Blackstone in America explores the creative process of transplantation – the way in which American legislators and judges refashioned the English common law inheritance to fit the republican political culture of the new nation. With current scholarship returning to focus on the transformation of Anglo-American law to “American” law, Professor Kathryn Preyer’s lifelong study of the constitutional and legal culture of the early American republic has acquired new relevance and a wider audience. The collection includes Professor Preyer’s work on criminal law, the early national judiciary, and the history of the book. All nine of Professor Preyer’s important and award-winning essays are easily accessible in this volume, with new introductions by three leading scholars of early American law.
1. Introduction Stanley N. Katz; Part I. Law and Politics in the Early Republic: 2. Introduction Maeva Marcus; 3. Federalist policy and the Judiciary Act of 1801; 4. The appointment of Chief Justice Marshall; 5. The midnight judges; 6. US v. Callender: judge and jury in a republican society; Part II. The Law of Crimes in Post-Revolutionary America: 7. Introduction Kent Newmyer; 8. Penal measures in the American colonies: an overview; 9. Crime, the criminal law and reform in post-revolutionary Virginia; 10. Jurisdiction to punish: authority, federalism and the common law of crimes in the early republic; Part III. The History of the Book and Trans-Atlantic Connections: 11. Introduction Mary Sarah Bilder; 12. Beccaria and the founding fathers; 13. Two enlightened criminal law reformers: Thomas Jefferson of Virginia and Peter Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
"...a book that should be put before every beginning student of American constitutional and legal history, to learn how a master of the craft does it. It is not merely a commemorative monument to a great career, but a monument for use." -R. B. Bernstein, H-Law
"All of the essays have been reset to conform to a common copy style, although Preyer’s prose, her citation format, and her typing conventions remain unchanged. The dust jacket, cover, type, and paper all combine to make an attractive, readable volume. Cambridge University Press is to be congratulated for packaging everything in so pleasing a guise. Moreover, the fulfills the editors’ desire to make Preyer’s work more readily available and therefore more accessible to a wide reading audience. That readership will include an array of advanced undergraduate students, graduate students, legal historians, and just about anyone who is curious about aspects of early American legal history.
Those of us who know Preyer’s work will rejoice at having the best of her essays in a convenient gathering that we can turn to at will. We can savor anew our favorite articles and be reminded once more of our own indebtedness to a wonderful scholar and colleague. I, for one, especially enjoyed re-reading the last two pieces because of their connection to my own writing about the importance of books to the making of early American law. And we both shared a passion for book collecting. And now, every time I reach for my copy of the 1778 Philadelphia edition of Cesare Beccaria’s An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, I will think of her." - Warren M. Billings, PhD, Newsletter of the Legal History & Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries
"This is more than a memorial to a distinguished scholar--it is a book that should be put before every beginning student of American constitutional and legal history, to learn how a master of the craft does it. It is not merely a commemorative monument to a great career, but a monument for use."
H-Law, R. B. Bernstein, New York Law School