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A Concise History of the Common Law Cover

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A Concise History of the Common Law

Theodore Plucknett

As always during its long history, English common law, upon which American law is based, has had to defend itself against the challenge of civil law's clarity and traditions. That challenge to our common law heritage remains today. To that end, Liberty Fund now makes available a clear and candid discussion of common law. A Concise History of the Common Law provides a source for common-law understanding of individual rights, not in theory only, but protected through the confusing and messy evolution of courts, and their administration as they struggled to resolve real problems. Plucknett's seminal work is intended to convey a sense of historical development—not to serve merely as a work of reference.The first half of the book is a historical introduction to the study of law. Plucknett discusses the conditions in political, economic, social, and religious thought that have contributed to the genesis of law. This section is a brief but astoundingly full introduction to the study of law.The second half of the book consists of chapters introducing the reader to the history of some of the main divisions of law, such as criminal tort, property, contract, and succession. These topics are treated with careful exposition so that the book will be of interest to those just embarking on their quest in legal history while still providing enough substantial information, references, and footnotes to make it meaningful for the well-versed legal history reader.Theodore F. T. Plucknett (1897-1965) was an English legal historian. At twenty-six, he was appointed by Roscoe Pound as professor of legal history at Harvard Law School.

Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution Cover

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Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution

Germaine de Stael

Few individuals have left as deep an influence on their time as did Germaine de Staël, one of the greatest intellectuals of her age, whose works have influenced entire cultures, eras, and disciplines. Soon after its publication, posthumously in 1818, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution became a classic of liberal thinking, making a deeply original contribution to an ongoing political and historical debate in early nineteenth-century France and Europe. As a representative of classical liberal opinion, de Staël’s voice, which Napoleon Bonaparte tried to silence by censorship and banishment, is a unique and important contribution to revolutionary historiography. Considerations is considered de Staël’s magnum opus and sheds renewed light on the familiar figures and events of the Revolution, among them, the financier and statesman Jacques Necker, her father. Editor Aurelian Craiutu states that Considerations explores “the prerequisites of liberty, constitutionalism and rule of law, the necessary limits on power, the relation between social order and political order, the dependence of liberty on morality and religion, and the question of the institutional foundations of a free regime.” Madame de Staël’s unique perspective combined a sharp intellect with an elegant style that illustrates the French tradition at its best. Considerations was rightly hailed as a genuine hymn to freedom based on a perceptive understanding of what makes freedom possible and on a subtle analysis of the social, historical, and cultural context within which political rights and political obligation exist. Madame de Staël conceived of this volume in six parts: parts 1 through 4 reflect on the history of France, the state of public opinion in France at the Accession of Louis XVI, and Necker’s plans of finance and administration. Other topics discussed in this section of the book include the conduct of the Third Estate in 1788 and 1789, the fall of the Bastille, the decrees of the Legislative Assembly, the overthrow of the monarchy, the war between France and England, the Terror of 1793–94, the Directory, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Parts 5 and 6 contain a vigorous defense of representative government in France, with a detailed examination of the English political system. Part 6, in particular, offers memorable political insights on liberty and public spirit among the English and discusses the relation between economic prosperity and political freedom and the seminal influence of religion and morals on liberty. Germaine de Staël (1766–1817) rose to fame as a novelist, critic, political thinker, sociologist of literature, and autobiographer. She experienced firsthand many important events of the French Revolution, which she followed closely from Paris and, later, from exile in Switzerland, where she lived between 1792 and 1795. Her salon was famous for hosting Benjamin Constant, August Wilhelm von Schlegel, Lord Byron, and other luminaries, before and after her exile by Napoleon. Aurelian Craiutu is Associate Professor of Political Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.

The Constitution of England Cover

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The Constitution of England

Jean Louis De Lolme

The Constitution of England is one of the most distinguished eighteenth-century treatises on English political liberty. In the vein of Charles Louis Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws (1748) and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769), De Lolme’s account of the English system of government exercised an extensive influence on political debate in Britain, on constitutional design in the United States during the Founding era, and on the growth of liberal political thought throughout the nineteenth century.Originally published in French in Amsterdam in 1771, The Constitution of England was the first book-length analysis of the “separation of powers” proposed in Book XI of Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws, which sketched an institutional distinction between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government.De Lolme was concerned to show the manner in which the English political system provided an alternative to the republican form of government, one which supplied both a more stable and a more extensive system of political freedom than that enjoyed in republican states. In addition, and as part of this critique, De Lolme examined the political teaching of his fellow Genevan Jean-Jacques Rousseau and repudiated Rousseau’s republican attack on England’s form of representative government.This edition takes advantage of the work of nineteenth-century editors of De Lolme’s text but provides new annotations to elucidate his numerous references to classical, medieval, and early-modern political practices, along with translations of De Lolme’s citations from sources in Latin and French.Jean Louis De Lolme (1741–1806) was born in Geneva and became an advocate there. Criticism of the political authorities led him to seek refuge in England, where he lived as an author and journalist. David Lieberman is Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.Knud Haakonssen Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Garamond-BookCondensed; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:swiss; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:auto; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:

Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers Cover

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Constitutionalism and the Separation of Powers

M J C Vile

Arguably no political principle has been more central than the separation of powers to the evolution of constitutional governance in Western democracies. In the definitive work on the subject, M. J. C. Vile traces the history of the doctrine from its rise during the English Civil War, through its development in the eighteenth century—when it was indispensable to the founders of the American republic—through subsequent political thought and constitution-making in Britain, France, and the United States. The author concludes with an examination of criticisms of the doctrine by both behavioralists and centralizers—and with "A Model of a Theory of Constitutionalism." The new Liberty Fund second edition includes the entirety of the original 1967 text published by Oxford, a major epilogue entitled "The Separation of Powers and the Administrative State," and a bibliography.

M. J. C. Vile is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent at Canterbury and author also of The Structure of American Federalism.

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The Crisis of the 17th Century

Hugh Trevor-Roper

The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century collects nine essays by Trevor-Roper on the themes of religion, the Reformation, and social change. As Trevor-Roper explains in his preface, "the crisis in government, society, and ideas which occurred, both in Europe and in England, between the Reformation and the middle of the seventeenth century" constituted the crucible for what "went down in the general social and intellectual revolution of the mid-seventeenth century." The Civil War, the Restoration, and the Glorious Revolution in England laid the institutional and intellectual foundations of the modern understanding of liberty, of which we are heirs and beneficiaries. Trevor-Roper's essays uncover new pathways to understanding this seminal time.

In his longest essay, "The European Witch-craze of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries," Trevor-Roper points out that "In England the most active phase of witch-hunting coincided with times of Puritan pressure—the reign of Queen Elizabeth and the period of the civil wars—and some very fanciful theories have been built on this coincidence. But . . . the persecution of witches in England was trivial compared with the experience of the Continent and of Scotland. Therefore . . . [one must examine] the craze as a whole, throughout Europe, and [seek] to relate its rise, frequency, and decline to the general intellectual and social movements of the time. . . ." Neither Catholic nor Protestant emerges unscathed from the examination to which Trevor-Roper subjects the era in which, from political and religious causes, the identification and extirpation of witches was a central event.

Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre, is retired Regius Professor of Modern History at the University of Oxford. Among his works are The Last Days of Hitler, The Gentry, 1540–1640, The Rise of Christian Europe, the Plunder of the Arts in the Seventeenth Century, Princes and Artists: Patronage and Ideology at Four Hapsburg Courts, 1517–1633, and The Hermit of Peking.

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David Hume: Prophet of the Counter-Revolution

Laurence L. Bongie

Though usually Edmund Burke is identified as the first to articulate the principles of a modern conservative political tradition, arguably he was preceded by a Scotsman who is better known for espousing a brilliant concept of skepticism. As Laurence Bongie notes, "David Hume was undoubtedly the eighteenth-century British writer whose works were most widely known and acclaimed on the Continent during the later Enlightenment period. Hume's impact [in France] was of undeniable importance, greater even for a time than the related influence of Burke, although it represents a contribution to French counter-revolutionary thought which, unlike that of Burke, has been almost totally ignored by historians to this day." The bulk of Bongie's work consists of the writings of French readers of Hume who were confronted, first, by the ideology of human perfection and, finally, by the actual terrors of the French Revolution. Offered in French in the original edition of David Hume published by Oxford University Press in 1965, these vitally important writings have been translated by the author into English for the Liberty Fund second edition. In his foreword, Donald Livingston observes that "If conservatism is taken to be an intellectual critique of the first attempt at modern total revolution, then the first such event was not the French but the Puritan revolution, and the first systematic critique of this sort of act was given by Hume."

Laurence L. Bongie is Professor Emeritus of French at the University of British Columbia.

Donald Livingston is Professor of Philosophy at Emory University.

Democracy and Liberty Cover

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Democracy and Liberty

In Two Volumes

William Edward Hartpole Lecky

Democracy and Libertyis the most thorough manual of conservative politics produced during the nineteenth century.

— Russell Kirk, The Conservative Mind

"When democracy turns, as it often does, into a corrupt plutocracy, both national decadence and social revolution are being prepared." So wrote the Irish-born historian, W. E. H. Lecky (1838–1903) in this devastating assault on mass democracy.

Lecky spoke for the landed gentry and the upper middle classes of late Victorian England when he warned his countrymen that an unfettered democracy would destroy the balance of interests in the community and thereby undermine the Constitution.

"A tendency to democracy," said Lecky, "does not mean a tendency to parliamentary government, or even a tendency toward greater liberty." Indeed, the type of democracy emerging in Britain seemed to be the rudiment of socialism.

Democracy in America Cover

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Democracy in America

In Two Volumes

Alexis de Tocqueville

Democracy, Liberty, and Property Cover

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Democracy, Liberty, and Property

The State Constitutional Conventions of the 1820s

Merrill Peterson

In one volume, Democracy, Liberty, and Property provides an overview of the state constitutional conventions held in the 1820s. With topics as relevant today as they were then, this collection of essential primary sources sheds light on many of the enduring issues of liberty. Emphasizing the connection between federalism and liberty, the debates that took place at these conventions show how questions of liberty were central to the formation of state government, allowing students and scholars to discover important insights into liberty and to develop a better understanding of U.S. history.

The debates excerpted in Democracy, Liberty, and Property focus on the conventions of Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia, and they include contributions from the principal statesmen of the founding era, including John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, and John Marshall.

Merrill D. Peterson (1921-2009) was Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia and a noted Jeffersonian scholar.

G. Alan Tarr is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers University-Camden.

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Democratick Editorials

William Leggett

William Leggett (1801–1839) was the intellectual leader of the laissez-faire wing of Jacksonian democracy. His diverse writings applied the principle of equal rights to liberty and property. These editorials maintain a historical and contemporary relevance.

Lawrence H. White is Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia.

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