Course Information

Course Number




JD Graduation Requirements

This course typically satisfies all or some of the following JD graduation requirements:
  • Writing

Readings: Current Aspects of Contract and Commercial Law through the Lens of Legal History

Fraud, mortgage crises, banking regulation, tax evasion – these are bywords of our time but, of course, such concepts and concerns have a long history. Many of the foundations of modern law regarding property and obligation were laid in English courts in the eighteenth century –a period of remarkable commercial expansion, imperial overreach, and stock market plunges. How did developments in legal procedure and doctrine shape the course of socio-economic change in the modern age? And what kinds of impacts did commercialization and colonization have on English law in an era of expanding empire?
Readings will explore such questions through study of the development of the Anglo-American law of mortgage, contract, and trust. In examining some exemplary cases, novels and magazines, and works of historical analysis we will consider the different social, political, economic and cultural contexts within which seminal legal changes occurred.

This readings course will meet for 10 sessions of 1 ½ hours each, beginning the week of September 15; specific meeting dates and times will be arranged in consultation with the students.

Requirements include class participation and completion of five 2-page response papers. 1 credit (graded on a credit/no credit basis). No exam or final paper, however students may, if they wish, receive 2 credits upon successful completion of an additional 15-page paper.

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.