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American Legal History: Cases and Materials

NCJ Number
K L Hall; W M Wiecek; P Finkelman
Date Published
610 pages
American legal history is taught at almost every law school and by many history departments, and this textbook is designed to serve undergraduate and graduate courses in history and political science.
The authors focus on the interaction between public and private law developments, organizational principles of both history and law, and important developments in legal history that exemplify a particular direction of legal change. Following a review of the beginnings of American law through 1760, the book examines legal developments during and after the American Revolution (1760-1815); the "Golden Age" of American law (1812 to 1860) that involved the expansion of commerce and economic growth, and legal history during slavery, the Civil War, and reconstruction. The book also covers 19th century law and society with particular emphasis on bench, bar, and legal reform and on industrialization and the regulatory State. Subsequent chapters explore civil liberties and civil rights; the rise of legal liberalism, economic reform, and the New Deal (1900-1945); and tensions of contemporary law and society that relate to private law, rights consciousness, economic equality, legal liberalism, civil rights, rights of the accused, and legal culture. The U.S. Constitution is appended, and notes and an index of cases are provided.