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The Age of Antiquarius: On Legal History in a Time of Troubles, 39 U. CHI. L. REV. 475 (1972)


During the greater part of the past hundred years the American law
schools enjoyed a spectacular success. The students, the professors, even
the deans, shared a buoyant self-confidence, an ebullient enthusiasm, a
pervasive intellectual and spiritual euphoria. It is only during the past
twenty years or so that we have begun to doubt, to question ourselves,
to wonder whether, after all, we were on the right track. The selfconfidence
of our predecessors has given way to a disquieting intellectual
disarray. Various proposals have been put forward in the attempt to
rekindle the enthusiasm of the past in the service of new causes. One
such proposal, which has recently enlisted a considerable amount of
support, is that, abandoning the antihistorical bias which has characterized
most American legal writing in this century, we should, at long
last, become historians and turn our energies to the reconstruction of
our long despised past. If indeed the study of law is to become a branch
of the study of history, we will do well to give some thought to the
problem which the adoption of an historical approach-to law or anything
else-poses in the declining years of the twentieth century.

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