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Tom Missel
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Office of Communications 
St. Bonaventure University 
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More News

Paul Finkelman, PhD., to give talk about Lincoln and the evolution of the Emancipation Proclamation

Jan 21, 2014 |

Paul Finkelman, Ph.D., an expert in American legal history, race and the law, will visit the St. Bonaventure University campus to discuss how Abraham Lincoln came to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

Finkelman’s talk is titled “How a Railroad Lawyer Became the Great Emancipator: Abraham Lincoln, The Emancipation Proclamation, and Spielberg’s Movie” and begins at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the amphitheater of the William F. Walsh Science Center.

The program is free and open to the public.

Finkelman will show the evolution of Lincoln’s thinking on freedom and the changing constitutional understandings during the Civil War. He will also explain why the central moment of the Civil War and American history since the Revolutionary Period was the Emancipation Proclamation, and not the debate over the Thirteenth Amendment, as portrayed in the movie “Lincoln.”

A specialist in American legal history, constitutional law, race and the law, and First Amendment issues, Finkelman is the author of more than 150 scholarly articles​ and 30 books. His op-eds and shorter pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the ​Washington Post, USA Today, and on the Huffington Pos​t. He has appeared in programs on C-Span, PBS, and the History Channel, and he was recently na​med the ninth most cited legal historian, according to Brian Leieter’s Law School Rankings.

He has written extensively on Thomas Jefferson and on Abraham Lincoln. Finkelman was the chief expert witness in the Alabama Ten Commandments monument case and his scholarship on religious monuments in public spaces was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in Van Orden v. Perry (2005). His scholarship on the Second Amendment has also been cited by the Supreme Court. In 2002, he was a key expert witness in the suit over who owned Barry Bonds’ 73rd home run ball.

Finkelman is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School and gave a talk at St. Bonaventure last semester as the Lenna Visiting Professor. This semester Finkelman is the Justice Pike Hall, Jr. Visiting Professor of Law at the Paul M. Hebert Law Center at Louisiana State University.



About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.     

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