Monday, November 16, 2009

Preyer's Blackstone in America

In the words of the dedication in the Fall 2005 issue of Law and History Review, Kathryn T. Preyer (1925-2005) was "a distinguished American legal and constitutional historian and professor emerita of history at Wellesley College, where she taught from 1955 until her retirement in 1990." To honor her generosity, especially to beginning and junior scholars, the American Society for Legal History selects two "Kathryn T. Preyer Scholars" to present what would normally be their first papers at the ASLH's annual meeting. Now Cambridge University Press has recognized Professor Preyer's scholarly achievements by publishing Blackstone in America: Selected Essays of Kathryn Preyer, edited by Mary Sarah Bilder, Maeva Marcus, and R. Kent Newmyer. According to the Press:
Blackstone in America explores the creative process of transplantation – the way in which American legislators and judges refashioned the English common-law inheritance to fit the republican political culture of the new nation. With current scholarship returning to focus on the transformation of Anglo-American law to “American” law, Professor Kathryn Preyer's lifelong study of the constitutional and legal culture of the early American republic has acquired new relevance and a wider audience.

All nine of Professor Preyer's important and award-winning essays are easily accessible in this volume, with new introductions by three leading scholars of early American law. The collection includes Preyer's work on criminal law, the early national judiciary, and the history of the book.

Here are the Contents:

General Introduction: Stanley N. Katz

PART I: LAW AND POLITICS IN THE EARLY REPUBLIC
1. Federalist Policy and the Judiciary Act of 1801
2. The Appointment of Chief Justice Marshall
3. The Midnight Judges
4. United States v. Callender: Judge and Jury in a Republican Society

PART II: THE LAW OF CRIMES IN POST-REVOLUTIONARY AMERICA
5. Penal Measures in the American Colonies: An Overview
6. Crime, the Criminal Law, and Reform in Post-Revolutionary Virginia
7. Jurisdiction to Punish: Federal Authority, Federalism, and the Common Law of Crimes in the Early Republic

PART III: THE HISTORY OF THE BOOK AND TRANS-ATLANTIC CONNECTIONS
8. Cesare Beccaria and the Founding Fathers
9. Two Enlightened Reformers of the Criminal Law: Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany

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