College of Law

Stranahan Lecture Series


Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Noon-1 pm
McQuade Law Auditorium


Professor Kurt Lash

“A Troubled Birth of Freedom: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Secure the Victory of the Civil War”

Professor Kurt T. Lash
E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Chair in Law
The University of Richmond School of Law

The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified in 1868 during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. Today, the Fourteenth Amendment remains one of the most historically important and controversial elements of the Constitution. Key clauses define citizenship and outline the rights and protections of persons, including equal protection under the law and due process.

Professor Kurt Lash of the University of Richmond will discuss the Fourteenth Amendment’s historical context, the legal thinking behind its drafting, the struggle to reach agreement in the 39th Congress, challenges during ratification, questions over whether the ratification votes of the southern states should be counted, and the (partial) revolution in constitutional structure effected by the Amendment.

“The Fourteenth Amendment was central to making sure that the wrongs ended by the Civil War didn’t return,” said Professor Lee J. Strang. “It’s appropriate that Professor Lash is delivering this spring’s Stranahan Lecture on the 100th anniversary of the Fourteenth Amendment. Professor Lash is an expert on the Fourteenth Amendment, and he’s going to shed light on the Amendment’s background and continuing importance to American life. From marriage to gun rights, and affirmative action to welfare, Americans debate the Amendment’s impact today. Professor Lash’s lecture is sure to spark debate and conversation.”

Lash is one of the nation’s leading scholars on constitutional law and history. He is the founder and director of the Richmond Program on the American Constitution. Professor Lash’s books include The Reconstruction Amendments: Essential Documents (two volumes) (under contract with University of Chicago Press), The American First Amend­ment in the Twenty-first Century: Cases and Materials (Foundation Press, 2014) (with Van Alstyne), The Fourteenth Amendment and the Privileges or Immunities of American Citizenship (Cambridge University Press, 2014), and The Lost History of the Ninth Amendment (Oxford University Press, 2009).

The free, public lecture is a part of the Stranahan National Issues Forum and is sponsored by the College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. Food and drink will be provided.

Past Speakers


For questions about the Stranahan Lecture Series, please contact Professor Lee J. Strang.

Last Updated: 2/14/18