Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series | University of West Florida
Skip to main content

Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series

red buildings silhouetted against a blue background with the words

The Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series fosters dialogue about First Amendment issues and is made possible by a generous gift from the Jane G. and Fred K. Seligman Endowment.


About the Series

Since its inception in 2009, the Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series has fostered dialogue about First Amendment issues by uniting the University and local community in meaningful conversation. We aim not only to promote a robust discussion, but, like the freedoms protected in the United States, we hope this opportunity for free discussion will also promote understanding and friendship among our fellow citizens.

This lecture series is made possible by a generous gift from the Jane G. and Fred K. Seligman Endowment. As a Jewish émigré from Nazi Germany in 1934, Fred Seligman cherished the freedoms protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Having experienced the challenges of a nation at war, Fred Seligman understood the dilemmas that nations like the United States face in protecting these freedoms. While conscious that our liberties are always fragile, Mr. Seligman believed that the continued protection of freedom requires strong institutions of government respected by its citizens. The hope of the Seligman family is that this series will foster a deeper discussion among the community, faculty and students; particularly as the students prepare to lead in a world in which they may have to discern what is right and just.


A bald eagle and gavel in front of the U.S. Constitution
The Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series will be held Feb. 15, 2023.

Feb. 15, “Talking Insurrection” with Dr. Mark Graber

Feb. 15, “Talking Insurrection” with Dr. Mark Graber

The University of West Florida Reubin O’D. Askew Department of Government presents the Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series. 

Join us Feb. 15 as Dr. Mark Graber presents, “Talking Insurrection."

Dr. Graber is a regents professor of government at the University of Maryland. He is recognized as one of the leading scholars in the country on constitutional law and politics. 

Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment declares “No person shall . . . have any office . . . under the United States, or under any State,” who having previously taken an oath . . as an officer of the United States . . . to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies therein.  Courts in the contemporary United States have disqualified under Section 3 persons who physically participated in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, but have so far refrained from disqualifying persons who merely supported or encouraged that insurrection.

This talk will explore the scope of Section Three disqualification for insurrectionary speech in light of the predominant understandings of free speech and insurrection at the time Section Three was ratified.  Evidence suggests that during the Civil War and Reconstruction most legal authorities did not think the First Amendment protected speech encouraging or supporting an insurrection, and that persons who engaged in such speech were disqualified from present and future office under Section Three.  The talk will conclude with a discussion of whether and to what extent we ought to be guided by Civil War understandings in a time when constitutional protections for free speech are much broader and the constitutional understanding of participating in an insurrection much narrower.

The Seligman First Amendment Lecture Series fosters dialogue about First Amendment issues by uniting the University and local community in meaningful conversation.

The program will be held Feb. 15 at Voices of Pensacola, 117 E Government St, Pensacola. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m. with the talk beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited and will be on a first-come basis. 

This lecture series is made possible by a generous gift from the Jane G. and Fred K. Seligman Endowment. As a Jewish émigré from Nazi Germany in 1934, Fred Seligman cherished the freedoms protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. 

For questions or additional information, contact cassh@uwf.edu or govt@uwf.edu