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Early American Judicial Pragmatism, 1793-1949

55 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2012  

Robert F. Blomquist

Valparaiso University Law School

Date Written: October 19, 2012


After the writings of Charles S. Peirce and William James became popular among intellectuals in the early twentieth century, American judges started to use pragmatic parlance to decide cases. Starting with a trilogy of opinions by Supreme Court of Florida Justice Thomas M. Shackelford, a variety of prominent jurists deployed pragmatic analysis in their opinions. These judges included Benjamin Cardozo, Learned Hand, Robert Jackson, and Jerome Frank. American judicial theorists can learn a lot from this early use of pragmatism language in judicial opinions written before 1950.

Keywords: pragmatism, judicial analysis

Suggested Citation

Blomquist, Robert F., Early American Judicial Pragmatism, 1793-1949 (October 19, 2012). Valparaiso University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 12-13. Available at SSRN: or

Robert F. Blomquist (Contact Author)

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

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Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493
United States
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