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Download Creation american common law by Howard Schweber PDF

By Howard Schweber

The United States built its personal approach of the "common legislations" (the identify for felony ideas built via judges) within the mid-nineteenth century, leaving behind the criminal process inherited from England. This comparative research of the improvement of yankee legislation contrasts the reports of North and South via a learn of Illinois and Virginia, supported through observations from six states. It has an unique comparative concentration highlighting the connections among criminal improvement, American political idea, and American political and fiscal improvement.

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These conflicts were worked out in the state courts, as individuals brought claims of grievance forward for adjudication. Salus populi, after all, was a legal as well as a political concept. The judges who sat on the highest courts in northern states were more than ready to consider a sweeping reevaluation of their governing principles. Detailed examination of cases decided by the Illinois Supreme Court 0521824621c01 0 521 824621 North and South October 9, 2003 8:20 33 in the 1850s demonstrates that time and again, justices who might have decided claims in terms of existing common law rules instead treated them as opportunities for the articulation of broad theories that connected rules of legal adjudication with political and political-economic ideological principles.

Holmes, 1881: 86, 89, emphasis added). The Duty to Get Out of the Way was ultimately grounded in the requirement that citizens be familiar with standards for the conduct that was required to promote progress, a goal not served by permitting one’s self or one’s animals to be run into by trains. The new legal rules that were developed in the context of railroad cases quickly spread to cover the breadth of the common law. ” Thirty years later, a digest of Illinois law contained hundreds of cases under “negligence,” covering all areas of life (Freeman, 1856; Wood and Long, 1882).

Party politics offered little redress. States were in competition for markets, and the rail lines were the key to access. Railroads meant growth, and an increase in the wealth of the state. Legislators answered to the demands of investors and growing urban populations. And farmers, as a class, were not inclined to opposition. The trains promised and delivered commercial outlets for farmers’ crops, which transformed farming into an industry in its own right. By the end of the 1850s, farmers as a class were primarily concerned with the rates being charged for the transportation of their crops, not with trying to prevent the construction of the rail lines.

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