U.S. Founding Documents and Court Systems Assignment Instructions


For this assignment, we examine the United States legal system, which is often described as a common law legal system. However, the United States legal system may incorporate principles of other legal systems. This module will examine the unique system that has developed in the United States. This assignment hones your research and writing and sharpens your analytical skills by requiring you to research primary source founding documents, identify which legal system they fall into and justify that identification, and also identify similarities between two legal traditions that seem vastly different.

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The United States has developed a unique combination of both civil and common law. For this essay, read the founding documents of the United States assigned for this module: Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Then, read and review the United States courts website. This essay will address the following:

  • In the first 2-3 pages of your essay, explain whether the United States founding documents fall within the civil law, common law, or both.
  • In the second half of this essay, compare the format of the United States federal court system to the court system of 1 state of your choosing. Compare the structure described on the federal website to the structure described on the website of 1 state. You may choose the state in which you live or a state you would like to visit. However, make sure to provide citations to the websites from which you learned the information. Remember, examine the structure on the website of the state’s court system, not on Wikipedia or another online encyclopedia or blog.


Your essay must be 5–6 pages in current Bluebook format and contain at least 5 scholarly sources in addition to/other than the course textbook and the Bible. Wikipedia does not count as a scholarly source. Include headings for clear organization. Cover Pages will not count toward the page total, and your citations should be in-text citations (not footnotes, endnotes, reference pages, etc.).

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