation of rights to us was not so clear to people existing in a time with different values. Thus, considering context will help clarify the material.
 
Also, as you read, take careful notes on a separate sheet of paper.  Mark down any important concepts and definitions that stand out to you.  It will be useful to use this “cheat sheet” as a review prior to completing the final exam.

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Interpret Supreme Court opinions.
  • Describe their own understanding of the Constitution as related to citizen rights and liberties.
  • Discuss the historical development of equality across individuals and groups in the United States.
  • Evaluate the constitutionality of laws that either afford or restrict the rights and liberties of citizens.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course you must:
 
√    Have access to a computer.
 
√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.
 
√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).
 
√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.
 
√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).
 
√    Be competent in the English language.
 
√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Preliminary Information

  • American Government and Politics in the Information Age

    Link: American Government and Politics in the Information Age (PDF)

    You will be prompted to read sections of this book throughout the course.  You may choose to download the text in full now and skip to the appropriate section as prompted by the instructions in the resource boxes below, or you can simply download the specific sections of the text assigned as you progress through each resource box.

    Terms of Use: The text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work's original creator or licensee.

Unit Outline show close


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  • Unit 1: An Introduction to Civil Liberties and Civil Rights  

    This unit will serve as an introduction to the concept of civil liberties and rights.  While these terms are commonly used interchangeably, they actually refer to two related but quite different things.  Civil liberties can be thought of, at least broadly, as protections from government afforded to citizens through the Constitution, while civil rights, can be thought of as protections of citizens by government.  More specifically, civil liberties refers to the protection of the individual's rights to form and express his or her own preferences or convictions and to act freely upon them without undue or intrusive interference by the government.  Civil rights centers more specifically on the rights of citizens to participate freely and equally in politics and participate in the electoral process. The reading for this unit will rely heavily on a text along with other readings that will explicate these differences. In this unit, you will define civil liberties and rights, and in doing so, prepare yourself to read the court opinions and interpretations of those opinions that will follow in the other units. 

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 Civil Liberties  
  • 1.1.1 Civil Liberties Defined  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 1.1.

  • 1.1.2 Some Historical Context-Feudalism  
  • 1.1.3 The Framing and Civil Liberties  
    • Reading: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Constitutional Government”

      Link: Sage American History: Henry J. Sage’s “Constitutional Government” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides background that leads up to the development of the US Constitution and then details about its ratification. Pay particular attention to the treatment of the Bill of Rights throughout. This will be a useful foundation for all the material covered in this course. This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2 Civil Rights  
  • 1.2.1 Civil Rights Defined  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 1.2.

  • 1.2.2 Some Historical Context-Slavery and also Religion  
  • 1.2.3 The Framing and Civil Rights  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 1.2.

  • 1.3 Civil Liberties and Rights: General Development across Time  
  • 1.3.1 Judicial Review  
    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Marbury v. Madison (1803)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Marbury v. Madison (1803)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the case that lead to judicial review. Without judicial review, civil rights and liberties in the US would have taken a different path. This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: YouTube: FedFlix’s “Marbury v. Madison 1977 Judicial Conference of the United States”

      Link: YouTube: FedFlix’s “Marbury v. Madison 1977 Judicial Conference of the United States” (YouTube)
       
      Instructions: Watch this instructional video in its entirety. It begins with an introduction to judicial review followed by a dramatization of the circumstance that lead up to the court case that resulted in establishing judicial review. This concept is essential to understanding the development of civil rights and liberties across US history. This video should take approximately 30 minutes to view.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.3.2 Selective Incorporation  
  • Unit 2: Civil Liberties: Privacy  

    As noted in Unit 1, there is a distinction between civil liberties and civil rights.  This distinction is, perhaps, no clearer than anywhere else when we talk about the constitutionally protected “right” to privacy.  Interestingly, privacy is often referred to as a right when it is actually better characterized as a liberty. It is a constitutional protection from government intrusion.  In its simplest terms, this means the government cannot legally enter a citizen’s property or obtain private communications without due process.  What constitutes due process will be explored in this unit.  Additionally, this unit will explore the historical development of privacy in the courts and the reasons behind its initial inclusion into the constitution.  By the end of this unit, you will understand the reasons why this liberty is critical to a functioning democratic system. 

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 The Bill of Rights and Privacy  
  • 2.1.1 Historical Context  
  • 2.1.2 History Developing  
    • Reading: Reading New England/Wisconsin Law Review: Ken Gormley’s “One Hundred Years of Privacy”

      Link: Reading New England/Wisconsin Law Review: Ken Gormley’s “One Hundred Years of Privacy” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety.  Use the arrows on the side of the screen to scroll down and read all 72 pages.  This reading provides a detailed historical description of how the right to privacy has developed since an 1890 article in the Harvard Law Review written by Louis D. Brandeis and Samuel D. Warren.  This reading should take approximately 4 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.1.3 Due Process Defined  
    • Reading: The Free Dictionary’s “The Due Process of Law”

      Link: The Free Dictionary’s “The Due Process of Law” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety.  This reading provides a basic definition of due process that will be useful in interpreting the material that follows particularly in subunit 2.3.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 2.2.1 Griswold Vs. Connecticut  
  • 2.2.2 Roe V. Wade  
    • Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Roe v. Wade Opinion”

      Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Roe v. Wade Opinion” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety.  This reading provides the official opinion of the court.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Roe v. Wade (1973)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Roe v. Wade (1973)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety.  Also read the links within the text.  This reading provides a basic description of the case that lead to the legal protection of the right to have an abortion.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.3 Doe v. Bolton  
    • Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Doe v. Bolton Opinion”

      Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Doe v. Bolton Opinion” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety.  This reading provides the official opinion of the court.  This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The New Georgia Encyclopedia: Dan T. Coenen and Aaron M. Safanes’s “Doe v. Bolton (1973)”

      Link: The New Georgia Encyclopedia: Dan T. Coenen and Aaron M. Safanes’s “Doe v. Bolton (1973)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety.  Also read the links within the text.  This reading provides a basic description of the case that established the principle that the due process clause affords broad constitutional protection to a woman's decision to terminate a pregnancy.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.3 Privacy and the Future  
  • 2.3.1 The Patriot Act  
  • 2.3.2 Enemy Combatants and Detainees  
  • Unit 3: Civil Liberties: Freedom of Expression  

    Freedom of speech, of the press, of association, and of assembly and petition are liberties protected by the First Amendment.  Together, these make up what we refer to as freedom of expression.  According to the Supreme Court, these liberties are indispensable to the functioning of democracy.  The material in the following unit will cover the history of these liberties both in the context of the framing of the Constitution and in their development in the courts across time.

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Freedom of Speech  
  • 3.1.1 Historical Context  
    • Reading: America.gov: Melvin Urofsky’s “Freedom of Speech”

      Link: America.gov: Melvin Urofsky’s “Freedom of Speech” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the webpage linked above in its entirety.  This reading provides background on the history of the freedom of speech in the United States.  This discussion includes many quotes from Supreme Court justices and political leaders.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1.2 The Bill of Rights and Speech  
    • Reading: ThisNation.com: Jonathan Mott’s “First Amendment: Speech”

      Link: ThisNation.com: Jonathan Mott’s “First Amendment: Speech” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the webpage linked above in its entirety.  This reading provides important foundational information necessary to understand how the first amendment protects the freedom of speech.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1.3 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 3.1.3.1 Schenck v. United States  
  • 3.1.3.2 Gitlow v. New York  
  • 3.1.3.3 Texas v. Johnson  
  • 3.2 Freedom of the Press  
  • 3.2.1 Historical Context  
    • Reading: America.gov: Melvin Urofsky’s “Freedom of the Press”

      Link: America.gov: Melvin Urofsky’s “Freedom of the Press” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides background on the history of the freedom of the press in the United States. This discussion includes many quotes from Supreme Court justices and political leaders. This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2.2 The Bill of Rights and the Press  
    • Reading: TheFreeDictionary.com’s “Freedom of the Press”

      Link: TheFreeDictionary.com’s “Freedom of the Press” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the webpage linked above in its entirety. This reading provides important foundational information necessary to understand how the first amendment protects the freedom of the press. This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2.3 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 3.2.3.1 Near v. State of Minnesota Ex Rel. Olson  
  • 3.2.3.2 New York Times v. United States  
  • 3.2.3.3 Hustler Magazine v. Falwell  
  • 3.3 Freedom of Assembly  
  • 3.3.1 Historical Context  
    • Reading: New World Encyclopedia’s “Freedom of Assembly”

      Link: New World Encyclopedia’s “Freedom of Assembly” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides background on the history of the freedom of assembly in the United States. This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.3.2 The Bill of Rights and Assembly  
  • 3.3.3 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 3.3.3.1 Edwards v. South Carolina  
  • 3.3.3.2 Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board  
  • 3.3.3.3 Boos v. Barry  
  • Unit 4: Civil Liberties: Criminal Justice  

    As made clear in the previous units, the main source of citizens' rights in America is the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. The Bill of Rights details the rights of the American people and forbids the government to violate those rights. Clearly the framers of the Constitution thought that protecting citizens from a tyrannical criminal system was a priority, considering that four of the amendments in the Bill of Rights pertain directly to criminal justice. These amendments provide liberties that protect the procedural rights that apply to citizens accused of a crime, defendants in criminal cases, and those convicted of a crime.The material in the following unit will cover the history of these liberties both in the context of the framing of the Constitution and in their development in the courts across time.

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 The Bill of Rights and Criminal Justice  
  • 4.1.1 The Fourth Amendment  
    • Reading: Findlaw’s “Fourth Amendment- Search and Seizure”

      Link: Findlaw’s “Fourth Amendment- Search and Seizure” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the Amendment and then all of the 4th Amendment Annotations linked on the page above. These links will provide the historical background on the amendment, its development as related to criminal justice, and contemporary applications. This reading should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.1.2 The Fifth Amendment  
    • Reading: Findlaw’s “Fifth Amendment- Rights of Persons”

      Link: Findlaw’s “Fifth Amendment- Rights of Persons” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the Amendment and then all of the 5th Amendment Annotations linked on the page above. These links will provide the historical background on the amendment, its development as related to criminal justice, and contemporary applications. This reading should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.1.3 The Sixth Amendment  
  • 4.1.4 The Eighth Amendment  
  • 4.2 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 4.2.1 Gideon v. Wainwright  
    • Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Gideon v. Wainwright Opinion”

      Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Gideon v. Wainwright Opinion” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the case establishing that that states must provide defense attorneys to criminal defendants charged with serious offenses who cannot afford lawyers themselves. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2.2 Miranda v. Arizona  
  • Unit 5: Civil Liberties: Freedom of Religion  

    Much of the population of what would become the United States were people fleeing religious persecution. As a result, explicit measures were taken to provide for the protection of religious freedom from government during the founding of the United States. This meant that not only did the Constitution afford people the right to practice whatever religion that they saw fit, but also that the government could not adopt or promote any specific religion. There has been a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding this topic throughout U.S. history. This controversy contributed to varied interpretations of exactly what the framers’ intended in creating measures to protect the freedom of religion. This unit will include material that addresses the history of both religious practice and religious freedom in this country, as well as the current condition of religious freedom. In doing so, significant court cases will be covered.

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 Historical Context  
  • 5.1.1 Fleeing Religious Persecution  
    • Reading: America.gov: An Outline of U.S. History’s “Early America”

      Link: America.gov: An Outline of U.S. History’s “Early America” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides background information on religion in the early settlements of the U.S. This material is useful for understanding the context within which the framers of the constitution developed their address of religion. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.2 The First Amendment and Religion  
    • Reading: Findlaw’s “First Amendment- Religion and Expression”

      Link: Findlaw’s “First Amendment- Religion and Expression” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the Amendment and then all of the 1st Amendment Annotations dealing directly with religion linked on the page above. All of these links are under the headers An Overview, Establishment of Religion, and Free Exercise of Religion. These links will provide the historical background on the amendment, its development as related to religion, and contemporary applications. This reading should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 5.2.1 West Virginia State Board of Education vs. Barnette  
  • 5.2.2 Engel v. Vitale  
  • 5.2.3 Lemon v. Kurtzman  
  • 5.2.4 Boerne v. Flores  
  • 5.3 Contemporary Context  
  • 5.3.1 Public Opinion and Religious Freedom  
  • 5.3.2 Current Legal Issues  
  • Unit 6: Civil Rights: The Struggle for Racial Equality  

    Race has been at the center of politics in the United States since the framing of the Constitution. The framers essentially had to table the issue of slavery in order to get the Constitution ratified. This planted the seeds that lead to the Civil War. Following the Civil War, the struggle for racial equality continued coming to a head in the 1960s and resulting in landmark legislation that changed African Americans’ struggle for civil rights. The struggle has continued in the court of public opinion as well as in the judicial courts. This unit includes material that will cover this historical struggle from multiple perspectives. The material focuses on the social movement, the legislation, and the prominent court cases.

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 Historical Context  
    • Reading: America.gov: Michael J. Freedman’s “Free At Last”

      Link: America.gov: Michael J. Freedman’s “Free At Last” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please download the text using the “View PDF” link to the right of the cover and read it in its entirety. This reading provides background on the history of the struggle for racial equality, as well as the contemporary successes. Important court cases are covered as well. This reading is applicable to all the material covered in subunit 6.1. This reading should take approximately 4 hours to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.1.1 Slavery and the Framing  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.1.2 The Bill of Rights and Race  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.1.3 The Civil War  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.1.4 Emancipation  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.1.5 The Fourteenth Amendment  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.1.6 The Civil Rights Act of 1964  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.1.7 The Voting Rights Act of 1965  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 6.1.

  • 6.2 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 6.2.1 Dred Scott v. Sanford  
  • 6.2.2 Plessy v. Ferguson  
    • Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Plessy v. Ferguson Opinion”

      Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Plessy v. Ferguson Opinion” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the case that established the famous “separate but equal” clause when it came to services/accommodations for African Americans. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Plessy v. Ferguson (Dissent) (1896)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Plessy v. Ferguson (Dissent) (1896)” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the court dissent from the case that established the famous “separate but equal” clause when it came to services/accommodations for African Americans. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2.3 Brown v. Board of Education  
  • 6.2.4 Cooper v. Aaron  
    • Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Cooper v. Aaron Opinion”

      Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Cooper v. Aaron Opinion” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Cooper v. Aaron (1958)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Cooper v. Aaron (1958)” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the case establishing that states could not pass legislation that undermined Brown v. Board. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2.5 University of California Regents v. Bakke  
  • 6.2.6 Grutter v. Bollinger; Gratz v. Bollinger  
  • Unit 7: Civil Rights: The Struggle for Gender Equality  

    The Constitution did not directly provide civil rights for women. While women were afforded civil liberties, they were not initially given the most central civil right, the right to vote. The struggle for the right to vote was not realized until 1919, a full 130 years after the founding. The quest for gender equality did not end there. There are many important legislative and judicial measures taken after women’s suffrage seeking to end gender discrimination. This unit includes material that will cover this historical struggle from multiple perspectives. The material focuses on the social movement, the legislation, and the prominent court cases.

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 Historical Context  
  • 7.1.1 The Suffrage Movement  
    • Reading: Hathi Trust Digital Library: Doris Stevens’ “Jailed for Freedom”

      Link: Hathi Trust Digital Library: Doris Stevens’ “Jailed for Freedom” (HTML)  
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. You can use the arrows above the pages to move through this text. This reading provides a detailed history of the events that led to women’s suffrage in the United States with particular attention paid to those events in the final years before suffrage was granted. This reading should take approximately 10 hours to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.1.2 The ERA  
  • 7.2 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 7.2.1 Minor v. Happersett  
  • 7.2.2 Muller v. Oregon  
  • 7.2.3 Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corp.  
  • 7.2.4 Frontiero v. Richardson  
  • 7.2.5 United States v. Virginia  
  • Unit 8: Civil Rights: The Struggle for Gay Rights  

    The most contemporary civil rights issue in the United States is the quest for equality based on sexuality. This controversial issue has become extremely salient and has been central to national political debate. It has driven recent electoral outcomes. Not only has it had electoral consequences but the judicial attention has been important for defining the broader court interpretation of how to apply federalism. This unit includes material that will cover this historical struggle from multiple perspectives. The material focuses on the social movement, the legislation, and the prominent court cases. 

    Time Advisory   show close
    Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 8.1 Historical Context  
  • 8.1.1 Gay Rights in Early America  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.1.

  • 8.1.2 Sodomy Laws  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.1.

  • 8.1.3 The Stonewall Riots  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.1.

  • 8.1.4 The History of Domestic Partner Rights and Gay Marriage  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.1.

  • 8.1.5 Don’t Ask Don’t Tell  

    Note: This subunit is covered by the reading for subunit 8.1.

  • 8.2 Landmark Court Cases  
  • 8.2.1 Bowers v. Hardwick  
  • 8.2.2 Lawrence v. Texas  
    • Reading: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Lawrence v. Texas Opinion”

      Link: Findlaw: The U.S. Supreme Court’s “Lawrence v. Texas Opinion” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. This reading provides the official opinion of the court. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Lawrence v. Texas (2003)”

      Link: PBS: Alex McBride’s “Lawrence v. Texas (2003)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the text linked above in its entirety. Also read the links within the text. This reading provides a basic description of the case that lead to the ruling that state laws banning homosexual sodomy are unconstitutional. This reading should take approximately 1 hour to complete. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 8.2.3 Romer v. Evans  
  • 8.3 Public Opinion and Gay Rights  
  • Final Exam  

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