AMERICAN LEGAL HISTORY—THE LONG 19TH CENTURY
Created by Rachel N. Ponce, 2007

Description: 
This syllabus identifies five stages in the development of law and government in America from roughly 1776-1920.  These roughly chronological stages have been chosen in order to exemplify the long-standing tension in American law between Republicanism (public welfare and social control) and Liberalism (individual rights and liberties).  There is no teleology intended in framing the stages as such, rather the structure is intended to suggest that each ideology has had a place in American legal history—sometimes as the predominant political force, sometimes as the voice of opposition.  Within the sections, I have tried to give attention to both the larger structural forces at play and the way that law affected individuals, as law impacts neither one nor the other exclusively.

1. Federalism v. States Rights: Federalism with Limits
2. Regulating the Market: Property Rights and the Growth of Industry
3. People Without Rights: The Dark Side of Republicanism
4. Redefining the Individual: Liberalism Finds its Voice
5. The Health and Welfare of the Nation: Republicanism Strikes Back

A second purpose of this course is to familiarize graduate students with a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches in historical writing.  The readings selected are not intended to provided a monolithic picture of the themese outlined above, rather they have been selected with an eye to highlighting historiographical ruptures as well as continuities.  There has been no shortage of tensions and disagreements between scholars in American legal history and this syllabus has been designed with the intention of  providing students enough information to weigh in on some of these debates.


Federalism v. States Rights: Federalism with Limits

Week 1: Building a Nation: Creating a Federal Government
Amar, Akhil Reed, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (1998). [Part I]
Cornell, Saul, The Other Founders:Anti-Federalism & the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 (1999). [Part I]
Edling, Max, A Revolution in Favor of Government: Origins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State (2003).
Rakove, Jack N. Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution (1997).
Reid, John Phillip, Constitutional History of the American Revolution: The Authority to Legislate (1991).

Recommended
Appleby, Joyce, Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790’s (1984).
Beard, Charles A., An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (1913).
Main, Jackson Turner, The Anti-Federalists: Critics of the Constitution, 1781-1788 (1961).
Reid, John Phillip, Constitutional History of the American Revolution: The Authority of Law  (1993).
Wood, Gordon, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (1969).


Week 2:  The Limits of Government Power: States versus the Federal Republic
Cornell, Saul, The Other Founders:Anti-Federalism & the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 (1999). [Parts II & III]
Ericson, David F., The Shaping of American Liberalism: The Debates Over Ratification, Nullification, and Slavery (1993).
Freehling, William W., Prelude to Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in South Carolina, 1816-1836 (1965).
Koch, Adrienne and Harry Ammon, “The Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions: An Episode in Jefferson's and Madison's Defense of Civil Liberties” William and Mary Quarterly 5 (1948).
McDonald, Forrest, States' Rights and the Union: Imperium in Imperio, 1776-1876 (2000).

Recommended
Ellis, Richard E., The Union at Risk: Jacksonian Democracy, States’ Right, and Nullification Crisis (1989).
Smith, James Morton. Freedom's Fetters: The Alien and Seduction Laws and American Civil Liberties (1967).
Tachau, Mary K. Bonsteel, “The Whiskey Rebellion in Kentucky: A Forgotten Episode of Civil Disobedience,” Journal of the Early Republic 2 (1982).


Regulating the Market: Property Rights and the Growth of Industry

Week 3: Internal Improvements: Paving the way for bridges, canals, and railroads
Dunlavy, Colleen A. Politics and Industrialization: Early Railroads in the United States and Prussia (1994).
Fogel, Robert William, The Union Pacific Railroad: A Case in Premature Enterprise (1960).
Harley, C. Knick., “Oligopoly Agreement and the Timing of American Railroad Construction,” Journal of Economic History 42 (1982).
Kutler, Stanley, Privilege and Creative Destruction: The Charles River Bridge Case (1971).

Recommended
Farnham, Wallace D., “‘The Weakened Spring of Government’: A Study in Nineteenth Century American History,” American Historical Review 68 (1963).
Koeppel, Gerard T., Water for Gotham: A History (2001).
Larson, John Lauritz, Internal Improvement: National Public Works and the Promise of Popular Government in the Early United States (2001).
Sheriff, Carol, The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862 (1996).
Young, Jeremiah Simeon, A Political and Constitutional Study of the Cumberland Road (1904).


Week 4: A growing market: regulating an industrializing economy
Freidman, Lawrence, “Losing One’s Head: Judges and the Law in Nineteenth Century American Legal History,” Law and Social Inquiry 24 (1999).
Freyer, Tony, “Reassessing the Impact of Eminent Domain in Early American Economic Development,” Wisconsin Law Review (1981).
Horwitz, Morton J., The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860 (1977).
Hurst, James Willard, Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the United States (1956).
Karsten, Peter, Heart Versus Head: Judge Made Law in Nineteenth-Century America (1997).
Scheiber, “Property Law, Expropriation, and Resource Allocation by Government: The United States, 1789-1910,” Journal of Economic History 33 (1973).
--, "Regulation, Property Rights, and Definition of 'The Market': Law and the American Economy" Journal of Economic History 61 (1981).


Recommended
Handlin, Oscar, and Mary Flug Handlin, Commonwealth: A Study of the Role of Government in the American Economy: Massachusetts, 1774-1861 (1947).
Karsten, Peter, “Explaining the Fight Over the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine: A Kinder, Gentler Instrumentalism in the ‘Age of Formalism,’” Law and History Review 10 (1992).
McCraw, Thomas K. “Regulation in America: A Review Article,” Business History Review 49 (1975).
--, Prophets of Regulation (1984).
Nedelsky, Jennifer, Private Property and the Limits of American Constitutionalism: The Madisonian Framework and Its Legacy (1990).
Scheiber, Harry N., “Government and the Economy: Studies of the ‘Commonwealth’ Policy in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 3 (1972).


Week 5: Workers & Labor
Forbath, William E., Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement (1991).
Morris, Richard B.  Government and Labor in Early American (1946).
Orren, Karen, Belated Feudalism: Labor, the Law, and Liberal Development in the United States (1991).
Steinfeld, Robert J., “The Philadelphia Cordwainers’ Case of 1806: The Struggle Over Alternative Legal Constructions of a Free Market in Labor,” in Labor Law in America: Historical and Critical Essays, ed., Christopher L. Tomlins and Andrew J. King (1992).
Witt, John Fabian, The Accidental Republic: Crippled Workingmen, Destitute Widows, and the Remaking of American Law (2004).

Recommended
Stanley, Amy Dru, "Wages, Sin, and Slavery: Some Thoughts on Free Will and Commodity Relations," Journal of the Early Republic, 24 (2004).
Steinfeld, Robert J., The Invention of Free Labor: The Employment Relation in English and American Law and Culture, 1350-1870 (1992).
Tomlins, Christopher L. Law, Labor, and Ideology in the Early American Republic (1993).
Wilentz, Sean, Chants Democratic: New York City and the Rise of the American Working Class, 1788-1850 (1984).


Week 6: Institutionalizing slavery
Einhorn, Robin L. American Taxation, American Slavery (Chicago 2006).
Fehrenbacher, Don E., The Slaveholding Republic: An Account of the United States Government’s Relations with Slavery (2001).
Morris, Thomas D., Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860 (1996).
Tushnet, Mark V., The American Law of Slavery, 1810-1860 (1992).

Recommended
Cover, Robert M. Justice Accused: Antislavery and the Judicial Process (1975).
Fehrenbacher, Don E., The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics (1978).
Nash, A. E. Keir, “Fairness and Formalism in the Trials of Blacks in the State Supreme Courts of the Old South,” Virginia Law Review (1970).
Nelson, William E., “The Impact of the Antislavery Movement upon Styles of Judicial Reasoning in Nineteenth Century America,” Harvard Law Review 87 (1974).
Schiller, Reuel E., “Conflicting Obligations: Slave Law and the Late Antebellum North Carolina Supreme Court,” Virginia Law Review 78 (1992).


People Without Rights: The Dark Side of Republicanism

Week 7: Slaves’ experiences of the law
Fede, Andrew, People Without Rights: An Interpretation of the Fundamentals of the Law of Slavery in the U. S. South (1992).
Hindus, Michael, “Black Justice Under White Law: Criminal Prosecutions of Black in Antebellum South Carolina,” Journal of American History (1976).
Howington, Arthur F. What Saveth the Law: The Treatment of Slaves and Free Blacks in the State and Local Courts of Tennessee (1986).
McLaurin, Melton A., Celia: A Slave (1991).
Schwartz, Phillip J., “Forging the Shackles: The Development of Virginia’s Criminal Code for Slaves,” in Ambivalent Legacy: A Legal History of the South, eds. David J. Bodenhamer and James W. Ely, Jr. (1984).

Recommended
Hindus, Michael, Prison and Plantation: Crime, Justice, and Authority in Massachusetts and South, 1767-1878 (1974).
Bodenhamer, David J. and James W. Ely, Jr., eds.,  Ambivalent Legacy: A Legal History of the South (1984).


Week 8: Criminal Justice
Ayers, Edward L. Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the Nineteenth Century American South (1984).
Goebel, Julius, Felony and Misdemeanor: A Study in the History of Criminal Law (1937).
Monkkonen, Eric H., Murder in New York City (2000).
Nelson, William E., “Emerging Notions of Modern Criminal Law in the Revolutionary Era: An Historical Perspective,” New York University Law Review 42 (1967).
Sheldon, Randall G., Controlling the Dangerous Classes: A Critical Introduction to the History of Criminal Justice (2001).
Curtis, George B. “The Checkered Career of  Parens Patriae: The State As Parent or Tyrant?” DePaul Law Review 25 (1976).

Recommended
Friedman, Lawrence, Crime and Punishment in American History (1993).
Hartog, Hendrik, “Lawyering, Husbands’ Rights, and ‘The Unwritten Law,’ in Nineteenth-Century America,” Journal of American History (1997).
Steinberg, Allen, The Transformation of Criminal Justice: Philadelphia, 1800-1880 (1989).


Week 9: The Penitentiary System and the Death Penalty
Kann, Mark E., Punishment, Prisons, and Patriarchy: Liberty and Power in the Early American Republic (2005).
Masur, Lewis, Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture (1989).
Pisciotta, Alexander W., Benevolent Repression: Social Control and the American Reformatory-Prison Movement (1994).
Rothman, David J., The Discovery of the Asylum: Social Order and Disorder in the New Republic (1971).

Recommended
Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison (1975).
Hirsch, Adam Jay, The Rise of Penitentiary: Prisons and Punishment in Early America (1992).
Ignatieff, Michael, A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution, 1750-1850 (1978).
Johnston, Norman, Kenneth Finkle, and Jeffery A. Cohen, Eastern State Penitentiary: A Crucible of Good Intentions (1994).
Steelwater, Eliza, The Hangman’s Knot: Lynching, Legal Execution, and America’s Struggle with the Death Penalty (2003).


Week 10: Medical Jurisprudence and Insanity
Grob, Gerald, The State and the Mentally Ill (1965).
Mohr, James C. Doctors and the Law: Medical Jurisprudence in Nineteenth Century America (1993).
Rosenberg, Charles E., Trial of the Assassin Guiteau: Psychiatry and the Law in the Gilded Age (1968).
Tighe, Janet, “Francis Wharton and the Nineteenth-Century Insanity Defense: The Origins of a Reform Tradition,” (1983).

Recommended
Hughes, John, In the Law’s Darkness: Isaac Ray and the Medical Jurisprudence of Insanity in Nineteenth Century America (1986).
Moran, Richard, Knowing Right From Wrong: The Insanity Defense of Daniel McNaughtan.  (1981).
-----, “The Modern Foundation for the Insanity Defense: The Cases of James Hadfield (1800) and Daniel McNaughtan (1843),” The Annals 477 (1985).


Redefining the Individual: Liberalism Finds its Voice

Week 11: Reconstruction
Amar, Akhil Reed, The Bill of Rights: Creation and Reconstruction (1998). [Part II]
Foner, Eric, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988).
Pincus, Samuel N., The Virginia Supreme Court, Blacks and the Laws, 1870-1902 (1990).

Recommended
Howard, Victor B., “The Black Testimony Controversy in Kentucky, 1866-1872,” Journal of Negro History 58 (1973).
Hyman, Harold M. A More Perfect Union: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on the Constitution (1973).
Kaczorowski, Robert J., “To Begin the Nation Anew: Congress, Citizenship, and Civil Rights after the Civil War,” American Historical Review 92 (1987).
Nelson, William E., The Fourteenth Amendment: From Political Principle to Judicial Doctrine (1988).


Week 12: The Corporation
Dodd, E. Merrick, Jr., American Business Corporations until 1860 (1954).
Handlin, Oscar, and Mary Flug Handlin, “Origins of the American Business Corporation,” in Enterprise and Secular Change, eds. Frederic C. Lane and Jelle C. Riemersma (1953).
Hovenkamp, Herbert, Enterprise and American Law, 1863-1960 (1991).
Keller, Morton, “The Pluralist State: American Economic Regulation in Comparative Perspective, 1900-1930,” in Regulation and Perspective, ed. Thomas K. McCraw (1981).
Lerner, Max, “The Supreme Court and American Capitalism,” Yale Law Journal 42 (1933).
Sklar, Martin J., The Corporate Reconstruction of American Capitalism, 1890-1916 (1988).

Recommended
Berle, Adolph A. and Gardiner C. Means, The Modern Corporation and Private Property (1968).
Evans, George Heberton, Jr., Business Incorporations in the United States, 1800-1943 (1948).
Hartog, Hendrik, Public Property and Private Power: The Corporation of the City of New York in American Law, 1730-1870 (1973).
Hurst, James Willard, The Legitimacy of the Business Corporation in the Law of the United States, 1780-1970 (1970).
Nelson, William E., The Roots of American Bureaucracy, 1830-1900 (1982).


The Health and Welfare of the Nation: Republicanism Strikes Back

Week 13: Health & The People’s Welfare
Duffy, John, The Sanitarians: A History of American Public Health (1990).
Hammonds, Evelynn Maxine, Childhood’s Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diptheria in New York City, 1880-1930 (1999).
Novak, William J., The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America (1996).
Rosenberg, Charles E.  The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (1962).

Recommended
Rosen, George, “Cameralism and the Concept of Medical Police,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 27 (1953).
Rosenkrantz, Barbara Gutmann, Public Health and the State: Changing Views in Massachusetts, 1842-1936 (1972).
Willrich, Michael, City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago (2003).


Week 14: Toward the New Deal: Progressivism and the State
Fine, Sidney, Laissez Faire and the General-Welfare State: A Study of Conflict in American Thought, 1865-1901 (1956).
Kloppenberg, James T.  Uncertain Victory: Social Democracy and Progressivism in European and American Thought, 1870-1920 (1986).
Skowronek, Stephen, Building a New American State: The Expansion of National Administrative Capacities, 1877-1920 (1982).
Willrich, Michael, City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago (2003).

Recommended
Novak, Willam J., "The Legal Origins of the Modern American State," in Bryant Garth, Robert Kagan, and Austin Sarat, eds., Looking Back at Law's Century (2001).
Woodard, Calvin, “Reality and Social Reform: The Transition from Laissez-Faire to the Welfare State,” Yale Law Journal 72 (1962).
Soifer, Aviam, “The Paradox of Paternalism and Laissez-Faire Constitutionalism: United States Supreme Court, 1888-1921,” Law and History Review 5 (1987).
Steven L. Schlossman, Love and the American Delinquent: The Theory and Practice of “Progressive” Juvenile Justice, 1825-1920 (1977).


GENERAL REFERENCES:
Bright, Charles C. “The State in the United States During the Nineteenth Century,” in Statemaking and Social Movements, ed. Charles C. Bright and Susan Harding (1984).
Hall, Kermit, The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (1989).
Kelly, Alfred H., Winfred A Harbison, and Herman Belz, The American Constitution: It’s Origins and Development, 5th ed. (1976).
McCloskey, Richard G. The American Supreme Court (1960).
Skocpol, Theda, “Bringing the State Back In: Strategies of Analysis in Current Research,” in Bringing the State Back In, ed. Peter R. Evans, Dietrich Rueschemeyer, and Theda Skocpol (1985).