January 6, 2015

Legal Language and Rhetoric in Nineteenth-Century America

Robert L. Tsari, American University, Washington College of Law, has published Legal Language in Nineteenth-Century America in The Ashgate Companion to Law and Humanities in Nineteenth-Century America (Nan Goodman & Simon Stern eds.; Ashgate, 2015).

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.
Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

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