Robert J. Cottrol

Portrait of Robert J. Cottrol
Harold Paul Green Research Professor of Law
2000 H Street, NW
Washington, District Of Columbia 20052
[email protected]

Robert J. Cottrol joined the law school faculty in 1995 as a visiting professor of law of legal history. Previously, he taught at Rutgers University and Boston College, and had visited at the University of Virginia. As well as specializing in American legal history, Professor Cottrol has also taught torts and criminal law. His writings on law and history have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Georgetown Law Journal, American Journal of Legal History, Law and Society Review, Slavery and Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies and American Quarterly, among others.

He is the author of The Afro-Yankees: Providence’s Black Community in the Antebellum Era (selected by Choice as an outstanding academic book for 1983), editor of Gun Control and the Constitution: Sources and Explorations on the Second Amendment (Book of the Month selection by the History Book Club), and From African to Yankee: Narratives of Slavery and Freedom in Antebellum New England (1998). Professor Cottrol’s book Brown v. Board of Education: Caste, Culture and the Constitution (2003) won the Langum Project Prize for Historical Literature in 2003 and was a “Book-of-the-Month” selection of the History Book Club. Most recently, he has authored The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere (2013).

He is currently doing research contrasting the role of law in the development of systems of slavery and racial hierarchy in the United States and Latin America. He has lectured on American law at the Federal Universities of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and the University of Buenos Aires and La Universidad del Museo Social in Argentina.



BA, PhD, Yale University; JD, Georgetown University

In the News

"Gregory Clay: What Does 'Well Regulated' Really Mean? (Daily Mail)"

April 29, 2018

Robert J. Cottrol is quoted in The Charleston Gazette-Mail about the meaning of "well regulated."

"What Does the Second Amendment's 'Well Regulated' Really Mean?"

April 13, 2018

Robert J. Cottrol is quoted in the Sun-Sentinel on whether the Second Amendment should be repealed.

"Vicious Shootings Intensify. Where Can We Control Guns in the United States?" (In Chinese)

December 18, 2017

Robert J. Cottrol is quoted by China Radio International about the black market of guns and background checks.

"Las Vegas Shooting Spurs Gun-Control Calls, But 'Don't Hold Your Breath' For Reforms"

October 04, 2017

Robert J. Cottrol is quoted in CBC News about the Las Vegas massacre and the gun debate. 

"Appeals Court Leaves Ruling in Place That Declared DC Concealed-Carry Law Unconstitutional"

October 03, 2017

Robert J. Cottrol is quoted in The Whim about a case that could affect gun laws.