Exam questions 2004


(Pick One)


  Remember to read the




  1. Property.  Think about women’s property, slaves as property, Indian property, and real property during the 19th century.  What generalizations can you make about the nature of property in the 19th century?  Feel free to include any relevant examples beyond those suggested in the first sentence of this question, but you must talk about the four categories of property there mentioned.


  1. Free v. Freed.  Which was better—being a free black in the South before the Civil War or being a freed black in the South after the Civil War?  Explain.


  1. Freedom.  Freedom is a central concept in American history.  How has the meaning of freedom changed from colonial times through the mid-20th century. 


  1. Capitalism.  Has law shaped cultural values concerning economic activity or has law merely reflected social values concerning economic activity.  Has this relationship changed over time?


  1. Remember the Alamo.  Compare and contrast the 1960 film

The Alamo,

which starred John Wayne as Davy Crockett with the 2004 film of the same title in which Bill Bob Thornton played the role of Col. Crockett.  Relate your analysis of the two films to legal historical themes that the producers or directors included or might have included in their films. 


  1. Privacy.  People in the 21st century are very protective of privacy.  Write a letter to John Winthrop in which you explain how the idea of how privacy has changed since he lived in North America.  Do not assume that he has any knowledge of events following his death.


  1. Afterlife with the Chief Justices.  In the afterlife (you pick the venue), Chief Justices Marshall, Taney, and Warren get together to discuss their opinions in Johnson v. McIntosh, Dred Scott v. Sanford, and Brown v. Board of Education.  What do they say?


  1. Politics.  Mine the political rhetoric of the just-conclude presidential election for legal historical themes.  Consider, at a minimum, the convention acceptance speeches of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates from each party, the convention speeches of Barack Obama and Zell Miller, Sen. Kerry’s concession speech, and Pres. Bush’s victory speech.  You may add other speeches as well, but be sure to focus your attention on legal historical themes.


© Thomas D. Russell 2020