Americanization of the Common Law: The Impact of Legal Change on Massachusetts Society, 1760-1830

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University of Georgia Press, Jan 1, 1994 - Law - 269 pages
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Americanization of the Common Law remains one of the standard works on the transformation of law in America from the late colonial period to the end of the early republic. In a straightforward manner, William E. Nelson analyzes the profound ideological movement that grew out of the American Revolution and caused substantial structural change in the legal and social order of Massachusetts and, by extension, in the nation at large. The Revolution, Nelson argues, transformed a hierarchical and communitarian legal and social order into an egalitarian and individualistic one.

For this edition, Nelson has written a new preface in which he discusses the book's initial reception and the relevant historiographical issues that have arisen since it was first published in 1975.

  

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Contents

Law in a Changing Social Order
1
The Legal Restraint of Power
13
The Law of a Civil and Christian State
36
Rules of Unity and Stability
46
The Reform of Common Law Pleading
69
Law as the Guardian of Liberty
89
Liberty and the Breakdown of Stability
117
Economic Growth and the Law
145
Bibliography of Manuscript Sources
177
Notes
183
Index
259
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

William E. Nelson is a professor of law at New York University. His book The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine won the Littleton-Griswold Prize of the American Historical Association.

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