Albany in the Life Trajectory of Robert H. Jackson
26 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2005
Date Written: June 2005
Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954) became, in his adult years, a great lawyer in New York State, a key New Dealer, the Solicitor General, the Attorney General, a Supreme Court Justice and, following Germany's military defeat in 1945, the architect of and the chief United States prosecutor of Nazi war criminals at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.
Before all of that, Jackson was a farm boy, a rural high school graduate (but never a college student), a law apprentice and a neophyte in Democratic Party politics. For young Jackson, a gateway city to all that he later became was Albany, the governmental, legal and political capital of New York State.
This article explores Jackson's Albany experiences and influences. For Jackson, "Albany" included his initial introduction there to the freshman state senator who became FDR; Jackson's education and experiences as a student at Albany Law School during academic year 1911-1912; his returns to Albany as a lawyer, litigator and advisor to Governor Roosevelt; Jackson's contemplated returns to Albany via election to the state bench or state executive office; and his returns as an alumnus (of sorts) to Albany Law School, including to deliver in June 1941 a commencement address that outlined in early form the global legal task that Jackson himself later performed at Nuremberg.
Keywords: Jackson, Albany, Roosevelt, Albany Law School, ice skating, Barnette, McKinley, female law students, Truman, Hoover, Nuremberg
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