The Transatlantic Constitution

Author: Mary Sarah Bilder
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674020944
Release Date: 2008-03-31
Genre: History

Departing from traditional approaches to colonial legal history, Mary Sarah Bilder argues that American law and legal culture developed within the framework of an evolving, unwritten transatlantic constitution that lawyers, legislators, and litigants on both sides of the Atlantic understood. The central tenet of this constitution--that colonial laws and customs could not be repugnant to the laws of England but could diverge for local circumstances--shaped the legal development of the colonial world.

Constituting Empire

Author: Daniel J. Hulsebosch
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807876879
Release Date: 2006-05-18
Genre: Law

According to the traditional understanding of American constitutional law, the Revolution produced a new conception of the constitution as a set of restrictions on the power of the state rather than a mere description of governmental roles. Daniel J. Hulsebosch complicates this viewpoint by arguing that American ideas of constitutions were based on British ones and that, in New York, those ideas evolved over the long eighteenth century as New York moved from the periphery of the British Atlantic empire to the center of a new continental empire. Hulsebosch explains how colonists and administrators reconfigured British legal sources to suit their needs in an expanding empire. In this story, familiar characters such as Alexander Hamilton and James Kent appear in a new light as among the nation's most important framers, and forgotten loyalists such as Superintendent of Indian Affairs Sir William Johnson and lawyer William Smith Jr. are rightly returned to places of prominence. In his paradigm-shifting analysis, Hulsebosch captures the essential paradox at the heart of American constitutional history: the Revolution, which brought political independence and substituted the people for the British crown as the source of legitimate authority, also led to the establishment of a newly powerful constitution and a new postcolonial genre of constitutional law that would have been the envy of the British imperial agents who had struggled to govern the colonies before the Revolution.

The Origins of Adversary Criminal Trial

Author: John H. Langbein
Publisher: Oxford University Press on Demand
ISBN: 9780199258888
Release Date: 2003
Genre: Law

The lawyer-dominated adversary system of criminal trial, which now typifies practice in Anglo-American legal systems, developed in England in the eighteenth century. Using hitherto unexplored sources from London's Old Bailey Court, Professor Langbein shows how and why lawyers were able to capture the trial, and he supplies a path-breaking account of the formation of the law of criminal evidence.

Esteemed Bookes of Lawe and the Legal Culture of Early Virginia

Author: Warren M. Billings
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 9780813939407
Release Date: 2017-02-24
Genre: Law

Virginia men of law constituted one of the first learned professions in colonial America, and Virginia legal culture had an important and lasting impact on American political institutions and jurisprudence. Exploring the book collections of these Virginians therefore offers insight into the history of the book and the intellectual history of early America. It also addresses essential questions of how English culture migrated to the American colonies and was transformed into a distinctive American culture. Focusing on the law books that colonial Virginians acquired, how they used them, and how they eventually produced a native-grown legal literature, this collection explores the law and intellectual culture of the Commonwealth and reveals the origins of a distinctively Virginian legal literature. The contributors argue that understanding the development of early Virginia legal history—as shown through these book collections—not only illuminates important aspects of Virginia’s history and culture; it also underlies a thorough understanding of colonial and revolutionary American history and culture.

Creating the British Atlantic

Author: Jack P. Greene
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 9780813933894
Release Date: 2013-04-29
Genre: History

Set mostly within an expansive British imperial and transatlantic framework, this new selection of writings from the renowned historian Jack P. Greene draws on themes he has been developing throughout his distinguished career. In these essays Greene explores the efforts to impose Old World institutions, identities, and values upon the New World societies being created during the colonization process. He shows how transplanted Old World components—political, legal, and social—were adapted to meet the demands of new, economically viable, expansive cultural hearths. Greene argues that these transplantations and adaptations were of fundamental importance in the formation and evolution of the new American republic and the society it represented. The scope of this work allows Greene to consider in depth numerous subjects, including the dynamics of colonization, the development and character of provincial identities, the relationship between new settler societies in America and the emerging British Empire, and the role of cultural power in social and political formation.

Esteemed Bookes of Lawe and the Legal Culture of Early Virginia

Author: Warren M. Billings
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 9780813939407
Release Date: 2017-02-24
Genre: Law

Virginia men of law constituted one of the first learned professions in colonial America, and Virginia legal culture had an important and lasting impact on American political institutions and jurisprudence. Exploring the book collections of these Virginians therefore offers insight into the history of the book and the intellectual history of early America. It also addresses essential questions of how English culture migrated to the American colonies and was transformed into a distinctive American culture. Focusing on the law books that colonial Virginians acquired, how they used them, and how they eventually produced a native-grown legal literature, this collection explores the law and intellectual culture of the Commonwealth and reveals the origins of a distinctively Virginian legal literature. The contributors argue that understanding the development of early Virginia legal history—as shown through these book collections—not only illuminates important aspects of Virginia’s history and culture; it also underlies a thorough understanding of colonial and revolutionary American history and culture.

Remaking Custom

Author: Ellen Holmes Pearson
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 9780813930930
Release Date: 2011-03-22
Genre: History

History has largely forgotten the writings, both public and private, of early nineteenth-century America’s legal scholars. However, Ellen Holmes Pearson argues that the observers from this era had a unique perspective on the young nation and the directions in which its legal culture might go. Remaking Custom draws on the law lectures, treatises, speeches, and papers of the early republic’s legal scholars to examine the critical role that they played in the formation of American identities. As intermediaries between the founders of America’s newly independent polities and the next generation of legal practitioners and political leaders, the nation’s law educators expressed pride in the retention of the "republican parts" of England’s common law while at the same time identifying some of the central features that distinguished American law from that of Britain. From their perspective, the new nation’s blending of tradition and innovation produced a superior national character. Because American law educators interpreted both local and national legal trends, Remaking Custom reveals how national identities developed through Americans’ articulation of their local customs and identities. Pearson examines the innovations that legists could celebrate, such as constitutional changes that placed the people at the center of their governments and more egalitarian property laws that accompanied America’s abundant supply of land. The book also deals with innovations that presented uncomfortable challenges to law educators as they sought creative ways to justify the legal cultures that grew up around slavery and Anglo-Americans’ hunger for land occupied by Native Americans.

The Common Law in Colonial America

Author: William E. Nelson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780190850494
Release Date: 2018-05-01
Genre: Law

The eminent legal historian William E. Nelson's magisterial four-volume The Common Law in Colonial America traces how the many legal orders of Britain's thirteen North American colonies gradually evolved into one American system. Initially established on divergent political, economic, and religious grounds, the various colonial systems slowly converged until it became possible by the 1770s to imagine that all thirteen participated in a common American legal order, which diverged in its details but differed far more substantially from English common law. This fourth and final volume begins where volume three ended. It focuses on the laws of the thirteen colonies in the mid-eighteenth century and on constitutional events leading up to the American Revolution. Nelson first examines procedural and substantive law and looks at important shifts in the law to show how the mid-eighteenth- century colonial legal system in large part functioned effectively in the interests both of Great Britain and of its thirteen colonies. Nelson then turns to constitutional events leading to the Revolution. Here he shows how lawyers deployed ideological arguments not for their own sake, but in order to protect colonial institutional structures and the socio-economic interests of their clients. As lawyers deployed the arguments, they developed them into a constitutional theory that gave primacy to common-law constitutional rights and local self-government. In the process, the lawyers became leaders of the revolutionary movement and a dominant political force in the new United States.

Settlers Liberty and Empire

Author: Craig Yirush
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139496049
Release Date: 2011-02-28
Genre: History

Traces the emergence of a revolutionary conception of political authority on the far shores of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Based on the equal natural right of English subjects to leave the realm, claim indigenous territory and establish new governments by consent, this radical set of ideas culminated in revolution and republicanism. But unlike most scholarship on early American political theory, Craig Yirush does not focus solely on the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century. Instead, he examines how the political ideas of settler elites in British North America emerged in the often-forgotten years between the Glorious Revolution in America and the American Revolution against Britain. By taking seriously an imperial world characterized by constitutional uncertainty, geo-political rivalry and the ongoing presence of powerful Native American peoples, Yirush provides a long-term explanation for the distinctive ideas of the American Revolution.

Cooperation and Empire

Author: Tanja Bührer
Publisher: Berghahn Books
ISBN: 9781785336102
Release Date: 2017-08-31
Genre: Political Science

While the study of "indigenous intermediaries" is today the focus of some of the most interesting research in the historiography of colonialism, its roots extend back to at least the 1970s. The contributions to this volume revisit Ronald E. Robinson's theory of collaboration in a range of historical contexts by melding it with theoretical perspectives derived from postcolonial studies and transnational history. In case studies ranging globally over the course of four centuries, these essays offer nuanced explorations of the varied, complex interactions between imperial and local actors, with particular attention to those shifting and ambivalent roles that transcend simple binaries of colonizer and colonized.

Britain s Oceanic Empire

Author: H. V. Bowen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107020146
Release Date: 2012-05-31
Genre: History

A comparative study of how the British managed the expansion of empire in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

Legal Pluralism and Empires 1500 1850

Author: Lauren Benton
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 9780814708361
Release Date: 2013-07-22
Genre: History

Historians used to imagine empire as an imperial power extending total domination over its colonies. Now, however, they understand empire as a site in which colonies and their constitutions were regulated by legal pluralism: layered and multicentric systems of law, which incorporated or preserved the law of conquered subjects. By placing the study of law in diverse early modern empires under the rubric of legal pluralism, Legal Pluralism and Empires, 1500-1850 offers both legal scholars and historians a much-needed framework for analyzing the complex and fluid legal politics of empires. Contributors analyze how ideas about law moved across vast empires, how imperial agents and imperial subjects used law, and how relationships between local legal practices and global ones played themselves out in the early modern world. The book's tremendous geographical breadth, including the British, French, Spanish, Ottoman, and Russian empires, gives readers the most comparative examination of legal pluralism to date. Lauren Benton is Professor of History, Affiliated Professor of Law, and Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University. Her books include A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900 and Law and Colonial Cultures: Legal Regimes in World History, 1400-1900. Richard J. Ross is Professor of Law and History at the University of Illinois (Urbana/Champaign) and Director of the Symposium on Comparative Early Modern Legal History. With Steven Wilf, he is currently working on a book, entitled: The Beginnings of American Law: A Comparative Study.

Madison s Hand

Author: Mary Sarah Bilder
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674495500
Release Date: 2015-10-19
Genre: History

No document depicts the Constitutional Convention’s charismatic figures, crushing disappointments, and miraculous triumphs with the force of Madison’s Notes. But how reliable is this account? Drawing on digital technologies and textual analysis, Mary Sarah Bilder reveals that Madison revised to a far greater extent than previously recognized.