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09/30/2013

Aaron Knapp: James Wilson and the Birth of American Jurisprudence
Michael Ramsey

Aaron T. Knapp (Boston University - Department of History) has posted Law's Revolutionary: James Wilson and the Birth of American Jurisprudence (Journal of Law and Politics, forthcoming) on SSRN.  Here is the abstract:

This intellectual history of oft-forgotten founder James Wilson contends that as an outgrowth of his peculiar anti-Publian constitutionalism, Wilson’s post-ratification jurisprudence endeavored conceptually to reconcile American Law with the American Revolution in ways that even his ablest commentators have failed to appreciate but which boast a significance in the history of American legal thought that should command the attention of legal and constitutional historians alike. Spanning the period from 1774 to 1798, the Article’s historical analysis of Wilson’s ideas over time complicates prevailing literature on popular sovereignty’s origins and influence in post-Revolutionary America, revises influential scholarship interpreting pre-Marshallian Federalist jurisprudence in the 1790s, and sheds new light on the role of civic virtue in early American constitutional culture.