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American Law Through English Eyes: A Century of Nightmares and Noble Dreams, 84 Georgetown Law Journal 2215 (1996)


For a glorious brief moment a hundred years ago, American jurisprudence experienced the thrill of trans-Atlantic recognition. The leading British jurists looked to America, and especially to the Harvard Law School, as the new Athens of legal thought. From then on things have mostly gone downhill. British legal theorists have generally regarded their American counterparts with something between indifference and amused complacency. Our most distinctive legal-intellectual achievement, legal realism, is classified in British jurisprudence texts as an odd minor school of chaps who rather curiously supposed law was just what judges do, and do according to passing psychological whims, political fancies, or hunches.

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