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University Relations
800 Hotz Hall
University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701

479.575.5555
FAX 479.575.4745

urelinfo@cavern.uark.edu

 
FOR RELEASE: Thursday, November 08, 2007

Law Professor Publishes Article, Assumes Editorial Position

Mark R. Killenbeck, the Wylie H. Davis Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas, published an article titled "Context and Content: The Enduring Importance of M'Culloch v. Maryland."  It appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Historically Speaking, a journal published by The Historical Society.  In addition, Killenbeck was named a contributing editor and plans to write more articles for the publication.

Killenbeck's article explains the historical effects of the M'Culloch decision in the fabric of American history.  In that landmark 1819 case the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the authority to create the Second Bank of the United States, and said that states could not interfere with the bank's activities. The decision set parameters for judicial review by the Supreme Court, and made it clear that the powers of the federal government, expressed or implied in the Constitution, over-ruled the powers of the states.

Don Yerxa, editor of Historically Speaking, solicited the article after noticing an advertisement in the University Press of Kansas' catalog for Killenbeck's book on the same subject, M'Culloch V. Maryland: Securing a Nation (Landmark Law Cases and American Society).  

"I have been wanting to emphasize more legal history in the pages of Historically Speaking," Yerxa said. "Killenbeck's study of this landmark Supreme Court decision that essentially defined the nature and scope of federal authority in relation to the states seemed like it might lend itself to an interesting brief essay."

Killenbeck agreed.  He said he had been exploring different ways of distributing information about the historic case when Yerxa approached him.

"M'Culloch is one of the most important decisions ever issued by the Supreme Court," Killenbeck said.  "Historically Speaking is an excellent journal, and I thought it would be a good idea to publish there.  It presented an opportunity to reach a different audience."

The Historical Society conducts activities that are intellectually profitable, providing a forum where economic, political, intellectual, social and other historians can exchange ideas and contribute to each other's work. Its goal is also to promote a scholarly history that is accessible to the public.

Evan Bukey, a University of Arkansas professor of history since 1969, said The Historical Society was formed to revitalize the study and teaching of history in a method free from division and over-specialization.   According to its Web site, the organization was established on the grounds of promoting "frank debate in an atmosphere of civility, mutual respect and common courtesy."

Bukey also said Historically Speaking has caught fire through the United States and Killenbeck's article helps put the University of Arkansas on the map.

"The Historical Society focuses on the core of what is important in diplomatic, political, military and social history," he said.  "By publishing this article, Mark is transcending the legal profession and explaining the historical significance of a very important case."

Yerxa agreed and said the journal is geared toward non-specialists and features written essays, forums and exchanges with many leading historians from all over the world.

"Historians, teachers and interested general readers can get a good overview of what's happening in history from reading Historically Speaking," Yerxa said.  "Many of our readers tell us the journal is a must-read historically oriented publication."

Killenbeck and Yerxa plan on working together in the future and have discussed a series of essays on important and interesting legal cases in American history.  

"Mark is performing a wonderful service to our readers," Yerxa said, "and now he is on the masthead of Historically Speaking as a contributing editor."