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Weaving together themes from the history of public, private, and constitutional law, The Magic Mirror: Law in American History, recounts the roles that law - in all its many shapes and forms - has played in American history, from the days of the earliest English settlements in North America to the year 2007. It also provides comprehensive treatment of twentieth-century developments and sets American law and legal institutions in the broad context of social, cultural, economic, and political events.
The Magic Mirror begins by discussing the ways that the settlers dealt with one another and with the indigenous populations; it examines municipal ordinances; colonial, state, and federal statutes; administrative agencies; and court decisions. It goes on to relate the ways that property, crime, sale and labor contracts, commercial transactions, accidents, domestic relations, wills, trusts, and corporations were handled by police, attorneys, legislatures, and jurists over the centuries.
The text also pays close attention to the evolution of substantive law categories-including contracts, torts, negotiable instruments, real property, trusts and estates, and civil procedure-and addresses the intellectual evolution of American law, including sociological jurisprudence, legal realism, critical legal studies, Law & Society, Law & Anthropology, and Law & Economics schools of analysis and thought.