Cynthia L. Nicoletti

  • Professor of Law
  • Professor of History

Cynthia Nicoletti is a legal historian and professor of law at Virginia Law. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the William Nelson Cromwell Prize for the best dissertation in legal history, awarded by the American Society for Legal History in 2011. Her book, Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis, won the 2018 Cromwell Book Prize, given by the William Nelson Cromwell Foundation each year for excellence in scholarship to an early career scholar working in the field of American legal history.


  • J.D.
    Harvard Law School
  • Ph.D.
    University of Virginia
  • M.A.
    University of Virginia
  • B.A.
    University of Virginia

“The Rise and Fall of Transcendent Constitutionalism in the Civil War Era,”  106 Va. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming).

Secession on Trial: The Treason Prosecution of Jefferson Davis (Cambridge University Press, 2017).

“The Disputed Legality of the Emancipation Proclamation, 1862-1865” (under review).

“State Equality and Inequality Under the Constitution” (in progress).

“Reimagining the Union: The Contours of Federalism in the Aftermath of the Civil War” (in progress). 


“Writing the Social History of Legal Doctrine,” 64 Buff. L. Rev. 121 (2016).
HeinOnline (PDF)

Book Review, 5 J. Civil War Era 330 (2015) (reviewing William A. Blair, With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era (2014)).

“Strategic Litigation and the Death of Reconstruction,” in Signposts: New Directions in Southern Legal History, eds. Sally Hadden and Patricia Minter (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2013).

“The American Civil War as a Trial by Battle,” Law & Hist. Rev. 28 (February 2010): 71.

“Did Secession Really Die at Appomattox?: The Strange Case of U.S. v. Jefferson Davis,”U. Tol. L. Rev. 41 (2010): 587.

The Road Not Taken After the Civil War

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