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Drawing on a range of sources, from classic texts by Adam Smith, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, to Norman Mailer lectures and the critical legal-studies theory of Morton Horwitz, this text offers an interpretation of the evolution of US law. The author contends that it has undergone a series of radical transformations that correspond to four broad periods of American history - pre-capitalist, capitalist, state capitalist and world capitalist.;Laws may be written down in black and white, but as economic and social history unfold, Chase argues, the spirit of the law slips quietly from the letter, leaving room for interpretation; and this grey space is where legal analysis and debate take place, and legal institutions develop.