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Inventing American Exceptionalism – The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877 - Yale Scholarship Online
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Inventing American Exceptionalism: The Origins of American Adversarial Legal Culture, 1800-1877

Amalia D. Kessler


It is widely accepted that American procedure—and indeed American legal culture as a whole—are adversarial (and distinctively so). Yet, precisely because this assumption is so deep-rooted, we have no history of how American adversarialism arose. This book provides such a history. It shows that the United States long employed not only lawyer-empowering adversarial procedure, but also various forms of more judge-dependent, quasi-inquisitorial procedure—including the equity tradition borrowed from England and, to a lesser extent, conciliation courts transplanted from continental Europe. Howev ... More

Keywords: American exceptionalism, adversarial procedure, inquisitorial procedure, common law, equity, chancery, conciliation courts, racial hierachy, market regulation, Freedmen’s Bureau courts

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2017 Print ISBN-13: 9780300198072
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2017 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300198072.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Amalia D. Kessler, author
Stanford University