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Professor Helfman Participates in Commercial Republicanism Conference

Posted on Tuesday 12/6/2016
Tara Helfman

Associate Professor of Law Tara Helfman recently participated in a conference organized by the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions.  The conference, which was attended by historians and political philosophers from Europe and the United States, focused on the historical development of commercial republicanism.  

Professor Helfman moderated a panel on the invention of commercial sociability and participated in a panel on commercial republics and the international order.  She presented her research on the attempts of Robert Thorpe, Chief Justice of the Court of Vice Admiralty at Sierra Leone, to internationalize the British abolition of the slave trade during the early nineteenth century.  Drawing on archival sources, Professor Helfman showed how Thorpe worked in conjunction with the West Africa Squadron to bring "exemplary justice" to a "diabolical traffick" in human beings.