Alexander Hamilton and the Development of American Law

Brown, Katherine, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
McCurdy, Charles, Department of History, University of Virginia

“Alexander Hamilton and the Development of American Law,” is the first comprehensive, scholarly analysis of Alexander Hamilton’s influence on American jurisprudence, and it provides a new approach to our understanding of the growth of federal judicial and executive power in the new republic. By exploring Hamilton's policy objectives through the lens of the law, my dissertation argues that Hamilton should be understood and evaluated as a foundational lawmaker in the early republic. He used his preferred legal toolbox, the corpus of the English common law, to make lasting legal arguments about the nature of judicial and executive power in republican governments, the boundaries of national versus state power, and the durability of individual rights. Not only did Hamilton combine American and inherited English principles to accomplish and legitimate his statecraft, but, in doing so, Hamilton had a profound influence on the substance of American law, the contours of federalism, and the expansion of federal judicial and executive power in the early national period.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Alexander Hamilton, law, constitution, legal history, early republic, common law, English law, Anglo-American law, concurrence, federalism, prerogative, common law rights, New York law, New York bar, executive power, judicial power, American lawyers, New York lawyers, early republic lawyers, court of errors, Federalist, American law, American constitutionalism, constitutionalism
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