This is a study of the central role of history in late nineteenth-century American legal thought. In the decades following the Civil War, the founding generation of professional legal scholars in the United States drew from the evolutionary social thought that pervaded Western intellectual life on both sides of the Atlantic. Their historical analysis of law as an inductive science rejected deductive theories and supported moderate legal reform, conclusions that challenge conventional accounts of legal formalism. Unprecedented in its coverage and its innovative conclusions about major American legal thinkers from the Civil War to the present, the book combines transatlantic intellectual history, legal history, the history of legal thought, historiography, jurisprudence, constitutional theory and the history of higher education.
David M. Rabban is Dahr Jamail, Randall Hage Jamail and Robert Lee Jamail Regents Chair in Law and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas School of Law. Rabban is the author of Free Speech in Its Forgotten Years (Cambridge University Press, 1997), which won the 1998 Morris D. Forkosch Prize presented by the Journal of the History of Ideas and the 1998 Eli M. Oboler Award of the American Library Association Intellectual Freedom Roundtable.