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ENG 111: College Comp I - Social Justice & Constitutional Amendments (WO): Topic

Select a Topic

For this assignment, you have two options:

  1. Causal Essay - What root causes led to your amendment being added to the Constitution?  How were those causes related to social justice issues of the time, and how do they continue today?
  2. Supreme Court Case - Select a Supreme Court cases related to your chosen amendment.  You can provide a rhetorical analysis (close reading) of the text of the case itself or a cultural analysis (historical or ideological evolution) that led to or from the case decision.

No matter which option you select, you will start by picking a Constitutional amendment that interests you.

Use the Interactive Constitution to explore amendments.

Learn About the Topic

Learn more about your amendment with encyclopedias and videos.  This will help you discover what court cases and social issues involve your amendment.

Narrow the Topic

Now that you know more about your topic, you can narrow your focus.  What social issues or court cases are related to your amendment?  Here are some possibilities, but there are many more.

  • Voting
  • Citizenship
  • Civil Rights
  • Censorship
  • Justice
  • Individual Liberty vs. Government
  • New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
  • Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942)

The final step is to combine your amendment with a court case or social issue as a search strategy:

The search strategy is what you will type into the searchbox to find good books and articles.

[Hint: You'll get better results if you spell out your amendment name or use the common name and put your amendment in quotation marks.]

1st Amendment

"First Amendment"

"Free Speech"


"First Amendment" AND protests

"Free Speech" AND "news media"