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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine Wells Nov 2009

Langdell And The Invention Of Legal Doctrine, Catharine Wells

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This paper addresses two related questions.

The first relates to Langdell and his development of a doctrinal theory of contract law. The substance and method of Langdell’s work has not been well understood and this paper uses a variety of historical materials to remedy this problem. It begins with a review of contract law prior to Langdell. Contract law at this time was in a very primitive state. The available treatises were confusing and the cases themselves offered little guidance for predicting future case outcomes. The paper then proceeds to examine Langdell’s method by describing certain logic texts ...


Legal Transplants: Slavery And The Civil Law In Louisiana, Ariela J. Gross May 2009

Legal Transplants: Slavery And The Civil Law In Louisiana, Ariela J. Gross

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Can Louisiana tell us something about civil law vs. common law regimes of slavery? What can the Louisiana experience tell us about a civil law jurisdiction “transplanted” in a common-law country? Louisiana is unique among American states in having been governed first by France, then by Spain, before becoming a U.S. territory and state in the nineteenth century. Unlike other slave states, it operated under a civil code, first the Digest of 1808, and then the Code of 1825. With regard to the regulation of slaves, these codes also incorporated a “Black Code,” first adopted in 1806, which owed ...


The Constitution Of History And Memory, Ariela J. Gross May 2009

The Constitution Of History And Memory, Ariela J. Gross

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Almost twenty years ago, the historian Pierre Nora wrote about the growing number of “lieux de mémoire” – museums, monuments, and memorials – where post-modern society situates public memory of traumatic or triumphant events. Yet he devoted little sustained attention to what may be the quintessential “lieu de mémoire” today, the courtroom or truth commission hearing room. Traces of our contemporary obsession with the encounter among law, history and memory are everywhere. And so are lawyers: writing new constitutions for new republics, staffing international tribunals for war criminals, taking testimonies for truth commissions. Yet much of the enthusiasm for legal strategies to ...


Law, War, And The History Of Time, Mary L. Dudziak Apr 2009

Law, War, And The History Of Time, Mary L. Dudziak

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This paper examines wartime as a form of time, arguing that assumptions about the temporality of war are a feature of American legal thought. Time is thought to be linear and episodic, moving from one kind of time (peacetime) to another kind of time (wartime) in sequence. In this way of thinking, war is by definition temporary, so that war’s impact on law is limited in time. This understanding of war and time, however, is in tension with the practice of war in 20th century U.S. history, for American involvement in overseas military action has been continuous.

Drawing ...