Provide researchers access to valuable, never-before-digitised historical legal documents
This unique collection, digitised for the first time, brings together records and briefs from 1891 to 1950 that have most influenced modern writing and thinking about American law and American legal history. The Making of Modern Law: Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, Part II: 1891–1950 aims to address questions concerning the administration of justice, the adversary process, and the developing relationship between law and the social sciences, humanities, and sciences. These records are interesting on the human level - they are not just abstracts on legal issues, they are valuable historical documents in their own right.
This collection includes all circuits, including the major ones:
- Second (New York) - enormously influential, especially for business and corporate law
- DC (Washington, DC) – includes federal cases
- Ninth (California) – a key circuit, particularly on western U.S. issues
The Making of Modern Law: Landmark Records and Briefs of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, Part II: 1891–1950 aims to address questions such as: How much was the work of sociologists, psychologists, and historians cited? What attention did the courts pay to those citations? What nonlegal evidence was brought to court or cited? Did the court pay attention?
Researchers will be able to gain insights into legal reasoning used by the parties in advocating their position and to identify the authorities used to support an argument.
The briefs in this collection are not readily available - this is effectively a rescue operation, opening material that is inaccessible to many researchers. Law and humanities libraries that serve scholars and students in twentieth-century American social history and politics will find this archive of special interest.
The variety of information in the records and briefs includes:
- Cases on wartime issues raised during both World Wars and cases affecting conscientious objectors to the internment of Japanese Americans
- Decisions that focused on American Indian rights with respect to land claims, treaty enforcement, and other matters of critical interest to Indigenous communities
- Briefs related to federal economic and labor regulations, such as reviews of decisions of the Interstate Commerce Commission as well as the work of those agencies created by the New Deal
- Rulings that reflect changes in criminal law, with the expansion in the scope of federal crimes and enforcement of laws related to censorship, sedition (resistance against lawful authority), Prohibition, and more
- Cases that address the changing state of labor relations as new laws at the state and federal levels came into effect with respect to child labor, union organising, and worker safety
Platform Features & Tools
Researchers can see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, places, events, and ideas interact and develop over time.
By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections within search terms—helping to shape research by integrating diverse content with relevant information.
Search across the content of complementary primary source products, including books, in one united, intuitive environment, enabling innovative new research connections.