Legal Language in Nineteenth-Century America


Legal Language in Nineteenth-Century America


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This contribution explores the development of legal language in nineteenth-century America as a species of political discourse. In particular, I sketch the broad, competing trends in legal language. On the one hand, legal rhetoric became more popular and fragmented, as the sources of law multiplied. On the other hand, the law also became increasingly sophisticated and specialized with the rise of institutions. These features on the surface of legal rhetoric hinted at deeper changes in the imperatives of political development and efforts at cultural resistance.

Publication Date

January 2015




humanities, legal language, law and literature, law, legal history, politics, slavery, perfectionism, utopia, abolition, rhetoric, property, pioneer, sex equality


African American Studies | American Literature | American Politics | American Popular Culture | Civil Rights and Discrimination | Constitutional Law | Courts | Fourteenth Amendment | Indigenous Studies | Jurisprudence | Law and Gender | Law and Philosophy | Law and Politics | Law and Society | Legal | Legal Theory | Political History | Political Theory | Public Law and Legal Theory | Rhetoric

Legal Language in Nineteenth-Century America