Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1909

Abstract

It is not my purpose to unduly emphasize the light which the study of the laws of a people throws upon its character and development. The teaching of history should be broad enough to recognize the importance of all sides of national life. But I believe there has never been a sufficient appreciation of the real wealth of suggestive and illuminating material which is contained in the history of English law. For the English have been pre-eminently a legal race. In the study of Roman History Roman Law has always occupied a prominent place. The Romans made their reputation, so to speak, on their conquests and on their law. They did not borrow their legal system, but they created it. Now the same is true of the English, and in that respect they stand practically alone among modern European nations. The continental nations, with the exception of the Scandinavians, merely appropriated the civil law of Rome. England developed a separate, distinct and characteristic legal-system which differed radically from the Roman law. It grew up as an embodiment of the social, industrial, religious and political experiences of the English people. It was native, and therefore was a manifestation of the inherent qualities of the race. So that I believe it may be said of England far more than of any other European nation of today that her laws are the records of her life.


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