Private Law and Social Inequality in the Industrial Age: Comparing Legal Cultures in Britain, France, Germany, and the United States

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Willibald Steinmetz
Oxford University Press, 2000 - Law - 565 pages
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A promise of equality inherited from revolutionary declarations of rights, enlightened law codes, and constitutions stood at the beginning of the industrial age. Conflicts were inevitable when in reality the law continued to be used, as ever, mostly in support of the rich and powerful. The essays assembled here explore how private law helped to maintain, change, or upset inequalities that were common to all industrialized countries. The book deals with relations between lords and peasants, husbands and wives, masters and servants, landlords and tenants, and producers and consumers. While law-and-society histories have become a growth industry in recent years, most studies in this field tend to be limited by national and disciplinary boundaries. This volume goes beyond such boundaries by comparing legal cultures in Britain, Germany, France, and the United States. Taking analogous, although not necessarily simultaneous, conflicts as a starting point, the essays offer new insights into different attitudes towards the law and different paths of juridification. The book thus enables historians, lawyers, and social scientists to view the history of their own legal culture in the light of others.

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Law and Social
Administration of Private Law or Private
Property Relations in Marriage

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About the author (2000)

Willibald Steinmetz is at University of Bochum.

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