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A recognized study in law & society, this volume previously hid out as a rare book or was completely unavailable. Now readily accessible worldwide, it also features a new preface by the author as well as a new, analytical foreword by Stewart Macaulay, a senior professor of law at the University of Wisconsin.
As Macaulay notes, Friedman's Contract Law in America "still challenges those who research, write and teach in the field of contracts. His findings and arguments still call for a serious response today." Has contracts doctrine become "the law of leftovers"? In any event, Macaulay sums up, "Friedman combines scholarship that takes him into dusty archives with insight into the broader effect of both public culture and legal culture. I am continually and pleasantly surprised when I read him."
As with all the quality contributions to Quid Pro's Classics of Law & Society Series, this book features modern formatting, legible tables, and hyperaccurate proofreading from the original text. Moreover, it embeds page numbers from the first edition (in both print and digital formats), for continuity of references.
Praise for this anniversary edition of the book abounds:
"Contract Law in America is one of the most important works in the entire scholarly literature on American legal history. Friedman took a subject that had been treated by researchers in exclusively doctrinal terms, bringing an entirely new perspective that revealed how contract law has been at the very center of how we need to understand 'law in action' in key periods of American development. In the methodology that Friedman applied, in the brilliance of the analysis, and in the new light his book cast on the full dimensions of governance and law in the United States, this book broke new ground. It remains today, still, required reading for any student of legal history."
- Harry N. Scheiber
Stefan A. Riesenfeld Professor of Law and History,
University of California at Berkeley
"The republishing of Contract Law in America is a very welcome event. For years this has been one of the neglected classics of legal literature. Friedman did what the Legal Realists only dreamed of doing-he studied in depth what kinds of contracts cases state courts had decided over time, and found grand patterns in the decisions. As real-world contracts dropped out of common law litigation and into private ordering and specialized regulation, courts abandoned abstract formal rule-making for particularized equitable resolutions. In the present moment, more receptive to social and empirical studies of law than was 1965, Friedman's book should finally find the audience it deserves."
- Robert W. Gordon
Chancellor Kent Professor of Law and Legal History, Emeritus, Yale University; and
Professor of Law, Stanford University
"Contract Law in America remains a classic examination of the relationships among legal doctrine, legal culture, and the shifting frameworks of American business enterprise. Amid the current academic re-engagement with questions of political economy, we can only hope that more historians, social scientists, and legal scholars acquaint themselves with Friedman's probing analysis of how law did, and did not, influence American commerce, and how commerce did, and did not, influence American law."
- Edward J. Balleisen
Associate Professor of History, Duke University