Emancipation and the Laws of War (Yale University)

James Oakes and John Witt talked about their books on the process of Emancipation during the Civil War. James Oakes argued that contrary to conventional narratives, the destruction of slavery was a Republican goal from the beginning of the war. John Witt spoke about the world’s first pamphlet style “laws of war” code written by Lincoln advisor and legal scholar Francis Lieber in 1862 and 1863. Witt argued that the “Lieber Code” was written to help justify emancipation as a military necessity, and that the code has been a source for international laws of war ever since. The discussion was moderated by David Blight.