A history of American law and jurisprudence from its precursory English origins through the ""Formative Era,"" Reconstruction, the Gilded Age, the Welfare State, to contemporary application. Schwartz contends that the United States is a peculiarly legalistic country, and that a study of its law ""reflects the nation's history in all its manifold aspects."" He delineates the development of public law from Marbury vs. Madison through the Fourteenth Amendment, Due Process, legal Darwinism, the New Deal, and personal rights; and private law and institutions from corporation, torts, labor, the ICC, lawyers, and judges. While this is organized along the lines of a textbook -- neat, convenient chapters, somewhat superficial coverage, many generalizations -- it is by no means inaccessible to the layman. In fact it offers a revealing exploration of a nation establishing its governing processes.