Political Science in Washington, 2013

As part of the University Honors Program political science course “Law, Politics and the Supreme Court,” students and Political Science Associate Professor Joe Kobylka are spending spring break 2013 in Washington, D.C. The students are conducting research on Supreme Court cases at the Library of Congress.

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An original drawing from Thomas Jefferson

An update from Brandon F., a sophomore political science and accounting major who is conducting research on the development and eventual end of Brown v. Board’s doctrine of “All Deliberate Speed…”:

So far, so good.

Since 4 a.m. Monday, we’ve been on the go. With Day 1 consisting of touring the Jefferson building of the Library of Congress, pictures outside the Supreme Court, and the always hectic airport, we couldn’t ask for a better start to the week.

Today marked the first day of research at the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Upon sitting down at our tutorial session, I see an enormous folder containing an original drawing from Thomas Jefferson. As we circulate these amazing documents, the magnitude of the week hits me. This class is giving me the opportunity to do original research on historical artifacts of national importance!

As the day went on, this feeling only escalated. My research is focused on Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the subsequent decade and a half of desegregation. Thus, throughout the day I was working directly with the handwritten notes and letters of a case that changed the course of American history. Truly, it was an amazing experience. The crazy thing is that it’s only Day 1!

That being said, I AM EXHAUSTED! Tomorrow is another early morning and long day. Normally during a day of schoolwork I need coffee, and lots of it. Yet when I was digging through the archives I found myself alert. The feeling is almost equivalent to a runner’s high, which I assume comes from from the importance of the documents I am studying.

All in all, the week has been great, and I have a feeling it will only get better!

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