26 April 2019

BOOK: Andrew FORSYTH, Common law and Natural Law in America : From the Puritans to the Legal Realists [Law and Christianity] (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019). ISBN 9781108476973, £ 85.00

(Source: CUP)

Cambridge University Press is publishing a new book on the interactions between common law and natural law in American legal history.


Speaking to today's flourishing conversations on both law, morality, and religion, and the religious foundations of law, politics, and society, Common Law and Natural Law in America is an ambitious four-hundred-year narrative and fresh re-assessment of the varied American interactions of 'common law', the stuff of courtrooms, and 'natural law', a law built on human reason, nature, and the mind or will of God. It offers a counter-narrative to the dominant story of common law and natural law by drawing widely from theological and philosophical accounts of natural law, as well as primary and secondary work in legal and intellectual history. With consequences for today's natural-law proponents and critics alike, it explores the thought of the Puritans, Revolutionary Americans, and seminal legal figures including William Blackstone, Joseph Story, Christopher Columbus Langdell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the legal realists.


Andrew Forsyth, Yale University, Connecticut


1. Puritan natural law: early New England and the colonial colleges
2. Modern natural law: revolutionaries and republicans
3. Organizing common law: William Blackstone in America
4. subsuming natural law into common law: Joseph Story
5. Law as science: Christopher Columbus Langdell
6. Breaking with natural law: Oliver Wendell Holmes and the legal realists
More information here

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