The Spirit of Those Times: The Constitution, Slavery, and the District of Columbia with Simon Gilhooley
Simon Gilhooley, assistant professor of political studies and American studies at Bard College, will talk about how the rise of abolitionism in the 1830s saw renewed attention to the topic of slavery in Washington, D.C. For abolitionists, slavery in the nation's capital represented a failure to live up to the standard professed in the Declaration of Independence's claim that "all men are created equal." For the advocates of slavery, attempts to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia were seen as the first steps to abolition throughout the nation and were thus to be resisted. This talk traces how the process of these debates about the U.S. Constitution and its meaning developed in important ways - both for the future of slavery in the United States and for American understandings of constitutionalism more generally. Gilhooley is a recipient of a prestigious ACLS Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year, and the USF Humanities Institute has been proud to serve as his host institution. The American Council of Learned Societies is a private, nonprofit federation of 75 national scholarly organizations and serves as the preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities and related social sciences that advances scholarship by awarding fellowships and strengthening relations among learned societies. Gilhooley received M.A.'s from Edinburgh University and the University of London, and a Ph.D. from Cornell University. His research builds upon insights from American politics and political theory in order to address issues of constitutionality and authority within the American polity.