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Roscoe Pound, former dean of Harvard Law School, delivered a series of lectures at the University of Calcutta in 1948. In these lectures, he criticized virtually every modern mode of interpreting the law because he believed the administration of justice had lost its grounding and recourse to enduring ideals.
Now published in the U.S. for the first time, Pound’s lectures are collected in Liberty Fund’s The Ideal Element in Law, Pound’s most important contribution to the relationship between law and liberty.
The Ideal Element in Law was a radical book for its time and is just as meaningful today as when Pound’s lectures were first delivered. Pound’s view of the welfare state as a means of expanding government power over the individual speaks to the front-page issues of the new millennium as clearly as it did to America in the mid-twentieth century.
Pound argues that the theme of justice grounded in enduring ideals is critical for America. He views American courts as relying on sociological theories, political ends, or other objectives, and in so doing, divorcing the practice of law from the rule of law and the rule of law from the enduring ideal of law itself.
Roscoe Pound is universally recognized as one of the most important legal minds of the early twentieth century. Considered by many to be the dean of American jurisprudence, Pound was a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Nebraska and served as dean of Harvard Law School from 1916 to 1936.
In Defense of the Constitution refutes modern critics of the Constitution who assail it as "reactionary" or "undemocratic." The author argues that modern disciples of Progressivism are determined to centralize political control in Washington, D.C., to achieve their goal of an egalitarian national society. Furthermore, he contends, Progressive interpreters of the Constitution subtly distort fundamental principles of the Constitution for the precise purpose of achieving their egalitarian goals. It is in their distrust of self-government and representative institutions that Progressivists advocate, albeit indirectly, an elitist regime based on the power of the Supreme Court—or judicial supremacy.
Key elements and issues in this transformation of the original republic into an egalitarian mass society are thoroughly examined.
George W. Carey is Professor of Government at Georgetown University and editor of The Political Science Reviewer.
An Economic Analysis
Samuel Pufendorf was a pivotal figure in the early German Enlightenment and, along with Grotius, the great renewer of natural law theory. His version of voluntarist natural law theory had a major influence both on the European continent and in the English-speaking world, particularly Scotland and America. An Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe was first translated in 1695 but has been rare in English since the late eighteenth century.
Pufendorf’s histories exhibit the core notions of his natural law theory by recounting the development and current, reciprocal relations of individual states as collective social agents engaged in securing their own and, thus, their members’ interests, including self-preservation. Hence, his histories essentially functioned as vehicles for philosophical demonstration or justification. Moreover, by emphasizing empirical details and legitimating (in principle) the de facto politics of interest, these histories appealed strongly to the emerging nation-states of early modern Europe, which sought ratification of their external and internal actions, policies, and pedagogies. He based his account on the respective country’s own historians and took care to describe its position from its own current and historical perspectives. It was a novel and appealing approach to political history, judging from the long and diverse publishing record of the work.
Samuel Pufendorf (1632–1694) was one of the most important figures in early-modern political thought. An exact contemporary of Locke and Spinoza, he transformed the natural law theories of Grotius and Hobbes, developed striking ideas of toleration and of the relationship between church and state, and wrote extensive political histories and analyses of the constitution of the German empire.
Jodocus Crull (d. 1713/14) was a German émigré to England, a medical man, and a translator and writer.
Michael J. Seidler is Professor of Philosophy at Western Kentucky University.
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
Renowned for his Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy and Reflections on History (published by Liberty Fund), Jacob Burckhardt (1818–1897) has well been described as "the most civilized historian of the nineteenth century." Judgments on History and Historians consists of records collected by Emil Dürr from Burckhardt's lecture notes for history courses at the University of Basel from 1865 to 1885. The 149 brief sections span five eras: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, History from 1450 to 1598, the History of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, and the Age of Revolution. As Walter Goetz observed of the work a generation ago, "It is impossible to imagine a more profound introduction to world history and its driving forces."
Alberto R. Coll is a Professor of Strategy and Policy at the United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island.
In a landmark work, a leading scholar of the eighteenth century examines the ways in which an understanding of the nature of history influenced the thinking of the founding fathers.
As Jack P. Greene has observed, "[The Whig] conception saw the past as a continual struggle between liberty and virtue on one hand and arbitrary power and corruption on the other." Many founders found in this intellectual tradition what Josiah Quincy, Jr., called the "true old English liberty," and it was this Whig tradition—this conception of liberty—that the champions of American independence and crafters of the new republic sought to perpetuate. Colbourn supports his thesis—that "Independence was in large measure the product of the historical concepts of the men who made it"—by documenting what books were read most widely by the founding generation. He also cites diaries, personal correspondence, newspapers, and legislative records.
Trevor Colbourn is President Emeritus of the University of Central Florida.
The great eighteenth-century theorist of international law Emer de Vattel (1714–1767) was a key figure in sustaining the practical and theoretical influence of natural jurisprudence through the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras. Coming toward the end of the period when the discourse of natural law was dominant in European political theory, Vattel’s contribution is cited as a major source of contemporary wisdom on questions of international law in the American Revolution and even by opponents of revolution, such as Cardinal Consalvi, at the Congress of Vienna of 1815.
Vattel broadly accepted the early-modern natural law theorists from Grotius onward but placed himself in the tradition of Leibniz and Christian Wolff. This becomes particularly clear in two valuable early essays that have never before been translated and are included in the present volume. On this philosophical basis he established what the proper relationship should be between natural law as it is applied to individuals and natural law as it is applied to states.
The significance of The Law of Nations resides in its distillation from natural law of an apt model for international conduct of state affairs that carried conviction in both the Old Regime and the new political order of 1789–1815.
The Liberty Fund edition is based on the anonymous English translation of 1797, which includes Vattel’s notes for the second French edition (posthumous, 1773).
Emer de Vattel (1714–1767) was a Swiss philosopher and jurist in the service of Saxony.
Béla Kapossy is Professeur Suppléant of History at the University of Lausanne.
Richard Whatmore is a Reader in Intellectual History at the University of Sussex.
Knud Haakonssen is Professor of Intellectual History at the University of Sussex, England.
A year after the publication of Dicey's Law of the Constitution, William Gladstone was reading it aloud in the House of Commons, citing it as authority. It remains, to this day, a starting point for the study of the English Constitution and comparative constitutional law.
Law of the Constitution elucidates the guiding principles of the modern constitution of England: the legislative sovereignty of Parliament, the rule of law, and the binding force of unwritten conventions. Dicey's goal was "to provide students with a manual which may impress these leading principles on their minds, and thus may enable them to study with benefit in Blackstone's Commentaries and other treatises of the like nature those legal topics which, taken together, make up the constitutional law of England."
Albert Venn Dicey (1835–1922) was Vinerian Professor of English Law at Oxford University from 1882 to 1909.