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There is no question that at the beginning of the 21st century the United States stands at the apex of world economic supremacy How did this relatively young and diverse nation reach such a level of preeminence In The Transformation of American Law 1780-1860 Morton J Horowitz attempts to demonstrate that the rulings of antebellum judges in cooperation with lawyers and big business directly and consciously effected the common law of the United States Mr Horowitz asserts that a change in legal ideology enabled commercial groups to win a disproportionate amount of wealth and power in American society The genesis of this new ideology according to Mr Horowitz began when the legal profession forged a mutually beneficial alliance with the merchant elite in order to gain wealth and power Thus the law began its evolution spurred by the court system of favoring economic growth and development In order to prove these theories one would need to do exhaustive research scouring the legal books for precedent setting decisions which support this claim Mr Horowitz was certainly up for the task Armed with legal fact Mr Horowitz proceeds to connect judicial precedents favoring social change with precedent setting decisions favoring corporations leading to contract law reform At first glance he presents a strong argument From the outset Mr Horowitz establishes the obvious change in civil decision making contrasting pre-Revolutionary court decisions which favored the individual with those of the 19th century which focused more on community impact and social change typically fostering the advance of an emergent industrial society Mr Horowitz first turns his attention to the concept of property rights and how the need for commercial development spawned judicial precedents Prior to the 19th century a property owner possessed absolute dominion over his land The law upheld the belief which prevented a neighbors land to be used in such a way that conflicted with his neighbors quiet enjoyment In a 1799 New Jersey decision a
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