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Legal historian discusses Lincoln's quest to abolish slavery

Loyola press release - November 4, 2013

The Loyola University New Orleans College of Law will present a free lecture by American historian and legal scholar Paul Finkelman, Ph.D., on how Abraham Lincoln, once a railroad lawyer, eventually became known as the “great emancipator.” The lecture, presented by Loyola’s Biever Guest Lectures Series, takes place Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the College of Law, room 308. It is free and open to the public.

Finkelman will discuss the constitutional, political and military constraints on President Lincoln leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation. The “How a Railroad Lawyer Became the Great Emancipator: Abraham Lincoln and the Constitutional Limitations on Emancipation” lecture will contrast his personal, deep hatred of slavery with his obligations as president and commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and his responsibilities under the Constitution. Finkelman will consider the various answers to the question, “Who freed the slaves?” He will also discuss and explore the 2012 Academy Award-winning movie, “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

Finkelman is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles​ and more t​han 30 books, including “Millard Fillmore;” “Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson;” “The Political Lincoln;” “A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States;” and “Slavery in the Courtroom,” which won the Joseph L. Andrews Award from the American Association of Law Librarians. One of the most cited legal historians, he has been featured in The New York Times, The​ Washington Post, USA Today and The Huffington Pos​t. He was also the lead expert witness in the lawsuit over the ownership of Barry Bonds' 73rd home run ball in the case of Popov v. Hayashi.

Finkelman serves as the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy as well as a senior fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School. He has been an expert witness in cases involving religious freedom, civil and voting rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has cited his work in cases involving religion, the Second Amendment and affirmative action.

For more information, contact James Shields in the Office of Public Affairs at 504-861-5888.