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Legal History Commons

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Legal Education

Legal History

2015

University of Baltimore

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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

A Government Of Laws Not Of Precedents 1776-1876: The Google Challenge To Common Law Myth, James Maxeiner Jan 2015

A Government Of Laws Not Of Precedents 1776-1876: The Google Challenge To Common Law Myth, James Maxeiner

James R Maxeiner

Conventional wisdom holds that the United States is a common law country of precedents where, until the 20th century (the “Age of Statutes”), statutes had little role. Digitization by Google and others of previously hard to find legal works of the 19th century challenges this common law myth. At the Centennial in 1876 Americans celebrated that “The great fact in the progress of American jurisprudence … is its tendency towards organic statute law and towards the systematizing of law; in other words, towards written constitutions and codification.” This article tests the claim of the Centennial Writers of 1876 and finds it ...