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Joseph Parker Prize Paper J. Witt, J. Langbein, C. Priest Best paper on a subject connected with legal history or Roman law


Under Union occupation, a narrow majority of white men in Maryland voted to adopt a new constitution abolishing slavery on November 1, 1864. On the eve of the Thirteenth Amendment’s approval by Congress, Maryland’s new constitution promised freedom to the state’s 87,000 enslaved men and women, nearly 50,000 of whom were 20 years old or younger. But no sooner had the constitution gone into effect than Maryland’s slaveholding class turned to the state’s apprenticeship law—which allowed state courts to order any black child “bound as an apprentice to some white person to learn to labor” until adulthood—as a means of re-enslaving newly freed young people.

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