2015 Spring Symposium “Aftermath: The Consequences of the Civil War for Congress and the Federal Government”

U.S. Capitol Historical Society News

The Friday, May 8 morning and afternoon sessions have been moved to Room 902 in the Hart Senate Office Building.

The Spring 2015 annual symposium will focus on the impact of the Civil War on Congress and the Federal Government. Eight scholars will address various topics including the long range consequences for the Constitution, the economy, the federal bureaucracy, and the war’s impact on Native Americans.

The conference begins on the evening of Thursday May 7 with an opening keynote address by Professor William E. Nelson on the impact of the war on the burgeoning growth of the federal government. A reception will follow Professor Nelson’s talk. THE OPENING ADDRESS AND RECEPTION WILL BE HELD IN CONGRESSIONAL MEETING ROOM SOUTH, CAPITOL VISITOR CENTER FROM 6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM. Guests should use the main CVC entrance off of 1st St and follow the rules regarding all prohibited items.

Seven scholars will speak the following day (Friday, May 8) in morning and afternoon sessions to be held in Room 902 of the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill beginning at 8:30 AM.

2015 Symposium Program / Schedule [PDF]


This year’s symposium is made possible by a grant from American Express.

American Express Company

Jenny BourneJenny Bourne is professor of economics at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. She has previously held positions at St. Olaf College, George Mason University, and the U.S. Treasury Department. She has published in the areas of American economic history, demography, tax policy, and law. Her book on the economics of slave law was published by Cambridge University Press; her current research a study of the financial legacies left by the 37th Congress and a book manuscript on the Granger movement.

Paul FinkelmanPaul Finkelman is Senior Fellow, Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism, University of Pennsylvania, and Scholar-in-Residence, National Constitution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has published more than twenty-five books, more than one hundred and fifty articles, and numerous op-eds on the law of American slavery, the First Amendment, American race relations, American legal history, the U.S. Constitution, freedom of religion, and baseball and the law. He most recently published a biography of Millard Fillmore in the “American Presidents” series.

Lorien FooteLorien Foote is professor of history at Texas A&M University. She is the author of The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Manhood, Honor, and Violence in the Union Army (2010), which was a finalist and honorable mention for the 2011 Lincoln Prize, and Seeking the One Great Remedy: Francis George Shaw and Nineteenth-Century Reform (2003).  Her research and teaching interests are War and Society, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Nineteenth-Century American Reform Movements.  She is the creator and principal investigator of a project with the Center for Virtual History at the University of Georgia that is mapping the movement of 3000 Federal prisoners of war who escaped from the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

Adam GoodheartAdam Goodheart is a historian, essayist, and journalist. His articles have appeared in National Geographic, Outside, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine, among others, and he is a regular columnist for the Times’ acclaimed Civil War series, “Disunion.” His recent book 1861: The Civil War Awakening was named Book of the Year by the History Book Club. It was also cited among the best books of 2011 by The New York TimesThe AtlanticKirkus ReviewsSlate, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. He lives in Washington, D.C., and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where he is director of Washington College’s C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

William E. NelsonWilliam E. Nelson is the Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law at the New York University School of Law, with which he has been associated for nearly half a century, and has been an active legal historian for almost as long. He has spent more than 30 of those years as a professor. Although his specialties are Colonial American legal history and the legal history of New York, his research and writing is wide-ranging. In addition to a two-volume study, The Common Law in Colonial America, he is also the author of The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine and The Roots of American Bureaucracy, 1830-1900.

Clay RisenClay Risen is an editor at The New York Times op-ed section. Before that, he was an assistant editor at The New Republic and the founding managing editor of the noted quarterly Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. His recent freelance work has appeared in such journals as The Atlantic, Smithsonian, and The Washington Post. His first book, A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination was hailed as “compelling, original history” and “a crucial addition to civil rights history”. He is also the author of American Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye: A Guide to the Nation’s Favorite Spirit.

Scott Manning StevensScott Manning Stevens is associate professor and director of the Native American Studies Program at Syracuse University. A citizen of the Akwesasne Mohawk nation, Stevens has taught at a number of universities including Harvard, Arizona State, SUNY Buffalo, and Notre Dame, where  he also simultaneously served as the Director of Newberry Library’s D’Arcy McNickle Center for American Indian and Indigenous Studies in Chicago.

Jennifer L. WeberJennifer L. Weber (Ph.D. Princeton, 2003) is associate professor of history at the University of Kansas. She studies the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln.  Her first book, Copperheads, looked at the antiwar Democrats in the North and changed our understanding of the political pressures that Lincoln faced. Her second book, Summer’s Bloodiest Days, is a children’s book about the Battle of Gettysburg and its aftermath. Professor Weber is currently working on a biography of the agency that administered and enforced the Union draft, and what that bureau’s experience illuminates about the growing size and power of government during the war and changing social norms.