Monday, January 3, 2011

New Book Series: The Legal History of the Civil War Era

Earlier I noted a reader on the legal history of the Civil War and Reconstruction by Christian G. Samito. It happens that he is also editing a book series for the Southern Illinois University Press, Legal History of the Civil War Era: From the Mexican War to Jim Crow. Here is the description of the series:
Abraham Lincoln identified a "new birth of freedom" during the Civil War era, when the government and people of the United States undertook the most comprehensive reconsideration of legal and political issues since the constitutional convention in 1787. Americans confronted the contours of governmental power and considered the boundaries of civil liberties during wartime. Legislation fueled national development, nationalized the monetary and banking system, and promoted both the coercive power of government, through taxation and conscription, and its role in taking care of citizens, though the provision of pensions for Civil War veterans.

Wartime experiences, and the triumph of unionism on the battlefield, allowed for the creation of a stronger nation-state. Millions of Africans Americans marched out of bondage into inclusion in a newly defined national citizenship, called for an enduring freedom, and began to enjoy civil and political rights for the first time. At the same time, a racist counter-revolution in the South sought to tamp out this new enjoyment of citizenship rights by African Americans, as well as to intimidate white Republican governments.

This exciting new series from Southern Illinois University Press is the first to focus on the rich legal history of the period from the Mexican War to Plessy v. Ferguson and Jim Crow. The series will explore legal history from different angles, ranging from presidential leadership to legislative mandates, and from judicial interpretation to the impact society had on legal development, and how law, society, and politics mixed during this period to shape American legal development. Broad topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:

* slavery
* abolitionism
* the Republican party
* civil liberties during wartime
* war powers
* economic development and modernization
* the expansion of the federal government
* Confederate legal history
* the redefinition of American citizenship
* changes in legal thought and education
* suffrage movements
* race relations
* Native Americans
* African Americans and the Union military
* rights developments during Reconstruction...
* the rise of Jim Crow

Books in the series will be written with a high scholarly caliber and will also be accessible to an interested non-academic audience. In addition to making significant contributions to historiography, these volumes will be important and relevant, often covering topics bearing on issues that continue to be debated today.

The primary audience for this series consists of professional historians, political scientists, law professors, and practicing attorneys, as well as students in undergraduate, graduate, and law school classes. The wider audience fascinated by the Civil War era and its legacy-and increasingly interested in the history of American legal development-will find these books particularly appealing as well. Although the majority of the books will be overviews and monographs, themed essay compilations and selected edited collections of papers from important legal thinkers will be welcome in the series. Ideally, books in the series will be up to 95,000 words in length and may include as many as twenty graphic images.

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