New Revised Edition of "A Triumph of Historical Scholarship" Dargo, George. Jefferson's Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions. Revised Edition. Clark, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd., 2009. xxxvi, 331 pp. ISBN-13: 9781616190217; ISBN-10: 1616190213. Paperback. New. $39.95 * The Purchase of all of Louisiana in 1803 brought the new American nation into contact with the French Creole population of the Lower Mississippi Basin. While the settlement in and around the city of New Orleans (the capital of the province when it was ruled by Spain) was not large, it had well established governmental and legal institutions. The question of which system of law-Louisiana civil law or Anglo-American common law-would prevail in this volatile corner of the North American continent was one of the most vexing problems that confronted the Administration of Thomas Jefferson. That Louisianians would remain committed to their civil law heritage was by no means certain. But the enactment of the Civil Law Digest by the territorial legislature in 1808 was a major event in the evolution of Louisiana's increasingly complex legal regime. Jefferson's Louisiana shows how this important moment came at a time when political forces and outside events joined together to reinforce local determination to resist total Americanization and to preserve Louisiana's established legal culture. The book reconnects a segment of American legal history to the general history of the period. In addition to official records, it also uses archival sources that demonstrate how the struggle between civil law and common law forces affected people who were either outside of, or but marginally connected to, legal and governmental structures. ". . . among the finest volumes I have been associated with. The issues are complex both legally and politically, and Dargo's accomplishment is to recognize that the legal could not (and should not) be disentangled from the political. . . . The book was, and is, a triumph of historical scholarship, just as compelling in this revised edition in 2009 as it was when first published in 1975. . . . His new Introduction is the best guide I know of to the complicated world of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Louisiana law."-- Stanley N. Katz, Director, Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Wo.
Book number 56332