Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877

Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877

by Amalia D. Kessler


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A highly engaging account of the developments—not only legal, but also socioeconomic, political, and cultural—that gave rise to Americans’ distinctively lawyer-driven legal culture

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300222258
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 01/10/2017
Series: Yale Law Library Series in Legal History and Reference
Pages: 464
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Amalia D. Kessler is the Lewis Talbot and Nadine Hearn Shelton Professor of International Legal Studies at Stanford University and winner of the American Historical Association’s J. Russell Major Prize for A Revolution in Commerce.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 The "Natural Elevation" of Equity: Quasi-Inquisitorial Procedure and the Early Nineteenth-Century Resurgence of Equity 19

Chapter 2 A Troubled Inheritance: The English Procedural Tradition and Its Lawyer-Driven Reconfiguration in Early Nineteenth-Century New York 62

Chapter 3 The Non Revolutionary Field Code: Democratization, Docket Pressures, and Codification 112

Chapter 4 Cultural Foundations of American Adversarialism: Civic Republicanism and the Decline of Equity's Quasi-Inquisitorial Tradition 151

Chapter 5 Market Freedom and Adversarial Adjudication: The Nineteenth-Century American Debates over (European) Conciliation Courts and the Problem of Procedural Ordering 200

Chapter 6 The Freedmen's Bureau Exception: The Triumph of Due (Adversarial) Process and the Dawn of Jim Crow 263

Conclusion: The Question of American Exceptionalism and Lessons of History 323

Appendix: An Overview of the Archives 355

Notes 361

Index 433

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