23 September 2019

BOOK: Lawrence M. FRIEDMAN, A History of American Law, 4th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). ISBN 9780190070885, $125.00

(Source: OUP)

Oxford University Press has just published the 4th edition of Professor Friedman’s work on the history of American law.


Renowned legal historian Lawrence Friedman presents an accessible and authoritative history of American law from the colonial era to the present day. This fully revised fourth edition incorporates the latest research to bring this classic work into the twenty-first century. In addition to looking closely at timely issues like race relations, the book covers the changing configurations of commercial law, criminal law, family law, and the law of property. Friedman furthermore interrogates the vicissitudes of the legal profession and legal education. The underlying theory of this eminently readable book is that the law is the product of society. In this way, we can view the history of the legal system through a sociological prism as it has evolved over the years.


Lawrence M. Friedman is the Marion Rice Kirkwood Professor of Law at Stanford Law School.



Part I: The Beginnings: American Law in the Colonial Period

Part II: From the Revolution to the Middle of the Nineteenth Century:1776-1850
Chapter 1 The Republic of Bees
Chapter 2 Outposts of the Law: The Frontier and the Civil Law Fringe
Chapter 3 Law and the Economy: 1776-1850
Chapter 4 The Law of Personal Status: Wives, Paupers, and Slaves
Chapter 5 An American Law of Property
Chapter 6 The Law of Commerce and Trade
Chapter 7 Crime and Punishment: And a Footnote on Tort
Chapter 8 The Bar and Its Works

Part III: American Law to the Close of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 1 Blood and Gold: Some Main Themes in the Law in the Last Half of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 2 Judges and Courts: 1850-1900
Chapter 3 Procedure and Practice: An Age of Reform
Chapter 4 The Land and Other Property
Chapter 5 Administrative Law and Regulation of Business
Chapter 6 Torts
Chapter 7 The Underdogs: 1850-1900
Chapter 8 The Law of Corporations
Chapter 9 Commerce, Labor, and Taxation
Chapter 10 Crime and Punishment
Chapter 11 The Legal Profession: The Training and Literature of Law
Chapter 12 The Legal Profession: At Work

Part IV: The Twentieth Century
Chapter 1 Leviathan Comes of Age
Chapter 2 The Growth of the Law
Chapter 3 Internal Legal Culture in the Twentieth Century: Lawyers, Judges, and Law Books
Chapter 4 Regulation, Welfare, and the Rise of Environmental Law
Chapter 5 Crime and Punishment in the Twentieth Century
Chapter 6 Family Law in the Twentieth Century

Epilogue A Final Word
Bibliographical Essay

More info here

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