Abstract

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A Closer Look: A Symposium Among Legal Historians and Law Librarians to Uncover the Spanish Roots of the Louisiana Civil Law


Vicenç Feliú


Villanova University School of Law

Dennis Kim-Prieto


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Newark

Teresa M. Miguel


Yale Law School - Lillian Goldman Law Library

February 16, 2010

Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 087
International Journal of Legal Information, Vol. 38, No. 3, p. 295
Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-3030

Abstract:     
The debate regarding whether the origin of Louisiana civil law is based in the Spanish or in the French legal tradition has been ongoing since that state’s incorporation into the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase. Distinguished legal scholars have argued in favor of one tradition being dominant over the other, and each has been staunch in support of that view. This article proposes and demonstrates that the Spanish, not French, civil law had an enormous influence on the creation and evolution of Louisiana civil law, and that this legacy resonates today.

The article begins with a brief historical account of the formation of Louisiana from territory to statehood. It then closely examines the contributions of Louis Casimir Elisabeth Moreau Lislet, the architect of the Digest of 1808 and the Code of 1825. Original Spanish documents and resources that were the foundation of the Digest of 1808 are analyzed and used to demonstrate how these Spanish civil law sources had a profound impact on Moreau Lislet and on the creation of Louisiana civil law. Finally the continuing evolution of Louisiana civil law and the now-famous Batiza-Pascal debate on the origins of the Louisiana civil law are carefully examined.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: legal history, Louisiana, Civil Law, Civil Code, Digest, Louis Moreau Lislet, French law, Spanish law, Digest of 1808, Louisiana Civil Code

JEL Classification: K00, K19

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Date posted: October 21, 2010 ; Last revised: April 29, 2013

Suggested Citation

Feliú, Vicenç and Kim-Prieto, Dennis and Miguel, Teresa M., A Closer Look: A Symposium Among Legal Historians and Law Librarians to Uncover the Spanish Roots of the Louisiana Civil Law (February 16, 2010). Rutgers School of Law-Newark Research Paper No. 087; Villanova Law/Public Policy Research Paper No. 2013-3030. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1694690

Contact Information

Vicenç Feliú (Contact Author)
Villanova University School of Law ( email )
299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States
610-519-7023 (Phone)
610-519-7033 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.villanova.edu/Our%20Faculty/Faculty%20Profiles/Vicenc%20Feliu.aspx
Dennis Kim-Prieto
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - School of Law-Newark ( email )
123 Washington St.
Newark, NJ 07102
United States
Teresa M. Miguel
Yale Law School - Lillian Goldman Law Library ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
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