Ipse Dixit


Seth Barrett Tillman on the Jacob Henry and the Meaning of "Office" in 1809

Season 1, Ep. 434

In this episode, Seth Barrett Tillman, Lecturer in the Maynooth University Department of Law, discusses his draft article, "New Sources on the 1809 Motion to Vacate Jacob Henry's North Carolina State Legislative Seat." Tillman begins by explaining that Jacob Henry was a Jew elected to the North Carolina legislature in 1808 and again in 1809, when another legislator invoked the North Carolina Constitution's religious test against him. Tillman describes the different arguments raised by Henry, including that a legislative seat was not an "office" under the Constitution, which other historians have called "far-fetched." Tillman uses existing and newly-discovered evidence to show that the legislature appears to have found the argument compelling, and reflects on the possibility that the effort to remove Henry may actually have represented the beginnings of a move to eliminate the religious test. Tillman is on Twitter at @SethBTillman.

This episode was hosted by Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at @brianlfrye.

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