This book of twelve original essays will bring together two themes of American culture: law and race. The essays fall into four groups: cases that are essential to the history of race in America; cases that illustrate the treatment of race in American history; cases of great fame that became the trials of the century of their time; and cases that made important law. Some of the cases discussed include Amistad, Dred Scott, Plessy v. Ferguson, Scottsboro, Korematsu v. US, Brown v. Board, Loving v. Virginia, Regents v. Bakke, and OJ Simpson. All illustrate how race often determined the outcome of trials, and how trials that confront issues of racism provide a unique lens on American cultural history. Cases include African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Caucasians. Contributors include a mix of junior and senior scholars in law schools and history departments.
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 through U.S. history, the customary law of self-governing bodies, and Native Americans. It also hasupdated 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, thedevelopment of American federalism, and the rise of the legal profession. The Magic Mirror pays close attention to the evolution of substantive law categories--such as contracts, torts, negotiable instruments, real property, trusts and estates, and civil procedure--and addresses the intellectualevolution 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 andeconomic conflicts that first provoke demands for legal change.
A History of American Law has become a classic for students of law, American history and sociology across the country. 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, slavery, government, crime and justice. Now Professor Friedman has completely revised and enlarged his landmark work, incorporating a great deal of new material. The book contains newly expanded notes, a bibliography and a bibliographical essay.
In this second installment of G. Edward White's sweeping history of law in America from the colonial era to the present, White, covers the period between 1865-1929, which encompasses Reconstruction, rapid industrialization, a huge influx of immigrants, the rise of Jim Crow, the emergence of an American territorial empire, World War I, and the booming yet xenophobic 1920s. As in the first volume, he connects the evolution of American law to the major political, economic, cultural, social, and demographic developments of the era. To enrich his account, White draws from the latest research from across the social sciences--economic history, anthropology, and sociology--yet weave those insights into a highly accessible narrative. 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 II will be an essential text for both students of law and general readers.
Volume 1: From the Colonial Years Through the Civil War
Author: G. Edward White
Publisher: Oxford University Press
G. Edward White, a leading legal historian, presents Law in American History, a two-volume, comprehensive narrative history of American law from the colonial period to the present. In this first volume, White explores the key turning points in roughly the first half of the American legal system, from the development of order in the colonies, to the signing of the Constitution, to the dissolution of the Union just before the Civil War. Thought-provoking and artfully written, Law in American History, Vol. 1 is an essential text for both students of law and general readers alike.
This work is a collection of essays on the growth of tort law concepts of negligence, fault, and liability in response to the industrialization of the nineteenth century. The articles assess the distributive economic consequences of tort law and its effectiveness in protecting average citizens.
“Law in America is a little gem. It is a peerless introduction to our legal history—concise, clear, tellingly told, and beautifully written. The greatest living historian of American law has done it again.” —Stanley N. Katz, former president of the American Society for Legal History and the Organization of American Historians “All societies have laws, but neither all laws nor all legal systems are alike. No one has thought more deeply or written more clearly about the peculiar role of law in American life than Lawrence Friedman. In this trenchant, illuminating book, he distills a lifetime of scholarship and teaching into a concise and provocative explanation of the role that law has played in shaping the distinctive contours of American history and culture.” —David M. Kennedy, professor of history at Stanford University and author of Freedom from Fear Throughout America’s history, our laws have been a reflection of who we are, of what we value, of who has control. They embody our society’s genetic code. In the masterful hands of the subject’s greatest living historian, the story of the evolution of our laws serves to lay bare the deciding struggles over power and justice that have shaped this country from its birth pangs to the present. Law in America is a supreme example of the historian’s art, its brevity a testament to the great elegance and wit of its composition.