Siddali, Silvana R.

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Siddali, Silvana R.


Education: Massachusetts College of Art, B.F.A., 1984; Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.M. 1989; Harvard University, A.M., 1993, Ph.D., 1999.


Office—Department of History, St. Louis University, 3800 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer, educator. St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, associate professor of history.


Newberry Library Center for Great Lakes Culture fellowship, 2002; Gilder-Lehrman Institute fellowship, 2003; J. Everett Helm fellowship, Indiana University, 2003; St. Louis Mercantile Library fellowship, 2003; National Endowment for the Humanities stipend, 2003; Bentley Historical Library grant, University of Michigan, 2004; State Historical Society of Iowa Research and Publication grant, 2005.


From Property to Person: Slavery and the Confiscation Acts, 1861-1862, Louisiana State University Press (Baton Rouge, LA), 2005.

(Editor) Missouri's War: The Civil War in Documents, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2008.

Contributor to periodicals, including History of Education Quarterly and American Nineteenth Century History.


Silvana R. Siddali writes widely about the political, social, and military history of the United States during the nineteenth century. In From Property to Person: Slavery and the Confiscation Acts, 1861-1862, Siddali argues that the First and Second Confiscation Acts, which authorized the seizure of Confederate personal property, including slaves, led to profound changes in the American conception of private property rights, civil liberties, and individual rights. According to Historian critic Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, "Siddali adeptly guides readers through the complexity and nuances of the framing, passage, and enforcement of the Confiscation Acts, demonstrating how the very survival of the nation necessitated a reinterpretation of property rights."

From Property to Person received generally strong reviews. "The work's strength lies in the detailed analysis of the Congressional debates that plagued the political parties and the personal consciences of party members," Timothy Westcott remarked in an H-Net review. "Siddali presents an excellent representation of the initial stages of the tension within the Republican Party that would be exacerbated during Reconstruction." H-Net reviewer Paul Christopher Westcott noted that, to Siddali, "what the Confiscations Acts did was far less important than the meaningful debates they provoked." Westcott added, "Siddali argues that the laws were a signally important—if heretofore overlooked—way by which Americans came to grips with slavery and the Constitution. The Congressional debates became both wedge and crucible." In the words of Journal of Southern History critic Mark Tushnet, "Siddali's important contribution illuminates the policy debate over confiscation and, when read carefully, also sheds light on the way in which the nation's understanding of the Constitution's protection of property rights was transformed."



American Historical Review, February, 2006, James L. Huston, review of From Property to Person: Slavery and the Confiscation Acts, 1861-1862, p. 183.

American Journal of Legal History, July, 2005, R. Owen Williams, review of From Property to Person, p. 314.

Historian, spring, 2007, Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, review of From Property to Person, p. 122.

Journal of American History, March, 2006, Michael W. Fitzgerald, review of From Property to Person, p. 1439.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, summer, 2006, Mark Grimsley, review of From Property to Person, p. 135.

Journal of Southern History, May, 2006, Mark Tushnet, review of From Property to Person, p. 474.

Law and History Review, fall, 2006, James W. Ely, Jr., review of From Property to Person, p. 687.

Law and Social Inquiry, fall, 2005, review of From Property to Person, p. 859.


H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (September, 2005), Timothy Westcott, "A Collision concerning the Rights of Property," review of From Property to Person; (March, 2006), Paul Christopher Westcott, "From History's Grave to Historian's Cradle," review of From Property to Person.

St. Louis University Web site, (May 10, 2008), biography of Silvana R. Siddali.