Document Type



Evidence of Character in Civil and Criminal Proceedings, 12 Yale Law Journal 352 (1903)


In our law, the word character has no single, well defined, technical meaning. Sometimes it means actual character, disposition, what a person is, and sometimes it means reputed character, reputation, community opinion as to character, what a person is supposed to be. When used in the sense of nature or disposition, sometimes it means the entire character, the "sum of the inherited and acquired ethical traits which gave to a man his individuality," as when we speak of good or bad character generally; and sometimes it means a single trait of character, as when we speak of a person's honesty, chastity, or veracity. Sometimes it has reference to moral traits or qualities and sometimes not.

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