Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Americans: The Colonial Experience. Book 2. Viewpoints and Institutions. Part 7: The Learned Lose Their Monopolies

Chapter 31.  The Fluidity of Professions
  • American provincial age
    • one of liberation rather than genius
    • legacy of refreshed community thinking rather than great individual thinking
    • free from perpetration of old distinctions, the custodians of social learning
  • 4 factors promoting fluidity of thinking
    • regression
      • people plunged back to conditions of an earlier era
      • distinction between weapon and tool, for example, proved meaningless
    • versatility required by the unexpected
      • unexpected was usual
      • one who could not be a little of everything was not qualified to be an American
    • scarcity of institutions
    • labor-scarcity and land-plenty
      • person had to do much for himself since there was no one he could hire
      • lower standard set for work to be done
      • land lost many of its ancient legal and social peculiarities

Chapter 32.  The Unspecialized Lawyer
  •  England legal system in 17th and 18th centuries was elaborately organized and stratified
    • barristers - aristocracy of legal profession
    • attorneys
      • not authorized to plead in court
      • set machinery of court in motion on behalf of client
    • solicitors
      • private legal agents
      • neither authorized to plead in court or set lawsuits in motion
      • looked after routine legal matters for their clients
  • Early American legal business too scares to support such distinctions
  • No colonial legal profession developed before mid-18th century
    • courts loosely organized
    • some judged lacked legal training
    • distrust of lawyer became an institution in itself
  • Colonies could not live without law, even if they could live with lawyers
    • scarcity of professional apparatus and lack of licensing guilds led to an informal apprenticeship system of training
    • apprenticeship a door to all branches of profession
  • Lawyer's education
    • more than that of general population
    • unspecialized
    • studied in colonial colleges
  • Development of a less snobbish distinction among lawyers -- an informal grading of practitioners by education and experience
  • Facts of early American law
    • few records kept in many early decisions and opinions
    • scarcity of lawbooks
    • first volume of American law reports published in 1790
    • no great legal systems or encyclopedia produced
  • William Blackstone
    • Commentaries on the Laws of England
      • attempt to reduce disorderly overgrowth of English law to an intelligible and learned system
      • godsend to a rising America
    • by making legal ideas and jargon accessible in remote areas, he prepared self-made men for leadership in the New World

Chapter 33.  The Fusion of Law and Politics.  (not outlined)

Related posts:
The Americans: The Colonial Experience by Daniel Boorstin,  Book 1.  The Vision and the Reality Part 1.  A City Upon a Hill:  The Puritans of Massachusetts.  (12/8/2014)
The Americans: The Colonial Experience. Part 2. The Inward Plantation: The Quakers of Pennsylvania.  (12/10/2014)
The Americans: The Colonial Experience. Part 3. Victims of Philanthropy: The Settlers of Georgia.  (12/13/2014)
The Americans;  The Colonial Experience, Part 4.  Transplanters:  The Virginians.  (12/14/2014)
The Americans: The Colonial Experience. Book 2. Viewpoints and Institutions. Part 5: An American Frame of Mind.  (12/17/2014)
The Americans: The Colonial Experience. Book 2. Viewpoints and Institutions. Part 6: Educating the Community

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