Great Cases: American Legal History
- Grades 7-11
- History and Social Science
Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes stated that the law is both a mirror and a motor for society. The most notorious trials frequently go well beyond a specific case to reflect deeper truths about America. Simultaneously, decisions can drive both legal and social thinking in new directions. This history course examines famous cases in their historical, political, and social contexts. It explores Marbury v. Madison within the framework of the early Federalist period; Dred Scott v. Sanford within the context of rising political fragmentation; Lochner v. New York in relation to the rise of the social and political movement known as Progressivism; Brown v. Board of Education in relation to the civil rights movement; and Hamdi v. Rumsfeld as representative of the tensions in post-9/11 America. You and your classmates will develop your close-reading and persuasive-writing skills by engaging in debates, simulations, group projects, and individual research, and learn to analyze and critique the landmark legal decisions in America, from the ratification of the Constitution to today.
Typical Class Size: 16-18
Summer Dates & Locations
Testing and Prerequisites
|Required Level||Not required||CTY-Level|
Students must achieve qualifying scores on an advanced assessment to be eligible for CTY programs. If you don’t have qualifying scores, you have several different testing options. We’ll help you find the right option for your situation.Sign up for Testing Learn More
Cost and Financial Aid
- Nonrefundable Application Fee - $50 (Waived for financial aid applicants)
- Nonrefundable International Fee - $250 (outside US only)
Financial Aid is available
We are committed to serving all talented youth regardless of financial circumstances. Financial assistance is available based on need.
Please acquire all course materials by the course start date, unless noted as perishable. Items marked as “perishable” should not be acquired until the student needs them in the course. If you have questions about these materials or difficulty locating them, please contact [email protected].
These titles have been featured in past sessions of the course, and may be included this summer. CTY provides students with all texts; no purchase is required.
- American Legal History: Cases and Materials, by Kermit L. Hall and Paul Finkelman
About History and Social Science at CTY
Enhance your critical thinking skills
Expand your ability to reason through difficult problems by taking one of our philosophy or logic classes. Learn how to craft strong and clear arguments in Big Questions, or explore the techniques of logic that lawyers, doctors, and mathematicians utilize to be successful in their fields in Logic: Principles of Reasoning.
Explore social justice in action
Develop knowledge and skills that will help you address issues of systemic inequality throughout the world. Engage in the study of those who worked within and outside of the legal system to effect monumental societal change in Great Cases: American Legal History.