From General Estate to Special Interest: German Lawyers 1878-1933

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The history of German lawyers in private practice from 1878 to 1933 helps answer questions about the inability of German liberalism to withstand National Socialism in 1933. They won free entry and self-government for their profession in 1878, thinking these would lead to civic leadership and expanded liberty, but the changes that were unleashed revealed the limits of professional influence. Exaggerated expectations for the legal profession in public life exposed the limitations of procedural liberalism, with tragic consequences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book whet's one's appetite; it points to new and interesting questions for legal, social, and intellectual historians alike. Any future project on the history of law and the legal profession in the German Empire and the Weimar Republic will have to contend with Ledford's work." Peter C. Caldwell, Law & History Review

"This is another important monograph in a series of American scholarly contributions over the past few years illuminating our understanding of the development of German professional groups, especially in the critical period of their modern formation and before their deformation by National Socialism." Charles E. McClelland, Jrnl of Modern History

"Ledford presents a well informed legal, social, and political history of the practicing bar in Germany between 1878 and 1933. His book is a carefully and scholarly written overview including detailed case studies about a selection of crucial structures and developments, tensions and conflicts. All in all, Ledford's book is a stimulating contribution for the German historian's discussion about the history of legal procedures and lawyers, liberalism, and civil society. The special merit of Ledford's study is that it fills a gap in the Anglo-Saxon historiography about German Lawyers. The author is very sensitive to German peculiarities, and his capacity to present German historiography to an English-speaking audience admirable." Hannes Siegrist, Central European History

"...clearly structured and lucidly written..." The American Journal of Legal History

"...learned, balanced, insightful, and punctilious book..." American Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521030205
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Hierarchy of courts; Glossary of legal and other terms; Abbreviations; Preface; 1. The archimedean point: lawyers, liberalism, and the middle-class project; 2. Freie advokatur: the blending of the middle-class and professional projects; 3. Foundation of the modern profession: the private bar under the lawyer's statute; 4. Institutional framework: lawyers and Honoratiorenpolitik; 5. Growth and diversification: lawyers in the province of Hannover, 1878–1933; 6. Elites and professional ideology: self-discipline and self-administration by the Anwaltskammer Celle; 7. Simultaneous admission: the limits of Honoratiorenpolitik; 8. The limits of economic Liberalism: freie advokatur or numerus clausus?; 9. The limits of political Liberalism: lawyers and the Weimar state; 10. Conclusion: lawyers and the limits of Liberalism; Methodological appendix; Bibliography; Index.

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