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Final Exam Questions


 Remember to read the Instructions.


            Lately, Lawrence Friedman and I have been discussing the possibility of my becoming the co-author of the third edition of his book, A History of American Law.

            Your assignment is to draft a memorandum to me in which you argue for the changes that should be made to the current edition of A History of American Law.

            You have three principal goals.  One goal is to identify those parts of Friedman's book that must be changed because his arguments are either unclear, out-of-date, or just plain wrong.  The second goal is to suggest topics that should be included, excluded, emphasized, or de-emphasized in the third edition.  The third goal is to make suggestions that will improve the usefulness of the book as a textbook for legal history courses taught in law schools, graduate schools, or to advanced undergraduates.

            You should, of course, write the memo from your own viewpoint, but you should also not ignore Professor Russell's arguments as you write your memorandum.




            In 1860, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Ernestine L. Rose, Wendell Phillips, Susan B. Anthony, and others debated the issue of divorce at the Tenth National Woman's Rights Convention (See Docs., 353-72.).  Examine their arguments and debate closely.

            How do the debate and the arguments of the participants fit within broader currents of the legal history of the United States from 1800 through the end of Reconstruction?

            You may, and should, consider the relationship of the divorce arguments to other issues affecting women and families, but you should not limit yourself to this inquiry.  The real point of this question is for you to consider the relationship of the arguments about divorce to broader tensions or changes at roughly the same time in American legal culture.


2009.  Thomas D. Russell
Last modified:  18 November 2009