Musing on Clio: Why Study the Past, History, and Legal History
University of Texas Tarlton Law Library Legal History Series, 2009
45 Pages Posted: 30 May 2009
Date Written: May 1, 2009
This paper pursues two themes. First, it argues that there is a commonality between the general interest in the past, the interest of historians, and interest of legal historians. Second, it shows that several ideas about the past commonly appear in all three contexts. In pursuing this themes, the paper begins by reviewing the initial study of past and the emergence of history and legal history in academia. It explores the various reasons that the early historians and later academic historians and legal historians studied the past and the different ways in which they used it. The paper then pursues in more detail the development of Anglo-American legal history as a scholarly tradition. It identifies three types of academic legal history: classical, liberal, and critical and discusses their natures and different uses of the past. Finally, the paper explores the substantial legal history scholarship and its relevance to scholars who are not legal historians. The paper concludes by stressing the importance of studying the legal past.
Keywords: legal history, legal education, historiography
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