John Fabian Witt

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John Fabian Witt is Allen H. Duffy Class of 1960 Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He is the author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History,[1] which won the 2013 Bancroft Prize in history of the Americas[2] and, in 2020, American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19.[3]


Witt received his B.A., his J.D., and his Ph.D, all from Yale. In 2001, he was awarded the John Addison Porter Prize for "The Accidental Republic: Amputee Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law, 1866-1922."[4] Before returning to teach at Yale, he was the George Welwood Murray Professor of Legal History at Columbia University. In 2007, he criticized the historical basis of John Yoo's theories.[5] In April 2017, Witt was named the head of Davenport College, one of Yale's 14 residential colleges.


  1. ^ Witt, John Fabian (2012). Lincoln's Code: The Laws of War in American History, New York: Free Press. ISBN 9781416569831 WorldCat item record
  2. ^ Columbia University Library, 2013 Bancroft Winners Announced. [1] accessed 27 June 2013.
  3. ^ American Contagions: Epidemics and the Law from Smallpox to COVID-19. Description & scrollable preview. Yale University Press. ISBN 20978-0-300-25727-4. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  4. ^ Porter and Field Prize Winner History
  5. ^ Witt, John Fabian (2007). "Anglo-American Empire and the Crisis of the Legal Frame (Will the Real British Empire Please Stand Up?)" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 120: 754. Retrieved 30 October 2017.

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