Leading Scholars Put Civil War on Trial at Albany Law in June

4/30/2012 | Facebook|Twitter|Email
Date: 04/30/2012

Scholars from around the country will convene at a major public conference at Albany Law School in June for “The Civil War on Trial: Legal Issues that Divided a Nation” to discuss the legal issues that led to and defined the Civil War and post-war reconstruction.



Topics will include:

The Fugitive Slave Act and Secession
Rights of Secession / States’ Rights
Emancipation and Presidential Power
Civil Liberties: Free Press
Civil Liberties: Habeas Corpus
Recruitment of Black Troops
The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
Military Justice

Presenters will include:

  • Co-chair: Paul Finkelman, Albany Law School
  • Co-chair: Harold Holzer, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
  • Diane Barnes, Youngstown State University
  • Hon. Joseph Bellacosa, New York State Court of Appeals (Retired)
  • Spencer Crew, George Mason University
  • Eric Freedman, Hofstra University School of Law
  • Nelson Lankford, Virginia Historical Society
  • James Oakes, City University of New York
  • Rex Smith, Albany Times Union
  • John Stauffer, Harvard University
  • David O. Stewart, Attorney and Author
  • James Swanson, The Heritage Foundation
  • Craig Symonds, U.S. Naval Academy
  • Nikki Taylor, University of Cincinnati
  • Hon. Richard Wesley, U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • Hon. Frank J. Williams, Rhode Island Supreme Court (Retired)

According to organizers, this unprecedented gathering of some of the nation’s foremost legal and Civil War scholars is essential to understanding the impact that the law had on the nation, before, during and after the war.

“The Civil War not only changed American politics. It also changed our law. The modern law of war comes directly from the Civil War. The war also fundamentally altered the Constitution, leading to the abolition of slavery, securing citizenship for African Americans, and enfranchising blacks on the same basis as whites. This conference explores these and many other aspects of law and the Civil War,” stated Paul Finkelman, conference co-chair, nationally recognized Constitutional Law and Civil War scholar, and President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School.

"This may be the most prestigious and accomplished group of historians brought together anywhere to examine this crucial and timeless question. My co-chair and I are delighted that so many distinguished colleagues in the profession have agreed to join forces to engage in these unprecedented conversations at Albany Law School," stated Harold Holzer, conference co-chair, nationally prominent Lincoln scholar, NYS Archives Partnership Trust board member, and chair of the federal Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

The conference, to be held June 7 through 9, 2012, is sponsored by the New York State Archives Partnership Trust, Government Law Center of Albany Law School, Historical Society of the Courts of the State of New York, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, and New York State Bar Association.  The conference is funded through the auspices of the television network HISTORY®, the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.

For more information, visit www.nysarchivestrust.org, or contact 518-486-9349 or aptrust@mail.nysed.gov. Advance registration is required; cost of attendance is $75 for alumni/members of sponsoring organizations, $85 for non-alumni/non-members.