Legal History reading list, preliminary
The following are, by and large, fundamental books that anyone doing legal history should read; most other books build on or respond to these works. (Many of these are older works because my intention has been to provide the foundation upon which more recent studies have been based.)
I've arranged the list into three main groups: first, there are some basic studies which provide an overview of the field; second I have set out some books in a basic chronology; and third, I have put some books under topical headings. Many of the books, obviously, fit into more than one slot, so you should skim through all the sections to see if there are books in one that are relevant to others.
Friedman, Lawrence M., American Law in the Twentieth Century (2002).
Friedman, Lawrence M., Crime and Punishment in American History (1993).
Friedman, Lawrence M., History of American Law (2d edition, 1985).
Hall, Kermit, The Magic Mirror: Law in American History (1989).
Urofsky, Melvin and Paul Finkelman, The March of Liberty: A Constitutional History of the United States, two volumes (2002).
Haskins, George, Law and
Authority in Puritan
Isaac, Rhys, The Transformation of
Kawashima, Yasuhide, Puritan Justice and the Indian: White Man's
Konig, David, Law and Society
Mann, Bruce, Neighbors
and Strangers: Law and Community in Early
Nelson, William, The Americanization of the Common Law (1975).
Salmon, Marylynn, Women and the Law of Property in Early
Bailyn, Bernard, Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967).
Beard, Charles, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of
Cornell, Saul, The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the
Dissenting Tradition in
Greene, Jack, Negotiated Authorities: Essays in Colonial Political and Constitutional History (1994).
Greene, Jack, Peripheries
and Center: Constitutional Development in the Extended Politics of the
McDonald, Forrest, Nous Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution (1985).
Morgan, Edmund S., Inventing
the People: The Rise of Popular Sovereignty in
Jensen, Merrill, The Articles of Confederation: Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution (1948).
Rakove, Jack, Original Meanings (1996).
Wood, Gordon, The Making of the Constitution (1987).
Early National/Antebellum Era:
Ellis, Richard, The Jeffersonian Crisis: Courts and Politics in
Ellis, Richard, The
Fehrenbacher, Don, Constitutions and Constitutionalism in the Slaveholding South (1989).
Fehrenbacher, Don, The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Poltiics (1978).
Freehling, Nicholas, Prelude to
Civil War: The Nullification Controversy in
Horwitz, Morton, The Transformation of American Law, 1780-1860 (1977).
Karsten, Peter, Heart versus
Head: Judge-Made Law in Nineteenth-Century
Novak, William, The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in
Tushnet, Mark, The American Law of Slavery, 1810-1860: Considerations of Community and Interest (1981).
Wyatt-Brown, Bertram, Southern Honor: Ethics and Behavior in the Old South(182).
Brandwein, Pamela, Reconstructing Reconstruction (1999).
Foner, Eric, Reconstruction:
Lofgren, Charles, The Plessy Case: A Legal-Historical Interpretation (1987).
Neely, Mark, The Fate of
Neely, Mark, Southern Rights: Political Prisoners and the Myth of Confederate Constitutionalism (1999).
Nelson, William, The Fourteenth Amendment (1988).
Stanley, Amy, FromBondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation (1998).
Late Nineteenth/Early Twentieth Century:
Avrich, Paul, The Haymarket Tragedy (1984).
Bergstrom, Randall, Courting
Danger: Injury and Law in
Keller, Morton, Affairs
of State: Public Life in Late Nineteenth-Century
Paul, Arnold M. The Conservative Crisis and the Rule of Law (1976).
Salyer, Lucy, Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law (1995).
Weicek, William, The Lost World of Classical Legal Thought: Law and
WWI to the New Deal
Cushman, Barry, Rethinking
Gillman, Howard, The Constitution Besieged: Rise and Demise of Lochner Era Police Powers Jurisprudence (1995).
Kens, Paul, Judicial
Power and Reform Politics: The Anatomy of Lochner vs.
Larson, Edward, Sex, Race
and Science: Eugenics in the
Polenberg, Richard, Fighting Faiths: The Supreme Court and Free Speech (1987).
WWII to the End of the Twentieth Century
Chevigny, Paul, Gigs: Jazz and
the Cabaret Laws of
Duziak, Mary, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (2002).
Irons, Peter, Justice at War (1983).
Kalman, Laura, The Strange Career of Legal Liberalism (1996).
Kluger, Richard, Simple
Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black
Nelson, William, The Legalist Reformation: Law, Politics and Ideology in New York, 1920-1980 (2001).
Boyer, Paul and Stephen Nissenbaum,
Gordon, Linda, The Great Orphan Abduction (1999).
Grossberg, Michael, A Judgment for Solomon: The d'Hauteville
Case and Legal Experience in Antebellum
Larson, Edward, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and
Cornell, Saul, Whose Right to Bear Arms did the Second Amendment Protect? (2000)
Curtis, Michael Kent, Free Speech, The People's Darling Privilege (2000).
Gordon, Sarah, The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional
Conflict in Nineteenth Century
Hamburger, Philip, Separation of Church and State (2002).
Lewis, Anthony, Gideon's Trumpet (1964).
Malcolm, Joyce, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo American Rights (1994).
VanBurkleo, Sandra, "Belonging to the World:" Women's Rights and American Constitutional Culture (2001).
Bailyn, Ideological Origins of the American Revolution
Ertman, Birth of Leviathan
Crime and Law:
Friedman, Lawrence M and
Robert V. Percival, The Roots of Justice:
Crime and Punishment in
Lane, Roger, Murder in
Masur, Louis, Rites of Execution: Capital Punishment and the Transformation of American Culture, 1776-1865 ((1989).
Meranze, Michael, Laboratories
of Virtue: Punishment, Revolution and Authority in
Steinberg, Alan, The Transformation of Criminal Justice:
Waldrep, Christopher, Roots of Disorder: Race and Criminal Justice in the American South, 1815-1880 (1998).
Walker, Samuel, Popular Justice: A History of American Criminal Justice (2d ed. 1998).
Race, Civil Rights and Law:
Cover, Robert, Justice Accused: Antislavery and the Judicial Process (1975)
Klarman, Michael, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (2004)
Tushnet, Mark, The NAACP's Legal Strategy against Segregated Education, 1925-1950 (1987).
Women and Law:
Bardaglio, Peter, Reconstructing the Household (1998).
Cohen, Patricia Cline, Murder of Helen Jewett
Edwards, Laura, Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstuction (1997).
Grossberg, Michael, Governing the
Hearth: Law and the Family in Nineteenth-Century
Hartog, Hendrik, Man
and Wife in
Hoffer, Peter and N.E.H. Hull, Murdering
Mothers: Infanticide in
Kerber, Linda, No Constitutional Right to be Ladies
Odem, Mary, Delinquent Daughters (1995).
Reagan, Leslie, When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine and Law
International or Non-US Legal History:
Salvatore, Ricardo, Carlos
Aguirre, and Gilbert Joseph, eds., Crime and Punishment in
http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~caguirre/lawandsociety.htm (has links to recent work in Latin American legal history)
Bernhardt, Katheryn and Philip C. C. Huang, eds. Civil Law in Qing and Republican
Macauley, Melissa, Social Power
and Legal Culture: Litigation Masters in Late Imperial
Sommer, Matthew, Sex, Law and
Society in Late Imperial
Beer, From Imperial Myth to Democracy
Hanley, The Lit de Justice
American Journal of Legal History
Crime, Histoire & Sociétés (Crime, History & Societies)
Law and History Review
Law and Society Review
Yale Journal of Law and Humanities