Readings in American Legal History
By Mark de Wolfe Howe
2001/02 - Beard Books
1587980940 - Paperback - Reprint - 541 pp.
Presents a rich panoply of judicial opinions, statutes, and essays concerning the history of American legal institutions and thought up to the Civil War and the relationship between English tradition and American aspirations.
Presents a rich panoply of judicial opinions, statutes, and essays concerning the history of American legal institutions and thought. It deals primarily with problems of the growth of American law up to the Civil War and the relationship between English tradition and American aspirations. The book concentrates on two periods -- the 17th century, when an articulate and sophisticated Puritanism in Massachusetts profoundly influenced the roots of American law, and the period 1790 to 1820, when international politics and burgeoning federalism called for the adaptation of old principles and the formulation of new rules of law to meet the needs of the nation. The final chapter treats the problem of codification, the effort which began at the opening of the 19th century to eliminate common law and substitute statutory law. The collection as a whole aims less to familiarize the reader with the details of American legal history than to give him a broad understanding of what the important questions were. While it is of obvious value to teachers and students of legal history, it will also prove enlightening to historians and students of government, social studies, and American civilization.
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Mark DeWolfe Howe was secretary to Mr. Justice Holmes, 1933-1934. He was Holmes's authorized biographer and had access to all of his correspondence and personal papers. He was Professor of Law at Harvard University and a civil rights activist.
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