Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Failures of American Methods of Lawmaking in Historical and Comparative Perspectives by In this book, James R. Maxeiner takes on the challenge of demonstrating that historically American law makers did consider a statutory methodology as part of formulating laws. In the nineteenth century, when the people wanted laws they could understand, lawyers inflicted judge-made, statute-destroying, common law on them. Maxeiner offers the cure for common law, in the form of sensible statute law. Building on this historical evidence, Maxeiner shows how rule-making in civil law jurisdictions in other countries makes for a far more equitable legal system. Sensible statute laws fit together: one statute governs, as opposed to several laws that even lawyers have trouble disentangling. In a statute law system, lawmakers make laws for the common good in sensible procedures, and judges apply sensible laws and do not make them. This book shows how such a system works in Germany and would be a solution for the American legal system as well.
Call Number: E-Book
Publication Date: 2018-02-26
Taming the Past by Lawyers and judges often make arguments based on history - on the authority of precedent and original constitutional understandings. They argue both to preserve the inspirational, heroic past and to discard its darker pieces - such as feudalism and slavery, the tyranny of princes and priests, and the subordination of women. In doing so, lawyers tame the unruly, ugly, embarrassing elements of the past, smoothing them into reassuring tales of progress. In a series of essays and lectures written over forty years, Robert W. Gordon describes and analyses how lawyers approach the past and the strategies they use to recruit history for present use while erasing or keeping at bay its threatening or inconvenient aspects. Together, the corpus of work featured in Taming the Past offers an analysis of American law and society and its leading historians since 1900.
Call Number: E-Book
Publication Date: 2017-06-09
The Laws That Shaped America by Dennis W. Johnson tells the story of fifteen major laws enacted over the course of two centuries of American democracy, for each looking at the forces and circumstances that led to its enactment the often tempestuous political struggles, the political players who were key in proposing or enacting the legislation, and the impact of the legislation and its place in American history.
Publication Date: 2009-04-14
The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History by The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Political and Legal History brings together, in one authoritative reference work, an unparalleled wealth of information about the laws, institutions, and actors that have governed America throughout its history. Embracing the interconnectedness of politics and law, The Encyclopedia addresses all aspects of both spheres, from presidents and Supreme Court justices to specifics of policy history, critical legislation, and party formation. Entries capture the unique nature of the nation's founding principlesembodied in the Constitution, the expansive nature of American democracy, political conflict, and compromise, and the emergence of the modern welfare and regulatory state, all of which evince the tensions, contradictions, and possibilities manifest throughout America's history. Clearly demonstratinghow US politics and law have evolved since the colonial era, The Encyclopedia encourages readers to anticipate further changes. With over 450 articles by expert scholars, each signed entry features numerous cross references and discussion of political and legal history as well as additional sources for further study. This two-volume A-to-Z compendium is a reference work of unparalleled depth and scope and will introduce anew generation of readers to the complexities of this dynamic field of study. It also features extensive cross-referencing, a topical outline, and a subject index.
Publication Date: 2012-04-17
Fifty-One Imperfect Solutions by When we think of constitutional law, we invariably think of the Supreme Court and the federal court system. Yet much of our constitutional law is not made at the federal level. In 51 Imperfect Solutions, U.S. Federal Appellate Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton argues that American Constitutional Lawshould account for the role of the state courts and state constitutions, together with the federal courts and the federal constitution, in protecting our individual liberties. The book tells four stories that arise in four different areas of constitutional law: equal protection; criminal procedure; privacy; and free speech and free exercise of religion. Traditional accounts of these bedrock debates about the relationship of the individual to the state focus on decisionsof the United States Supreme Court. But these accounts tell just part of the story. The book corrects this omission by looking at each issue (and some others as well) through the lens of many constitutions, not one constitution, of many courts, not one court, of all American judges, not federal orstate judges. Taken together, the stories reveal a remarkably complex, nuanced, ever-changing federalist system, one that ought to make lawyers and litigants pause before reflexively assuming that the United States Supreme Court alone has all of the answers to our vexing constitutional questions. If there is a central conviction of the book, it's that an underappreciation of state constitutional law has hurt state and federal law and has undermined the appropriate balance between state and federal courts in protecting individual liberty. In trying to correct this imbalance, the book alsooffers several ideas for reform.
Call Number: KF4530.S88 2018
Publication Date: 2018-06-04
Imbeciles by One of America's great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court's infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of "undesirable" citizens the law of the land New York Times bestselling author Adam Cohen tells the story in Imbeciles of one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition: the Supreme Court's decision to champion eugenic sterilization for the greater good of the country. In 1927, when the nation was caught up in eugenic fervor, the justices allowed Virginia to sterilize Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an "imbecile." It is a story with many villains, from the superintendent of the Dickensian Virginia Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded who chose Carrie for sterilization to the former Missouri agriculture professor and Nazi sympathizer who was the nation's leading advocate for eugenic sterilization. But the most troubling actors of all were the eight Supreme Court justices who were in the majority - including William Howard Taft, the former president; Louis Brandeis, the legendary progressive; and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., America's most esteemed justice, who wrote the decision urging the nation to embark on a program of mass eugenic sterilization. Exposing this tremendous injustice--which led to the sterilization of 70,000 Americans--Imbeciles overturns cherished myths and reappraises heroic figures in its relentless pursuit of the truth. With the precision of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Cohen's Imbeciles is an unquestionable triumph of American legal and social history, an ardent accusation against these acclaimed men and our own optimistic faith in progress.
Call Number: KF224.B83C64 2016
Publication Date: 2016-03-01
The Law of the Land by From Kennebunkport to Kauai, from the Rio Grande to the Northern Rockies, ours is a vast republic. While we may be united under one Constitution, separate and distinct states remain, each with its own constitution and culture. Geographic idiosyncrasies add more than just local character. Regional understandings of law and justice have shaped and reshaped our nation throughout history. America’s Constitution, our founding and unifying document, looks slightly different in California than it does in Kansas. InThe Law of the Land, renowned legal scholar Akhil Reed Amar illustrates how geography, federalism, and regionalism have influenced some of the biggest questions in American constitutional law. Writing about Illinois, "the land of Lincoln,” Amar shows how our sixteenth president’s ideas about secession were influenced by his Midwestern upbringing and outlook. All of today’s Supreme Court justices, Amar notes, learned their law in the Northeast, and New Yorkers of various sorts dominate the judiciary as never before. The curious Bush v. Gore decision, Amar insists, must be assessed with careful attention to Florida law and the Florida Constitution. The second amendment appears in a particularly interesting light, he argues, when viewed from the perspective of Rocky Mountain cowboys and cowgirls. Propelled by Amar’s distinctively smart, lucid, and engaging prose, these essays allow general readers to see the historical roots of, and contemporary solutions to, many important constitutional questions.The Law of the Land illuminates our nation’s history and politics, and shows how America’s various local parts fit together to form a grand federal framework.
Call Number: KF4530.A43 2015
Publication Date: 2015-04-14
The Ages of American Law by Following its publication in 1974, Grant Gilmore's compact portrait of the development of American law from the eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century became a classic. In this new edition, the portrait is brought up to date with a new chapter by Philip Bobbitt that surveys the trajectory of American law since the original publication. Bobbitt also provides a Foreword on Gilmore and the celebrated lectures that inspired The Ages of American Law. "Sharp, opinionated, and as pungent as cheddar."--New Republic "This book has the engaging qualities of good table talk among a group of sophisticated and educated friends--given body by broad learning and a keen imagination and spiced with wit."--Willard Hurst
Call Number: KF352.A2G55 2014
Publication Date: 2015-01-13
Making Legal History by One of the academy’s leading legal historians, William E. Nelson is the Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. For more than four decades, Nelson has produced some of the most original and creative work on American constitutional and legal history. His prize-winning books have blazed new trails for historians with their substantive arguments and the scope and depth of Nelson’s exploration of primary sources. Nelson was the first legal scholar to use early American county court records as sources of legal and social history, and his work (on legal history in England, colonial America, and New York) has been a model for generations of legal historians.nbsp; nbsp; This book collects ten essays exemplifying and explaining the process of identifying and interpreting archival sources—the foundation of an array of methods of writing American legal history. The essays presented here span the full range of American history from the colonial era to the 1980s.Each historian has either identified a body of sources not previously explored or devised a new method of interrogating sources already known.The result is a kaleidoscopic examination of the historian’s task and of the research methods and interpretative strategies that characterize the rich, complex field of American constitutional and legal history. nbsp; Daniel J. Hulseboschnbsp;is Charles Seligson Professor of Law and Professor of History at New York University. He is the author ofnbsp;Constituting Empire: New York and the Transformation of Constitutionalism in the Atlantic World, 1664-1830. nbsp;nbsp; R. B. Bernsteinnbsp;is Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School and Adjunct Professor of Political Science in the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies at the City College of New York.He has written, edited, or co-edited over 20 books in the fields of American constitutional and legal history, including the prize-winningnbsp;The Founding Fathers Reconsidered and Thomas Jefferson.
Call Number: http://KF352.M35 2013
Publication Date: 2013-09-20
Law in American History by In the first of the three volumes of his projected comprehensive narrative history of the role of law in America from the colonial years through the twentieth century, G. Edward White takes up the central themes of American legal history from the earliest European settlements through the CivilWar. Included in the coverage of this volume are the interactions between European and Amerindian legal systems in the years of colonial settlement; the crucial role of Anglo-American theories of sovereignty and imperial governance in facilitating the separation of the American colonies from the BritishEmpire in the late eighteenth century; the American "experiment" with federated republican constitutionalism in the founding period; the major importance of agricultural householding, in the form of slave plantations as well as farms featuring wage labor, in helping to shape the development ofAmerican law in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the emergence of the Supreme Court of the United States as an authoritative force in American law and politics in the early nineteenth century; the interactions between law, westward expansion, and transformative developments in transportationand communiciation in the antebellum years; the contributions of American legal institutions to the dissolution of the Union of American states in the three decades after 1830; and the often-overlooked legal history of the Confederacy and Union governments during the Civil War. White incorporates recent scholarship in anthropology, ethnography, and economic, political, intellectual and legal history to produce a narrative that is both revisionist and accessible, taking up the familiar topics of race, gender, slavery, and the treatment of native Americans from freshperspectives. Along the way he provides a compelling case for why law can be seen as the key to understanding the development of American life as we know it. Law in American History, Volume 1 will be an essential text for both students of law and general readers.
Call Number: KF352.W48 2012
Publication Date: 2012-02-20
A Nation of Laws by America's founders extolled a nation of laws, for they knew that only a fairly enforced legal system could protect liberty and property against corruption and tyranny. Nearly two and a half centuries later, that system remains the ultimate safeguard for us all. With concise but penetrating and provocative insights, the eminent Peter Charles Hoffer recaptures the spirit of this grand enterprise while never losing sight of its human face. The distillation of four decades of stellar writing, Hoffer's book is a wise and illuminating meditation on the key concepts, history, evolution, and importance of American law. He brings the law to life through brief narratives and portraits drawn from the pages of our nation's history. He takes his readers on a tumultuous journey from the Salem witchcraft trials through the divisive debates over slavery; the long struggles for equality and civil rights; the moral and culture wars over abortion, gay rights, and the teaching of evolution; and recent controversies concerning the rule of law in wartime. In a very compact space, Hoffer has a great deal to say about the role of law, lawmakers, law cases, lawyers, litigants, judges, law professors, and public opinion in creating and recreating the fabric that weaves all of these elements together. He pays particular attention to the criminal trial by looking at the legal proceedings against slave liberator John Brown, feminist Susan B. Anthony, and teacher of evolution John Scopes. He also explores what happens when the law is stretched to the breaking point by revisiting such events as the Stono Slave Rebellion, the Seneca Falls women's rights convention, and FDR's paradigm-shifting New Deal speech. Throughout, Hoffer carefully weighs the promise and vitality of our laws against its flaws and historical failures, for our legal system has not reflected a strong linear progress from inequality and privilege toward perfected liberty and dignity for all. His crystal clear vision of our legal history reminds us of the ambiguities and contradictions, quarrels and confrontations, that mirror the struggles within American history itself and reinforce the central role of law in American life.
Call Number: KF352.H54 2010
Publication Date: 2010-03-16
The Magic Mirror by Now in a new edition with extensive updates by Peter Karsten, The Magic Mirror chronicles American law from its English origins to the present. It offers comprehensive treatment of twentieth-century developments and sets American law and legal institutions in the broad context of social, economic, and political events, weaving together themes from the history of both constitutional and private law. This edition of The Magic Mirror features additional coverage of resistance to law throughU.S. history, the customary law of self-governing bodies, and Native Americans. It also has updated coverage for law in society, the legal implications of social change in areas such as criminal justice, the rights of women, blacks, the family, and children. It further examines regional differences in American legal culture, the creation of the administrative and security states, the development of American federalism, and the rise of the legal profession. The Magic Mirror pays close attentionto the evolution of substantive law categories--such as contracts, torts, negotiable instruments, real property, trusts and estates, and civil procedure--and addresses the intellectual evolution of American law, surveying movements such as legal realism and critical legal studies. The authors conclude that over its history American law has been remarkably fluid, adapting in form and substance to each successive generation without ever fully resolving the underlying social and economic conflicts that first provoke demands for legal change.
Call Number: http://KF352.H35 2009
Publication Date: 2008-05-16
The Cambridge History of Law in America by Volume I of the Cambridge History of Law in America begins the account of law in America with the very first moments of European colonization and settlement of the North American landmass. It follows those processes across two hundred years to the eventual creation and stabilization of the American republic. The book discusses the place of law in regard to colonization and empire, indigenous peoples, government and jurisdiction, population migrations, economic and commercial activity, religion, the creation of social institutions, and revolutionary politics. The Cambridge History of Law in America has been made possible by the generous support of the American Bar Foundation.
Call Number: KF352.C36 2008
Publication Date: 2008-04-28
Patriots and Cosmopolitans by Ranging widely from the founding era to Reconstruction, from the making of the modern state to its post-New Deal limits, John Fabian Witt illuminates the legal and constitutional foundations of American nationhood through the little-known stories of five patriots and critics. He shows how law and constitutionalism have powerfully shaped and been shaped by the experience of nationhood at key moments in American history. Founding Father James Wilson's star-crossed life is testament to the capacity of American nationhood to capture the imagination of those who have lived within its orbit. For South Carolina freedman Elias Hill, the nineteenth-century saga of black citizenship in the United States gave way to a quest for a black nationhood of his own on the West African coast. Greenwich Village radical Crystal Eastman became one of the most articulate critics of American nationhood, advocating world federation and other forms of supranational government and establishing the modern American civil liberties movement. By contrast, the self-conscious patriotism of Dean Roscoe Pound of Harvard Law School and trial lawyer Melvin Belli aimed to stave off what Pound and Belli saw as the dangerous growth of a foreign administrative state. In their own way, each of these individuals came up against the power of American national institutions to shape and constrain the directions of legal change. Yet their engagements with American nationhood remade the institutions and ideals of the United States even as the national tradition shaped and constrained the course of their lives.
Call Number: KF353.W58 2007
Publication Date: 2007-02-28
A History of American Law by In this brilliant and immensely readable book, Lawrence M. Friedman tells the whole fascinating story of American law from its beginnings in the colonies to the present day. By showing how close the life of the law is to the economic and political life of the country, he makes a complex subject understandable and engrossing. A History of American Law presents the achievements and failures of the American legal system in the context of America's commercial and working world, family practices, and attitudes toward property, government, crime, and justice. Now completely revised and updated, this groundbreaking work incorporates new material regarding slavery, criminal justice, and twentieth-century law. For laymen and students alike, this remains the only comprehensive authoritative history of American law.
Call Number: KF352.F7 2005 Copy #2
Publication Date: 2005-04-01
America on Trial by Renowned attorney and bestselling author AlanM. Dershowitz reveals how notable trials throughout our history have helped to shape our nation. The Boston Massacre. The Dred Scott decision. The Chicago Seven. O.J.Simpson. These are some of the trials that have both shaped and fascinated American society since our nation began. Alan M. Dershowitz, who has been either a lawyer, consultant, or commentator on some of the most celebrated cases of the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, highlights the trials he believes to be the most significant in our history, and discusses how they were central to the development of America's political and social structure. Offering insights into the human condition, these trials serve as a historical document, chronicling the struggles and passions of their time. Ultimately, AMERICA ON TRIAL reveals what America-and in turn, Americans-are truly about.
Call Number: KF220.D368 2004
Publication Date: 2004-05-14
The Legalist Reformation by Based on a detailed examination of New York case law, this pathbreaking book shows how law, politics, and ideology in the state changed in tandem between 1920 and 1980. Early twentieth-century New York was the scene of intense struggle between white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant upper and middle classes located primarily in the upstate region and the impoverished, mainly Jewish and Roman Catholic, immigrant underclass centered in New York City. Beginning in the 1920s, however, judges such as Benjamin N. Cardozo, Henry J. Friendly, Learned Hand, and Harlan Fiske Stone used law to facilitate the entry of the underclass into the economic and social mainstream and to promote tolerance among all New Yorkers. Ultimately, says William Nelson, a new legal ideology was created. By the late 1930s, New Yorkers had begun to reconceptualize social conflict not along class lines but in terms of the power of majorities and the rights of minorities. In the process, they constructed a new approach to law and politics. Though doctrinal change began to slow by the 1960s, the main ambitions of the legalist reformation--liberty, equality, human dignity, and entrepreneurial opportunity--remain the aspirations of nearly all Americans, and of much of the rest of the world, today.
Call Number: KFN5078.N45 2001
Publication Date: 2001-03-12