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American LawAn Introduction$
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Lawrence M. Friedman and Grant M. Hayden

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190460587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190460587.001.0001

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The Background of American Law

The Background of American Law

(p.35) 3 The Background of American Law
American Law

Lawrence M. Friedman

Grant M. Hayden

Oxford University Press

This chapter briefly sketches the history of American law. It begins with the law of the colonies, which was mainly the law of England adapted for life in the new world. After the American Revolution, the legal system had to confront issues that came with the acquisition of western land and the institution of slavery. Much of the law and the legal system was designed to facilitate economic growth. The final part of the chapter briefly deals with law after the Civil War, including the Reconstruction, the age of Jim Crow, the rise of the middle class, and the birth of the administrative state.

Keywords:   history of law, colonies, colonial law, slavery, American West, administrative state, middle class

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