William Howard Taft and Charles Evans Hughes; the Travails and Contradictions of Progressivism within the Law: 1908-1941

The Institute for Constitutional History is pleased to announce another seminar for advanced graduate students and junior faculty:

 William Howard Taft and Charles Evans Hughes; the Travails and Contradictions of Progressivism within the Law: 1908-1941

Instructors:

Daniel R. Ernst is Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught since 1988.  He is the author of Lawyers against Labor: From Individual Rights to Corporate Liberalism (University of Illinois Press, 1995), which received the Littleton-Griswold Prize of the American Historical Association, and Tocqueville’s Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900-1940 (Oxford University Press, 2014).  He received the American Society for Legal History’s Surrency Prize in 2009 and was a Fulbright Scholar in New Zealand in 1996, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow in 2003-04, and a Law and Public Affairs Fellow at Princeton University in 2015-16.

Jonathan Lurie is a professor of history emeritus and formerly an Academic Integrity Officer at Rutgers University in Newark. He had been a member of the History Department there since 1969.   His books include: The Chicago Board of TradeLaw and The NationArming Military Justice, Pursuing Military Justice, The Slaughterhouse Cases [co-authored with Ronald Labbe], Military Justice in America, and The Chase Court.  Lurie’s fields of interest comprise legal history, military justice, constitutional law and history, and eras of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  The book on the Slaughterhouse cases received the Scribes award in 2003 as the best book written on law for that year.  In 2005, he served as a Fulbright Lecturer at Uppsala University law School in Sweden.  Lurie was the Visiting Professor of Law at West Point in 1994-1995.  He has lectured on several occasions at the United States Supreme Court. His biography of William Howard Taft was published by Cambridge University Press in 2012.   Lurie’s book on the Supreme Court and Military Justice was published late in 2013 by Sage/ CQ Publishers. He has just completed a manuscript for the University of South Carolina Press on the Taft Court (1921-1930).

Program Content:

Between them, Taft and Hughes served as Governor (H), Governor General (T); Circuit Court Judge (T), Secretary of War (T), President (T), Supreme Court Justice (H), Nominee for the Presidency (H), Secretary of State (H), Chief Justice (T), Chief Justice (H), and this list is not complete.  It indicates, however, the impressive scope of their accomplishments.  In 1916, Taft had called himself a “progressive Conservative,” while in 1935, the Taft’s biographer noted of his successor that as Chief Justice, Hughes had “ruled against capital, against labor, against the farmer and for the farmer, against Congress and for Congress, against the president and for him.”  Hughes’ biographer described him as “an old fashioned progressive.”  Alpheus Thomas Mason wrote that “Hughes’s mind was singularly devoid of ideological content or commitment.”  How had progressivism been transformed during their careers?  To what extent were both jurists “independent of rigid ideology?”  This seminar seeks to explore these questions through books, articles, and discussion.

Logistics:

The dates the seminar will meet are: February 9 and 23, and March 9 and 23; Friday afternoons from 2-5 p.m. The seminar will be held at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York City.

Application Process:

The seminar is designed for graduate students and junior faculty in history, political science, law, and related disciplines.  All participants will be expected to complete the assigned readings and participate in seminar discussions.  Although the Institute cannot offer academic credit directly for the seminar, students may be able to earn graduate credit through their home departments by completing an independent research project in conjunction with the seminar.  Please consult with your advisor and/or director of graduate studies about these possibilities.  Space is limited, so applicants should send a copy of their c.v. and a short statement on how this seminar will be useful to them in their research, teaching, or professional development.  Materials will be accepted only by email at MMarcus@nyhistory.org until December 30, 2017. Successful applicants will be notified soon thereafter.  For further information, please contact Maeva Marcus at (202) 994-6562 or send an email to MMarcus@nyhistory.org.

Additional Information:

There is no tuition or other charge for this seminar, though participants will be expected to acquire the assigned books on their own.

About ICH:

The Institute for Constitutional History (ICH) is the nation’s premier institute dedicated to ensuring that future generations of Americans understand the substance and historical development of the U.S. Constitution. Located at the New York Historical Society and the George Washington University Law School, the Institute is co-sponsored by the American Historical Association, the

 

Organization of American Historians, and the American Political Science Association.  The Association of American Law Schools is a cooperating entity. ICH prepares junior scholars and college instructors to convey to their readers and students the important role the Constitution has played in shaping American society.  ICH also provides a national forum for the preparation and dissemination of humanistic, interdisciplinary scholarship on American constitutional history.

 

Support for this seminar of the Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is provided in honor of Eric J. Wallach. The Graduate Institute for Constitutional History is supported, in part, by the Saunders Endowment for Constitutional History and a “We the People” challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

 

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