ISBN-10:
0674015126
ISBN-13:
9780674015128
Pub. Date:
12/28/2004
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire

The Transatlantic Constitution: Colonial Legal Culture and the Empire

by Mary Sarah Bilder
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Overview

Departing from traditional approaches to colonial legal history, Mary Sarah Bilder argues that American law and legal culture developed within the framework of an evolving, unwritten transatlantic constitution that lawyers, legislators, and litigants on both sides of the Atlantic understood. The central tenet of this constitution-that colonial laws and customs could not be repugnant to the laws of England but could diverge for local circumstances-shaped the legal development of the colonial world.

About the Author:
Mary Sarah Bilder is Professor of Law, Boston College Law School

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674015128
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 12/28/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 308
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mary Sarah Bilder is Founders Professor of Law and Michael and Helen Lee Distinguished Scholar, Boston College Law School.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii
A Note on Legal Terms     xi
Introduction: The Transatlantic Constitution and the Colonial World     1
The Transatlantic Legal World
Legal Practitioners and Legal Literates     15
The Laws of England     31
The Laws of Rhode Island     51
Transatlantic Legal Practice
The Transatlantic Appeal     73
Women, Family, Property     91
Personnel and Practices     116
Visions of the Transatlantic Constitution
Religious Establishment and Orthodoxy     145
Commerce and Currency     168
The Transatlantic Constitution and the Nation     186
Notes     199
Index     283

What People are Saying About This

Mary Sarah Bilder has taken an old and long-unfashionable topic and successfully given it new interest, perspective, and importance. She is the first historian to explore the relationship between colonial legal culture and sources of constitutional authority within the British empire, and she does so with a fine appreciation for the negotiated, pragmatic, and changing nature of the relationship. This book is a major contribution to colonial American legal, constitutional, and imperial history and sets the standard for future study of the transatlantic constitution.

Bruce H. Mann

Mary Sarah Bilder has taken an old and long-unfashionable topic and successfully given it new interest, perspective, and importance. She is the first historian to explore the relationship between colonial legal culture and sources of constitutional authority within the British empire, and she does so with a fine appreciation for the negotiated, pragmatic, and changing nature of the relationship. This book is a major contribution to colonial American legal, constitutional, and imperial history and sets the standard for future study of the transatlantic constitution.
Bruce H. Mann, author of Republic of Debtors: Bankruptcy in the Age of American Independence

David Konig

The Transatlantic Constitution makes a major impact on the way we see the legacy of the colonial period and the later federal relationship that continues to affect us today. Mary Sarah Bilder presents an intensive examination of the structure and functioning of the legal relationship across the Atlantic, between the people of a colony and the legal metropolis in London. This exhaustively researched and deeply informed book recasts the way we think about how the "transatlantic relationship" affected law and authority. --(David Konig, Washington University in St. Louis)

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