- Series: Harvard Law School
- Hardcover: 408 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Law School (March 31, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674033469
- ISBN-13: 978-0674033467
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,779,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Transformations in American Legal History: Essays in Honor of Professor Morton J. Horwitz (Harvard Law School)
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Daniel W. Hamilton is Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law.
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While the essays in the first volume were mainly authored by direct students of Horwitz, this volume has contributions from many esteemed legal historians in their own right and others who have been impacted by Horowitz in one way or another. Like the initial collection, this volume is of uniformly high quality and is evidence of the pervasive impact Horwitz has had on the field's many dimensions. After an initial helpful forward by William Fisher, the essays are organized into six sections.
The first is "Legal History and Morton Horwitz," which I found particularly interesting. Some of the essays focus on Horwitz's own work and techniques; others address some important substantive topics. Particularly well done are essays by William E. Forbath, G. Edward White (on the origin and evolution of the Charles Warren professorship and center at HLS), Robert W. Gordon, and James R. Hackney, Jr.
The next section is concerned with "Colonial and 19th Century American Law." These essays cover a broader range of interests though, including law on the border, credit-based capitalism, and "materialist jurisprudence." Particularly outstanding here are essays by Robert J. Steinfeld on the anti-majoritarian rationale for judicial review, and Afred S. Konefsky on the Boston social milieu surrounding the Charles River Bridge decision.
Section Three deals with 20th Century American law, including fine contributions by Edward A. Purcell Jr. on the history of the federal courts, and Katherine V.W. Stone's discussion of John R. Commons and the origins of legal realism. Part IV is on the Warren Court (Horwitz is writing the Oliver Wendell Holmes devise volume on this topic), with a particularly insightful essay by Mark Tushnet. Part V focuses on the past and future of legal history, and includes a most interesting essay by David Sugarman on Horwitz's influence in England, Canada and Australia.
The vital concluding section has two personal appreciations of Horwitz, one by his present wife, that afford a more personal insight into Horwitz the man. In fact, many of the contributors in their individual essays remark upon the personal qualities that have made Horwitz such a remarkable teacher and historian. All told, the volume's 32 essays run some 570 lively pages that must be considered absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in American legal history.
Most of the studies deal with American legal history in one way or another. They break down as follows chronologically: The first three essays deal with the early national period. These topics include Kent and Story; colonial constitutional law antecedents; and the idea of overlapping sovereignty. The next group of essays (4-6) focus on the antebellum period and are concerned with topics such as firm law practices, the Fugitive Slave Act, and antebellum property law concepts. Next, two essays (7 & 8) discuss developments in the late 19th century relating to limited liability and a fascinating discussion of James Coolidge Carter and his mugwump perspective by Lewis A. Grossman. Four essays ( 9-12) deal with 20th century topics, including the "clear and present danger" test, Hugo Black's conservative turn on civil rights, free riders, and an excellent essay on the development of legal pluralism by Dalia Tsuk Mitchell, author of an outstanding study of Felix Cohen (also reviewed on Amazon). Several studies deal with Horwitz and his impact on the authors' own work (13, 14 & 18). There also are two essays on intellectual property issues. Amongst the most valuable essays is one (#15) by Charles Donahue, Jr., of HLS, on the current status of legal history as a discipline.
The essays are uniformly of superior quality, supported by extensive footnotes attached to each study. An excellent foreword by Elena Kagan, at the time Dean of HLS and now Solicitor General, and a preface by the editors set the stage for the collection. A very valuable resource of anyone seriously interested in the field of legal history.