An updated and expanded revision of a popular book published in 1981, American Political Trials examines the role of politicized criminal trials and impeachments in U.S. history from the early colonial era to the late 20th century. Each chapter focuses on a trial representative of a particular era in the American past. The emphasis is on cases that resulted from political persecution, but the book also shows how defendants have exploited the judicial process to advance their political objectives. All of the chapters appearing in the earlier book have been updated. In addition, the volume includes new chapters on the 1637 trial of Anne Hutchinson and the 1989 trial of Lt. Col. Oliver North for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal. The book also includes an updated bibliographical essay.
MICHAL R. BELKNAP is Professor of Law at California Western School of Law and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego. The author of Cold War Political Justice and Federal Law and Southern Order, his most recent book is To Improve the Administration of Justice: A History of the American Judicature Society.