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David Konig

Emeritus Professor of Law and History

David Konig remains a member of the Law faculty after taking emeritus status as Professor of History. In his continuing position as an Adjunct Professor of Law, he directs doctoral dissertations in comparative law for the Law School’s JSD program. His academic career has been guided by the conviction that a great university must have a great law school at its intellectual center, generating interdisciplinary research into social and economic issues that can inform and guide policy, protect individual liberties, and achieve justice. Trained as a historian, he is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in Anglo-American legal history, with a focus on property law, the Second Amendment, and the law of freedom and slavery. He is a leading authority on Thomas Jefferson and the development of law in colonial, Revolutionary, and early national America. The author or editor of several books and numerous articles, Professor Konig has served as an expert witness or consultant in cases concerning property rights before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. In addition, he has contributed to amicus briefs in Second Amendment cases before the Supreme Court of the United States. A former Senior Research Fellow for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, he co-directed the restoration of a colonial-era courthouse and developed curatorial and educational materials for programs that are seen by thousands yearly. Prof. Konig has consulted on editorial projects to preserve and edit papers of the Salem witchcraft trials as well as student notebooks at the nation’s first law school in Litchfield, Connecticut. He is among the nation’s leading authorities on the formative years of American law and has edited the legal papers of Thomas Jefferson for The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and is completing a book on Jefferson’s legal thought and practice. Professor Konig also is the co-editor and author of a book on the Dred Scott case, examining race and the law from historical and contemporary perspectives. He was part of the team that launched the Missouri Freedom Suits project that has inspired books and articles that have opened a new frontier in the history of the struggle for civil rights. Named an honorary Corresponding Member of the Massachusetts Historical Society, he has served on numerous prize committees and editorial boards in legal scholarship and has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Society for Legal History.

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