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Analyzing an area of substantive law from an historical perspective offers the prospect of comprehending deeper structures that might otherwise defy explanation. The unfamiliar quality of the terminology and conceptual posturing characterizing antiquated legal discourse detaches the student from the force of contemporary rhetorical modes and propels him toward the discovery of otherwise obscured structural patterns. Indeed, the very distance in time between student and subject matter tends to demystify the given field of inquiry, allowing it to be understood in terms of some underlying explanation which was unarticulated, and generally unperceived, by actual participants.

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