Civil War 150th Anniversary Books: Lawyers and Their Legal Battles

CHICAGO, April 22, 2011 — Lawyers fought the Civil War before the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter, two new books show.

“Civil War Lawyers: Constitutional Questions, Courtroom Dramas, and the Men Behind Them” explores crucial Supreme Court arguments, presidential decisions on constitutional issues, and tense courtroom dramas that took place during the Civil War period, where presidents struggled with the legalities of their actions. The 454-page book includes more than 100 biographies of Civil War lawyers, a look at the cases in which the lawyers crossed paths before the war, a detailed timeline of Civil War events, period photos and editorial cartoons.

Arthur T. Downey, a former Georgetown University Law Center adjunct professor, wrote the book after studying and lecturing on the often-overlooked legal issues during the Civil War. Downey says the book “demonstrates the importance of law and lawyers” during the war, which marks its 150th anniversary in April.

Using lessons from Abraham Lincoln’s pre-presidential career as a lawyer and his eventual role as president, “Lincoln’s Counsel: Lessons From America’s Most Persuasive Speaker” educates readers on the art of persuasion. Written by Arthur L. Rizer III, the book includes complete text of some of Lincoln’s greatest speeches, including his inaugurations, the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation.

Rizer, a Georgetown University adjunct professor, brings a unique perspective as a practicing trial lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice. Inspired by Lincoln’s former stint as a soldier, Rizer—a soldier as well—became particularly intrigued by Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. What began as a short article evolved into the 264 pages that comprise “Lincoln’s Counsel.”

Ideal for the Civil War enthusiast, Lincoln fan, student or lawyer, the books are $34.95 each; $29.95 for members of the _.  Purchased together, buyers receive an additional 10 percent off.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world.  As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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Media Contact: Martha Heil (202.662.1096 / martha.heil@americanbar.org)

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