The Common Law in Colonial America: Volume IV: Law and the Constitution on the Eve of Independence, 1735-1776

ISBN : 9780190850487

William E. Nelson
216 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Jul 2018
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After concluding that the mid-eighteenth-century colonial legal system usually functioned effectively, this book focuses on constitutional events leading to the American Revolution, showing how lawyers used ideology in the interests of their clients and became revolutionary leaders. Ideology thus served to protect institutional structures and socio-economic interests.


Chapter 1: Common Law Constitutionalism
Chapter 2: Localist Constitutionalism
Chapter 3: Uncontested Legal Practices
Chapter 4: The Well-Functioning Empire of the Mid-Eighteenth Century
Chapter 5: Government Failure in Two Colonies
Chapter 6: Weakening the Bonds of Empire
Chapter 7: Testing the Bonds of Empire
Chapter 8: Terminating the Ties of Empire
Chapter 9: Conclusion: Legal and Constitutional Legacies

About the author: 

William E. Nelson has been writing and teaching in the field of American legal history for nearly 50 years. He is the author of twelve monographs and editor of three other books. In 1961 he founded the Legal History Colloquium at NYU Law School, where nearly 100 younger scholars have held fellowships and received post-graduate training, and has presided over the Colloquium since that time.

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