The Common Law

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Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2004 - Political Science - 302 pages
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The Common Law changed America forever. The lectures---which were given at the Lowell Institute in Boston and subsequently published in 1880---created a buzz of excitement that enveloped the New England intellectual community. Over a century later, we can look back at The Common Law and still feel the same sense of excitement that our predecessors did, virtually undiminished by the tumultuous decades of American jurisprudence that have followed. It remains an exhilarating landmark in law because its content and its style, its substance and its process, perfectly mirror what common law is: a complex and diffuse combination of actual cases, history, analysis, and philosophy---all woven together to create the rules by which we live.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.---who grew up in the shadow of his famous father, the great doctor and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.---set out to make his mark on the world. His first notoriety among the legal community came when he edited the monumental work of legal scholarship Kent's Commentaries. Just shy of his fortieth birthday, he delivered The Common Law to very positive reviews. From that point, his career was meteoric and included a near three-decade tenure on the Supreme Court of the United States.
 

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Contents

EARLY FORMS OF LIABILITY
1
THE CRIMINAL LAW
28
TORTSTRESPASS AND NEGLIGENCE
57
FRAUD MALICE AND INTENT THE THEORY OF TORTS
96
THE BAILEE AT COMMON LAW
123
POSSESSION
153
CONTRACTIHISTORY
182
CONTRACT II ELEMENTS
212
CONTRACT III VOID AND VOIDABLE
226
SUCCESSIONS I AFTER DEATH
250
XI SUCCESSIONS II INTER VIVOS
271
ENDNOTES
299
INDEX
337
SUGGESTED READING
351
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About the author (2004)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (March 8, 1841- March 6, 1935) was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932, and as Acting Chief Justice of the United States January - February 1930. Holmes was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of the prominent writer and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. Holmes graduated from Harvard University, as did his father. He enlisted in the Massachusetts militia in the Spring of 1861 and he retired to his home in Boston after his three-year enlistment ended in 1864. Upon his return, he enrolled in Harvard Law School; he was admitted to the bar in 1866. On August 11, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt nominated Holmes to a seat on the United States Supreme Court vacated by Justice Horace Gray, who had retired in July. The nomination was made on the recommendation of Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, then the junior senator from Massachusetts. Holmes stepped down from the court in 1932 and retired when he was 90 years of age. Many of his papers and writings were donated to Harvard Law School. Holmes died of pneumonia in Washington, D. C. on March 6, 1935; he was almost 94 years old.

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