Ranging from the founding era to Reconstruction, from the making of the modern state to its post-New Deal limits, John Fabian Witt illuminates the legal and constitutional foundations of American nationhood through the stories of five patriots and critics. In their own way, each of these individuals came up against the power of American national institutions to shape the directions of legal change.
Winner, ISHS Superior Achievement Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2016
A concise legal history of Illinois through the end of the nineteenth century, Prairie Justice covers the region’s progression from French to British to early American legal systems, which culminated in a unique body of Illinois law that has influenced other jurisdictions. Written by Roger L. Severns in the 1950s and published in serial form in the 1960s, Prairie Justice is available now for the first time as a book, thanks to the work of editor John A. Lupton, an Illinois and legal historian who also contributed an introduction.
Illinois’ legal development demonstrates the tension between two completely different European legal systems, between river communities and prairie towns, and between agrarian and urban interests. Severns uses several rulings—including a reconstitution of the Supreme Court in 1824, slavery-related cases, and the impeachment of a Supreme Court justice—to examine political movements in Illinois and their impact on the local judiciary. Through legal decisions, the Illinois judiciary became an independent, co-equal branch of state government. By the mid-nineteenth century, Illinois had established itself as a leading judicial authority, influencing not only the growing western frontier but also the industrialized and farming regions of the country. With a close eye for detail, Severns reviews the status of the legal profession during the 1850s by looking new members of the Court, the nostalgia of circuit riding, and how a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln rose to prominence.
Illinois has a rich judicial history, but that history has not been adequately documented until now. With the publication of Prairie Justice, those interested in Illinois legal history finally have a book that covers the development of the state’s judiciary in its formative years.
This book presents an engaging collection of essays exploring "catholic" and "Catholic" perspectives on American law--catholic in their claims of universal truths, and Catholic in their grounding in the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
It is not uncommon for white suburban youths to perform rap music, for New York fashion designers to ransack the world's closets for inspiration, or for Euro-American authors to adopt the voice of a geisha or shaman. But who really owns these art forms? Is it the community in which they were originally generated, or the culture that has absorbed them?
While claims of authenticity or quality may prompt some consumers to seek cultural products at their source, the communities of origin are generally unable to exclude copyists through legal action. Like other works of unincorporated group authorship, cultural products lack protection under our system of intellectual property law. But is this legal vacuum an injustice, the lifeblood of American culture, a historical oversight, a result of administrative incapacity, or all of the above?
Who Owns Culture? offers the first comprehensive analysis of cultural authorship and appropriation within American law. From indigenous art to Linux, Susan Scafidi takes the reader on a tour of the no-man's-land between law and culture, pausing to ask: What prompts us to offer legal protection to works of literature, but not folklore? What does it mean for a creation to belong to a community, especially a diffuse or fractured one? And is our national culture the product of Yankee ingenuity or cultural kleptomania?
Providing new insights to communal authorship, cultural appropriation, intellectual property law, and the formation of American culture, this innovative and accessible guide greatly enriches future legal understanding of cultural production.
State laws affect nearly every aspect of our daily lives—our safety, personal relationships, and business dealings—but receive less scholarly attention than federal laws and courts. Joseph A. Ranney looks at how state laws have evolved and shaped American history, through the lens of the historically influential state of Wisconsin.
Organized around periods of social need and turmoil, the book considers the role of states as legal laboratories in establishing American authority west of the Appalachians, in both implementing and limiting Jacksonian reforms and in navigating legal crises before and during the Civil War—including Wisconsin's invocation of sovereignty to defy federal fugitive slave laws. Ranney also surveys judicial revolts, the reforms of the Progressive era, and legislative responses to struggles for civil rights by immigrants, women, Native Americans, and minorities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Since the 1960s, battles have been fought at the state level over such issues as school vouchers, voting, and abortion rights.