An Introduction to American Law

开始时间: 02/15/2015 持续时间: 6 weeks

所在平台: Coursera

课程类别: 人文

大学或机构: University of Pennsylvania(宾夕法尼亚大学)

授课老师: Stephen Morse Anita Allen Shyam Balganesh Tess Wilkinson-Ryan Theodore Ruger Tobias Wolff



Explore 1600+ online courses from top universities. Join Coursera today to learn data science, programming, business strategy, and more.


第一个写评论        关注课程


In this course, we have asked six of our best teachers to give you a window into what we teach our first-year Law students at Penn.  We will cover the basic ideas and principles behind core elements of U.S. law, including Tort Law, Contract Law, Property, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure.     

Throughout the course, we will also introduce you to some of the great philosophical questions of the law:

  • How is the law used to help people achieve their goals? 
  • How is the law used to protect people?  From each other? From the state?  
  • What is the line between conduct that we wish to discourage and conduct that we make criminal?  
  • What is the difference between the rights created by contracts and rights created by property?  
  • Which of our agreements is legally enforceable and why? 

To answer these questions we will look at Tort Law, which is the area of civil law imposing liability when we injure strangers.  We will discuss Contract Law, which governs our agreements with others, or, as we’ll learn, only some of them.  We will examine Property Law, the law of things.  These are some of the main building blocks of what is known as “private law.” 

Next we'll look at law involving the state, what is known as “public law.”  Criminal Law, like Tort Law, regulates our relations with strangers, but, unlike Tort Law, involves the police, public prosecutors and, ultimately, prison.  It involves the full power of the state. 

Constitutional Law is likewise public law, but of a very different sort:  as we will learn, it creates power and regulates the power it creates.  It is how we – We the People, if you will – constitute ourselves as a sovereign self-governing nation.

Civil Procedure sets the rules for how you bring civil cases.  As lawyers learn early on, the only rights you really have are the ones you can enforce, and whether and how you can enforce them is the subject of Procedure.

For each of these areas, you will also begin to learn what is distinctive about American approaches and thus, a bit about what is distinctive about America.


WEEK ONE:  Tort Law
What is our liability when we injure another, either intentionally or negligently?  Tort Law derives from the common law treatment of injuries to others.

WEEK TWO:  Contract Law
Contract Law is the law of our agreements with others, at least those which we intend to be legally enforceable.  In this lecture, you are introduced to some of the basic principles, and the key question of which promises are enforceable in law.

WEEK THREE:  Property Law
The law governing property and ownership forms a fundamental building block of any legal system. This lecture introduces you to the law of things.   

WEEK FOUR:  Constitutional Law 
Constitutions both create governmental power and regulate it. This lecture introduces key features of the United States Constitution, including both structural features and protection of individual rights.  

WEEK FIVE:  Criminal Law
This lecture will introduce you to criminal law as a device for defining and controlling harmful behavior.  Attention is given to the theoretical justifications for and the effectiveness of punishment, the foundations of culpability, the basic principles of criminal liability, and the definition of offenses and defenses. 

WEEK SIX: Civil Procedure
This lecture introduces you to the importance of the rules that govern the litigation of disputes and the way in which procedure inevitably affects substantive rights.  


Deep Learning Specialization on Coursera


This course will give you a glimpse into six different areas of American law: Tort Law, Contract Law, Property, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Civil Procedure. You will gain insight into the complexities and dilemmas that arise from the application of law in different settings, and what is distinctive about American approaches.