Alison LaCroix - "Interbellum Constitution" - Jennifer Pitts

Tuesday, October 15, 2024 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Alison LaCroix - "Interbellum Constitution" - Jennifer Pitts

Alison LaCroix will discuss The Interbellum Constitution: Union, Commerce, and Slavery in the Age of Federalisms

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the Book: Between 1815 and 1861, American constitutional law and politics underwent a profound transformation. These decades of the Interbellum Constitution were a foundational period of both constitutional crisis and creativity.

The Interbellum Constitution was a set of widely shared legal and political principles, combined with a thoroughgoing commitment to investing those principles with meaning through debate. Each of these shared principles—commerce, concurrent power, and jurisdictional multiplicity—concerned what we now call “federalism,” meaning that they pertain to the relationships among multiple levels of government with varying degrees of autonomy. Alison L. LaCroix argues, however, that there existed many more federalisms in the early nineteenth century than today’s constitutional debates admit.

As LaCroix shows, this was a period of intense rethinking of the very basis of the U.S. national model—a problem debated everywhere, from newspapers and statehouses to local pubs and pulpits, ultimately leading both to civil war and to a new, more unified constitutional vision. This book is the first that synthesizes the legal, political, and social history of the early nineteenth century to show how deeply these constitutional questions dominated the discourse of the time.

About the Author: Alison L. LaCroix is a historian and lawyer who studies American constitutional law, federalism, and political ideas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Since 2006, she has been a member of the faculty of the University of Chicago, where she is currently the Robert Newton Reid Professor of Law and an Associate Member of the History Department. In 2021, President Biden appointed her to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States.

Professor LaCroix’s first book, The Ideological Origins of American Federalism, was published by Harvard University Press in 2010. She teaches constitutional law, legal history, civil procedure, law and linguistics, and federal courts.

About the Interlocutor: Jennifer Pitts is Professor of Political Science and the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her research interests lie in the fields of modern political and international thought, particularly British and French thought of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; empire; the history of international law; and global justice. She is the author of Boundaries of the International (Harvard 2018), and the co-editor, with Adom Getachew, of W.E.B. Du Bois, International Thought (Cambridge University Press, 2022).

Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op
5751 S. Woodlawn Ave.
Chicago, IL 60615