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New York City

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Chicago-Kent College of Law

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Semi-Wonderful Town, Semi-Wonderful State: Bill Nelson's New York, Edward A. Purcell Jr. Jun 2014

Semi-Wonderful Town, Semi-Wonderful State: Bill Nelson's New York, Edward A. Purcell Jr.

Chicago-Kent Law Review

This article examines Bill Nelson’s two major books on the history of New York law and politics, The Legalist Reformation (2001) and Fighting for the City (2008). The former deals with developments in New York State from the late nineteenth to the late twentieth century; the latter with New York City starting somewhat earlier but concentrating on the same later period. The Legalist Reformation argues that the election of Alfred E. Smith as Governor of New York in 1922 began a transformation of the state’s legal and political culture that brought new and more egalitarian social policies to the state …