G. Edward (Ted) White (UVA--law & history) joins us as a guest blogger this month. Ted has written hundreds of articles and fifteen prize-winning books. His scholarship concerns a wide range of subjects in legal and constitutional history (and baseball). Ted is the author of classic studies of the U.S. Supreme Court under John Marshall, masterful biographies of Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, a revealing look at Chief Justice Earl Warren, and a thoughtful overview of other leading American jurists, The American Judicial Tradition. "Championing the Rebirth of Constitutional History," a UVA profile of Ted and his scholarship, provides insight into Ted's intellectual agenda and career trajectory.
Ted will answer readers' questions about his latest book, Law in American History: From the Colonial Years through the Civil War (described below), his larger body of work, legal history as a discipline, and other topics of interest this month. Please email your questions or post them to the site as comments.
Description: Law in American History
In the first of the three volumes of his projected comprehensive narrative history of the role of law in America from the colonial years through the twentieth century, G. Edward White takes up the central themes of American legal history from the earliest European settlements through the Civil War.
Included in the coverage of this volume are the interactions between European and Amerindian legal systems in the years of colonial settlement; the crucial role of Anglo-American theories of sovereignty and imperial governance in facilitating the separation of the American colonies from the British Empire in the late eighteenth century; the American "experiment" with federated republican constitutionalism in the founding period; the major importance of agricultural householding, in the form of slave plantations as well as farms featuring wage labor, in helping to shape the development of American law in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the emergence of the Supreme Court of the United States as an authoritative force in American law and politics in the early nineteenth century; the interactions between law, westward expansion, and transformative developments in transportation and communiciation in the antebellum years; the contributions of American legal institutions to the dissolution of the Union of American states in the three decades after 1830; and the often-overlooked legal history of the Confederacy and Union governments during the Civil War.
White incorporates recent scholarship in anthropology, ethnography, and economic, political, intellectual and legal history to produce a narrative that is both revisionist and accessible, taking up the familiar topics of race, gender, slavery, and the treatment of native Americans from fresh perspectives. Along the way he provides a compelling case for why law can be seen as the key to understanding the development of American life as we know it. Law in American History, Volume 1 will be an essential text for both students of law and general readers.
Table of Contents
1. The Colonial Years
2. Law and the Conditions of Agricultural Household Life, 1750-1800
3. Law and the Founding of the American Republic I: Toward Independence and Republican Government
4. Law and the Founding of the American Republic II: From the Articles of Confederation to the Constitution
5. The Supreme Court Emerges
6. Law and Entrepreneurship, 1800-1850
7. Law and the Dissolution of the Union I: The Political Parties, Congress, and Slavery
8. Law and the Dissolution of the Union II: Slavery, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court
9. The Civil War: Setting the Stage
10. The Civil War: Legal Issues