Virginia and the Constitution (SC)
In the 400 years since its first settlement, Virginia has been intimately intertwined with the central themes of American constitutionalism – the idea of rights, the balance between national and state power, the nature of religious liberty, the problem of race and discrimination, etc. In this course, we will consider selected persons, documents, and events which illuminate those themes. Examples include the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786), James Madison’s Virginia Plan (1787), the nationalist opinions of John Marshall, the Prince Edward County litigation, and Virginia’s own Constitutions, especially that of 1902 and the present Constitution. Each student will be asked to choose and to read one book, such as a biography of a major Virginian (Jefferson, Madison, Marshall, etc.) or a book on some aspect of Virginia history relevant to constitutional development. The course’s paper requirement will take the form of an essay on that book.
On the course's final day, the seminar will visit Richmond. In the morning, at the Virginia Historical Society, the curator of the new exhibit, "The Story of Virginia" will take us on a private tour, emphasizing those aspects of the exhibit that bear upon Virginia's constitutional history. In the afternoon, the head guide at the State Capitol will take us through the Capitol. Designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Capitol has been the scene of many great moments in Virginia's constitutional history.
*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.