A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1

By Melvin I. Urofsky; Paul Finkelman | Go to book overview

Preface

The transformation of American constitutional and legal history over the past few decades has been remarkable. What was once little more than an examination of the “great cases” has now expanded to include the economic, social, and political as well as the legal circumstances surrounding those controversies. Although great constitutional scholars such as E. S. Corwin and J. Willard Hurst had always understood the interconnection between law and history, in far too many universities a wide and often uncrossed street separated history and government departments from law schools. Today, more and more law schools are offering courses in legal and constitutional history and hiring nonlawyers who can bring the insights of other disciplines to bear on the law. Historians, on the other hand, are demonstrating that they can explicate the legal rulings in a case and place them in a developmental context.

The first edition of A March of Liberty attempted to blend the so-called new legal history with the usual emphasis on great cases. Large sections were devoted to topics that did not appear in the traditional constitutional history texts: common law developments, the relationship of commercial growth to legal change, the rise of the legal profession, changes in legal education, and the handling of certain key issues at the state level. These section grew out of a belief that the Supreme Court does not act in a vacuum, and that the great powers of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce, for example, is closely related to commercial law and economic developments in the states. In some instances, the high court reflects trends already apparent at the state level; in other cases, its decisions determine what happens in state law.

The generous reception accorded to that first edition made it clear that many teachers who have been trained in the new legal and constitutional history found its premises welcome, and they reported that their classes found it “student friendly” as well. When it came time to revise the text, the large growth that had taken place in legal and constitutional studies pointed to the clear need of a coauthor. Both of us share the premises that underlay the first edition of A March of Liberty¸ and hope that this edition will carry on that view.

As in the first edition, no claims are made for total inclusion; even a work many times longer than this would be hard-pressed to cover everything. It is, as are all books,

-xiii-

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A March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States - Vol. 1
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • For Susan and Byrgen—yet Again v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1: From the Old World to the New 1
  • 2: Law in Colonial America 17
  • 3: The Road to Independence 39
  • 4: The Revolutionary Era 61
  • 5: The Crisis of Confederation 80
  • 6: A More Perfect Union 93
  • 7: Launching the Great Experiment 120
  • 8: The Supreme Court: the First Decade 147
  • 9: The Changing Face of the Law 165
  • 10: Adams, Jefferson, and the Courts 181
  • 11: The Marshall Court and National Power 207
  • 12: The Marshall Court and Economic Development 229
  • 13: A Law Made for the Times 248
  • 14: Politics, Nationalism, and Competition 271
  • 15: Jacksonian Democracy 296
  • 16: The Taney Court: Change and Continuity 320
  • 17: The Peculiar Laws of America's Peculiar Institution 337
  • 18: A House Dividing 366
  • 19: The Union Sundered 401
  • 20: The Union Unrestored 429
  • 21: Reconstruction 451
  • 22: The Court and Civil Rights 479
  • Appendixes - The Declaration of Independence 501
  • Articles of Confederation 505
  • Constitution of the United States 511
  • Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court 528
  • Case Index 537
  • Subject Index 542
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