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Grant number like: AQ-50522-11

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College of Charleston (Charleston, SC 29424-0001)
Larry D. Krasnoff (Project Director: September 2010 to October 2014)

Enduring Questions: Pilot Course Grants
Education Programs

$25,000 (approved)
$25,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2011 – 4/30/2014

NEH Enduring Questions Course on "What Is the Rule of Law?"

The development of a first-year seminar on the question, What is the rule of law?

The rule of law is often described as a universal human good or right, something every society should want. But most basic definitions of the rule of law invoke just its scope and power: a broadly shared framework of rules, set out and enforced by clear lines of authority. Does the rule of law mean just the general submission to authority? To count as a universal human good, the rule of law should concern not just the formal structure of authority but also the substantive good of the public. But if there are ethical constraints on the rule of law, where do these constraints come from? How can they be said to be internal to the rule of law? This proposed new course investigates this problem through a study of a set of influential texts drawn from the history of Western thinking about the rule of law. These texts include not just theoretical works on the nature and sources of law but also literary works that describe the experiences of individuals subject to legal systems.