Common Law and Natural Law in America

Cover of the book titled "Common Law and Natural Law in America."

Andrew Forsyth, assistant secretary for student life

(Cambridge University Press)

Speaking to today’s conversations on both law, morality, and religion, and the religious foundations of law, politics, and society, “Common Law and Natural Law in America” is a narrative spanning 400 years and a reassessment of the varied American interactions of “common law,” the stuff of courtrooms, and “natural law,” a law built on human reason, nature, and the mind or will of God.

The book offers a counter-narrative to the dominant story of common law and natural law by drawing widely from theological and philosophical accounts of natural law, as well as primary and secondary work in legal and intellectual history. With consequences for today’s natural-law proponents and critics alike, it explores the thought of the Puritans, Revolutionary Americans, and seminal legal figures including William Blackstone, Joseph Story, Christopher Columbus Langdell, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the legal realists.

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