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Justice Stephen Field


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Essential reading for scholars interested in nineteenth-century political and legal history, American constitutional development, Supreme Court politics, and judicial behavior.--Law and Politics Book ReviewRequired reading for anyone interested in the development of constitutional law and political thought in America's Gilded Age.--Perspectives on Political ScienceKens significantly refines our understanding of late-nineteenth-century constitutionalism.--American Historical ReviewThis book is carefully and thoroughly researched, drawing on a wide range of primary and secondary sources. Kens has given us a fine intellectual biography of a towering, if sometimes overlooked, figure in American history.--Western Historical QuarterlyKens describes and engages fairly both traditional and revisionists Field scholarship and he offers balanced, sensible judgments about Field and his contributions to American law and history. [This book] will entertain and educate any reader interested in either early California history or classical American legal thought.--Western Legal History[Kens] balances extended analyses of technical legal problems and constitutional issues with lively descriptions of Field's days as a lawyer in California and off-the-bench episodes from his later life.--Journal of American History
Paul Kens has done a masterful job of making Stephen Field and his jurisprudence understandable, and he has done so in a lucid and indeed at times elegant manner.--Melvin I. Urofksy, author of A March of LibertyLiterate, perceptive, and impressively researched, this book clarifies long-ambiguous aspects of the meaning of liberty in the Lincoln-McKinley presidential decades.--Harold M. Hyman, author of A More Perfect UnionA major contribution to our understanding of the jurisprudence of the late nineteenth century.--James W. Ely, Jr., author of The Chief Justiceship of Melville W. Fuller, 1888-1910This is history of American political thought, of law and economic development, and of law and politics, as well as a study of judicial activism. It is an absolutely essential revision of what we know about Field and laissez-faire.--Martin Shapiro, author of Who Guards the GuardiansA fine study of one of our most interesting and important justices. What is especially valuable is Kens' placement of the issues addressed by Field in their social and political contexts. The chapters on California are especially vivid and illuminating.--Sanford Levinson, author of Constitutional FaithAn incisive analysis of an extremely complex man and the law he helped mold. Fresh, informed, and persuasive.--Gordon Bakken, author of Practicing Law in Frontier California

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