David T. Konig

Professor of Law; Professor of History


B.A. 1968, New York University   
M.A. 1969, Harvard University
Ph.D 1973, Harvard University

Curriculum Vitae




Nancy Cummings - (314) 935-7967

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-9113
E-mail: dtkonig@artsci.wustl.edu 


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 589

Courses Taught

American Legal History


Professor David Thomas Konig 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 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. 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 currently editing the legal papers of Thomas Jefferson for The Papers of Thomas Jefferson and writing a book on Jefferson’s legal thought and practice, Nature’s Advocate: Thomas Jefferson and the Discovery of American Law. Professor Konig also is the co-editor and author of a book on the Dred Scott case, which originated here in St. Louis. The book examines race and the law from historical and contemporary perspectives. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the William Nelson Cromwell Fund, and the International Center for Jefferson Studies. Professor Konig is the recipient of several teaching awards, including Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award.

[view] Professor Konig's History Department Profile

Representative Publications

Recent Books

  • The Dred Scott Case: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law (contributor and co-editor with P. Finkelman & C.A. Bracey), Ohio University Press (2010)

Recent Articles and Essays

  • Heller, History, and Norms: The Judicial Invention of Tradition,” 53 Northeastern University Law Journal 175 (2011)
  • “James Madison and Common-Law Constitutionalism,” 28 Law and History Review 507 (2010)
  • “Thomas Jefferson and Whig Lawyering,” in John Adams and Thomas Jefferson: Libraries, Leadership, and Legacy (eds. C.E. Wright and R. Baron), Massachusetts Historical Society/Fulcrum (2010)
  • “Why the Second Amendment Has a Preamble: Original Public Meaning and the Political Culture of Revolutionary America,” 56 UCLA Law Review 1295 (2009)

Forthcoming Scholarship

  • "Americanization of the Common Law: The Great Migration Meets the Intellectual Migration," review essay, Chicago-Kent Law Review (forthcoming)
  • "John Adams, Constitution Monger," in Constitutions and Classics (ed. D. Galligan), Oxford University Press (2014)
  • “The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: The Legal Commonplace Book,” The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton University Press (second series, forthcoming)
  • Nature’s Advocate: Thomas Jefferson and the Discovery of American Law 

Representative Scholarship

  • Devising Liberty: Creating and Preserving Freedom in the New American Republic (ed. and co-author, D. Konig) Stanford University Press (1995)
  • Law and Society in Puritan Massachusetts. Essex County, 1626-1693, University of North Carolina Press (1979) (Nominated for the Merle Curti Prize in American Social History, of the Organization of American Historians)
  • The Plymouth Court Records, 1686-1859: The Records of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas and the Court of General Sessions of the Peace. Introduction and Volumes I-III: General Sessions, 1686-1781; Common Pleas, 1688-1702 (ed. D. Konig; 16 vols.) Michael Glazier (1978–81)