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First published in 1858 and unavailable since the 1970s, An Inquiry into the Law of Negro Slavery in the United States of America was the first and only treatise published by a southern author on slavery law. Thomas R. R. Cobb, often referred to as “the James Madison of the Confederacy,” was an ardent secessionist and a prominent lawyer in antebellum Georgia.
The work, based on extensive scholarship on the Roman law of slavery and racist to the core, fully explicates the southern defense of slavery. An important practical manual for legal practitioners and judges at the time of its publication and an essential tool for scholars and students of slavery and legal history ever since, the work is also the most significant summary of proslavery legal theory.
Thomas R. R. Cobb (1823–1862) was a leader of the Georgia bar, a prominent figure in southern legal education, a key legal theorist of the secession movement, and the central figure in the writing of the Confederate Constitution. Rising to the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate army, Cobb died in battle.