Higher dimensional Chern-Simons theorìes, even though constructed along the same topological pattern as in 2 + 1 dimensions, have been shown recently to have generically a non-vanishing number of degrees of freedom. In this paper, we carry out the complete Dirac Hamiltonian analysis (separation of first and second class constraints and calculation of the Dirac bracket) for a group G × U(1). We also study the algebra of surface charges that arise in the presence of boundaries and show that it is isomorphic to the WZW 4 discussed in the literature. Some applications are then considered. It is shown, in particular, that Chern-Simons gravity in dimensions greater than or equal to five has a propagating torsion.