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LAWS 4437 Resistance Lawyering: The Legal Struggle to End Slavery from the Founding to the Civil War (Fall: 2.0,3 )


Course Description

In this seminar, we will trace the strategies and practices of the lawyers who fought to end slavery in the United States. Abolitionist lawyers used a myriad of tools at their disposal to resist slavery in state and federal court, in state and federal legislatures, and in the public sphere. They understood slavery as a structural legal problem embedded in culture and they used law however they could to uproot it. Moving chronologically, we will examine the ways that lawyering changed the law regarding slavery and the way that lawyering changed in response to changes in the law. Throughout, we will attend to the ways in which understanding resistance lawyering in the past can inform our answers to questions about the problems and promises of resistance lawyering in the present. The primary graded work in the course will consist of weekly response papers with a short final paper. Students will also have the option to complete a longer research paper for a third credit.


Instructor(s): Daniel Farbman

Prerequisites: None

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Last Updated: 12-Apr-17