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

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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.

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 http://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.

The GOVERNMENT LAW CENTER of Albany Law School is the first and most comprehensive government law program at any ABA-approved law school in the country. The center also serves as a legal and policy research resource for all levels of government. The center conducts educational programs and research on a wide range of topics both on its own initiative and at the request of government agencies and other organizations. Visit http://www.albanylaw.edu/glc.

ALBANY LAW SCHOOL is a small, independent private school in the heart of New York state’s capital since 1851. As the oldest law school in New York and the oldest independent law school in the nation, the institution offers students an innovative, rigorous curriculum taught by a committed faculty. Several nationally recognized programs—including the Government Law Center and the Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center—provide opportunities for students to apply classroom learning. Students have access to New York's highest court, federal courts, the executive branch and the state legislature. With more than 9,000 alumni practicing in every state in the country, and several continents, Albany Law’s graduates are a close-knit community and an extraordinary resource for the law school and its students. Visit http://www.albanylaw.edu.

The NEW YORK STATE ARCHIVES identifies, preserves, and makes available more than 200 million records of colonial and state government that date back to 1630 and have enduring value to the people of the Empire State and the nation. It is a program of the State Education Department governed by the Regents of the University of the State of New York.

The NEW YORK STATE ARCHIVES PARTNERSHIP TRUST is a public benefit corporation and a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that funds creative projects – beyond what tax dollars can pay for – to preserve, and enhance the use of, New York's State Archives.

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