Skip to Main Content

The Crooked Path to Abolition with James Oakes | BRI Scholar Talks

How were the Civil War and the question of slavery related to differing interpretations of a pro-slavery or anti-slavery Constitution? In this video, two-time Lincoln Prize winner, James Oakes, and BRI Senior Teaching Fellow Tony Williams discuss his new book, “The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution.” Oakes explores what role the Constitution played in abolishing slavery and how the Civil War accelerated this process. Why did Lincoln view the Constitution as an anti-slavery document? In what ways were Lincoln’s opinions different from his contemporaries? In what ways were they similar?