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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Research Canons: Legal History

Our next subject matter for the research canons project is Legal History.  (See here for a discussion of the research canons project.)  Please comment on the books and articles that are essential to a new academic in the field.  You may want to discuss the journals (outside of law reviews) that budding legal historians should keep an eye on as well.

Posted by Matt Bodie on October 18, 2006 at 08:25 AM in Research Canons | Permalink


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Fried, Barbara H. The Progressive Assault on Laissez Faire: Robert Hale and the First Law and Economics Movement. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 24, 2006 5:38:56 PM

More from the list:

Baker, Oxford Hist. Laws of Eng., 1483-1588
Helmholz, Select Cases on Defamation
MacNair, Law of Proof in Early Modern Equity
Esmein, History of Continental Criminal Procedure
Engelmann, History of Contiental Civil Procedure
Stein, Roman Law in European History
Watson, Evolution of Western Private Law
Watson, Legal Transplants

Posted by: Christopher | Oct 19, 2006 6:05:39 PM

Christopher, I'd love to see more from your reading list, especially if you have selections addressing the continental side of things. Email appreciated if deemed more appropriate than comments here.


Posted by: Michael | Oct 18, 2006 6:43:37 PM

I treat as a canon Michael Kent Curtis's discussion of Fourteenth Amendment history, "No State Shall Abridge."

Posted by: Ron Wright | Oct 18, 2006 11:47:12 AM

I'd advise the first volume of Horwitz's Transformation of American Law also.

In terms of journals, the Law and History Review is of course essential (and included in membership to The American Society for Legal History). Other than that many political science and more general history journals are also useful. I've always thought it a bit odd that there's no student-edited legal history journal.

Posted by: Dude | Oct 18, 2006 10:59:44 AM

Berman, Harold J. Law and Revolution: The Formation of the Western Legal Tradition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983.

Caenegem, R.C. van. The Birth of the English Common Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2nd ed., 1988.

Caenegem, R.C. van. Legal History: A European Perspective. London: The Hambledon Press, 1991.

Caenegem, R.C. van (D.E.L. Johnston, tr.). An Historical Introduction to International Private Law. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

Koskenniemi, Martti. The Gentle Civilizer of Nations: The Rise and Fall of International Law, 1870-1960. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Milson, S.F.C. Studies in the History of the Common Law. London: The Hambledon Press, 1985.

Milson, S.F.C. A Natural History of the Common Law. New York: Columbia Universit Press, 2003.

Postema, Gerald J. Bentham and the Common Law Tradition. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Postema, Gerald J. Classical Common Law Jurisprudence, Part 1, 2 OXFORD U. COMMONWEALTH L.J. 155 (2002).

Postema, Gerald J. Classical Common Law Jurisprudence, Part 2, 3 OXFORD U. COMMONWEALTH L.J. 1 (2003).

Shapiro, Ian. The Evolution of Rights in Liberal Theory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

An idiosyncratic hodgepodge, to be sure, but excellent works all.

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | Oct 18, 2006 10:03:32 AM

My two favorite legal history books are G. Edward White, Tort Law in America and Morton Horwitz, The Transformation of American Law, 1870-1960.

Posted by: Scott Fruehwald | Oct 18, 2006 9:41:56 AM

Here are a few selections from my Ph.D. qualifying exam reading list on English Legal History:

Pollock & Maitland, History of English Law
Milsom, Historical Foundations
Baker, Introduction to English Legal History
Holdsworth's History
Helmholz's Oxford history of Canon law in England
Langbein, Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial
Sutherland, Assize of Novel Disseisin
Green, Verdict According to Conscience
Holt, Magna Carta
Pocock, Ancient Constitution
Gray, Copyhold, Equity and Common Law
Ibbetson, History of Obligations
Simpson's histories of Property and Contract
Beattie, Crime and the Courts
Spring, Law, Land, and Family
Thayer, Preliminary Treatise on Evidence
Brand, Origins of the Legal Profession

Hope this helps.

Posted by: Christopher | Oct 18, 2006 9:04:30 AM

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