Barbara Young Welke, “Glimmers of Life”: A Conversation with Hendrik Hartog
In this interview, conducted by Barbara Welke at the 4th Biennial Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History (Madison, June 2007), Hendrik (Dirk) Hartog reflects on the influences which have shaped his career as a legal historian and on the development of the field of legal history since the 1970s. For Hartog, who entered legal and Ph.D. training in the 1970s, social history, critical legal studies, and feminist legal theory and the social movements which gave rise to them were especially important intellectual currents shaping his interest in law in everyday life. The interview also captures the importance of colleagues, academic and professional institutions, graduate students and service to the profession in shaping questions, argument, and meaning in Hartog’s research, teaching, and service. As a whole, the interview suggests something of the complex interplay of intellectual currents, institutional affiliations, political and social movements, and the personal in shaping a scholar’s career path, research questions and worldview.John M. Lund, The Contested Will of “Goodman Penn”: Anglo-New England Politics, Culture, and Legalities, 1688-1716
This essay presents the complex history of the contested 1688 will of a prosperous Braintree, Massachusetts landowner named William Penn. This contested will case brings to life the turbulent years between 1690 and 1720 in New England. In particular, the case of Penn’s will spotlights a political struggle waged by ordinary townspeople, who were committed to a distinct puritan jurisprudence, against the Anglicization of Massachusetts and the effort to fashion a British Atlantic empire based on uniform property laws. Their efforts to overturn the probate administration provide an extraordinary glimpse of the complexity of colonial litigation in the decades following the Glorious Revolution, the reality of multiple visions of empire, and the relationship between law and politics and law and society in British North America.Shannon McSheffrey, Sanctuary and the Legal Topography of Pre-Reformation London
Through an examination of St. Martin Le Grand, a privileged territory in the heart of late medieval London, Shannon McSheffrey argues that pre-Reformation English sanctuaries must be understood not only in the context of complex intertwinings of conceptions of kingship, justice, mercy, and Christian religion, but in the quotidian practice and observance of the sanctuary space by those who lived in and around the sanctuary. By 1400, a number of English religious houses had come to offer permanent sanctuary to accused criminals, political refugees, debtors, and aliens. These small territories, which exercised varying extents of juridical and political autonomy, considerably complicated the jurisdictional map of late medieval England. Determining and recognizing the boundaries of the sanctuary territory was difficult: the bounds of the precinct were marked in some places by walls and gates, but in other places by notional, and often disputed, lines in the middle of streets. The meaning of the sanctuary was constituted through claims, counter-claims, and royal confirmations; through precedent and custom; and through how particular kinds of individuals--those “privileged” of the sanctuary--inhabited and used the territory. Although the royal free chapel and sanctuary of St. Martin Le Grand, like other English sanctuaries, was felled along with a host of ecclesiastical institutions in the dissolutions of the English Reformation, McSheffrey argues that we cannot understand its late medieval and early Tudor history teleologically, through the hindsight of its dissolution. Sanctuary, and the sacrality that underpinned it, continued to function in the early sixteenth century, not as an obsolete relic of earlier conceptions of law, punishment, and the role of the church, but because it dovetailed closely with late medieval and early Tudor conceptions of law, kingship, and Christian charity.Jennifer Heuer, The One Drop Rule in Reverse? Interracial Marriages in Napoleonic and Restoration France
In 1803, the French Minister of Justice outlawed marriages between blacks and whites. The decree, which has been almost completely forgotten, accompanied the re-establishment of slavery and was applied to metropolitan France, not the colonies. Although it appeared to re-instate a similar 1778 ban, the law introduced a new distinction. In contrast to “one drop” rule in the United States, in which anyone with black ancestry was prevented from marrying a white partner, the Napoleonic measure applied to blacks but not to those of mixed blood¬, whatever their actual skin color. This article examines the possible reasons behind this distinction and the ways in which the ban was actually applied. It explores how petitioners and authorities understood racial categories and balanced the relative importance of race against other factors, including religious devotion and the need to legitimate their children, the value of French citizenship, individual service to the state, and the conflicts between the ministerial circular and more fundamental French law. These negotiations suggest the stakes and limits of racial classifications in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Finally, both the institutionalization of the ban and its ultimate end in 1818 reveal hidden connections—and divergences—between metropolitan and colonial histories.