Bancroft Library Roundtable: California's Place in Anti-Slavery Litigation on the Eve of the Civil War
Lecture | March 15 | 12-1 p.m. | Faculty Club, Lewis-Latimer Room
Alexandra Havrylyshyn, J.D. and Ph.D. candidate, Jurisprudence and Social Policy, and Bancroft Library Study Award recipient, UC Berkeley
Between 1846 and 1851 New Orleans trial judge John McHenry ruled in favor of nearly twenty enslaved petitioners who sought freedom on the basis of having touched free soil. These rulings directly contravened Louisiana state legislation, but McHenry reasoned that they were in keeping with higher sources of law: constitutional, federal, and international. He migrated to California, and his personal and legal papers are now preserved in The Bancroft Library. Havrylyshyn's presentation will explore McHenry's political identification and the ways that anti-slavery litigation influenced California before the start of the Civil War.