Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 08 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the era of ‘legal formalism’, which is usually taken to refer to the period in American legal thought between the 1860s and the 1920s, when a new generation of post-bellum treatise-writers and legal academics sought to discover the underlying principles of common law cases, and put them into a rational order. This period is sometimes also referred to as the era of ‘classical legal thought’. In contemporary jurisprudence, the term ‘formalism’ refers to a specific approach to adjudication and constitutional interpretation, which has its defenders as well as its critics. However, in the era under study, it was neither a term which jurists used to describe themselves, nor one which their critics used to describe them.

Keywords: legal formalism, legal history, jurisprudence, American legal thought, common law

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.