Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

George Thomas

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2018 Melissa J Muller


This thesis employs the lens of constitutional identity to engage in a comparative analysis of Germany during reunification and the United States during Reconstruction. I argue that these developments should be considered constitutional moments that fundamentally shifted the ways each country conceptualized citizenship, economic liberties, and federalism. Moreover, the similarities between these shifts highlight an overarching logic to constitutional design by showing why realizing these re-conceptualizations required substantive changes to constitutional mechanisms and delegation of powers. Ultimately my thesis emphasizes the analytical power of constitutional identity and critiques a variety of perspectives on Reconstruction, including those found in the majority opinions in the Slaughterhouse Cases and Civil Rights Cases.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.