Although their prominence in the curriculum has varied throughout the years, courses engaging jurisprudence, justice and the examination of law in social life have had a place at Hamilton since the 1830s. The minor concentration in Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Studies (JLJS) establishes a curricular home for such courses, in keeping with the College’s liberal arts mission and with the goal of advancing a number of pedagogic aims.
As Woodrow Wilson observed in 1894, “Every citizen should know what the law is, how it came into existence, what relation its form bears to its substance, and how it gives to society its fiber and strength and poise of frame.* Understanding the theory, practice and meaning of law stimulates civic engagement and provides students with the analytical and empirical foundation to engage subjects ranging from legal decision-making and dispute resolution; policing, criminal justice and incarceration; political speech and action; to the use and meaning of legal discourse in the making of social policy.
* 1894 Address to the American Bar Association, noted in: Albert E. Harum (1960) "The Case for an Undergraduate Law Elective in Liberal Arts." Journal of Legal Education 12: 422.