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Law and the Rise of Capitalism


Against a backdrop of seven hundred years of bourgeois struggle, eminent lawyer and educator, Michael E. Tigar, develops a Marxist theory of law and jurisprudence based upon the Western experience. This well-researched and documented study traces the role of law and lawyers in the European bourgeoisie’s conquest of power-the first such history in the English language-and in the process, contradicts the analyses of such major figures as R.H. Tawney and Max Weber. Using a wide range of primary sources, Tigar demonstrates that the legal theory of the insurgent bourgeoisie predated the Protestant Reformation and was a major ideological ingredient of the bourgeois revolution.

Originally published in 1977, Law and the Rise of Capitalism has been translated into several languages to international acclaim. Tigarµs new introduction and extended Afterword discuss the struggle for human rights over the past two decades and shed light on the challenges facing today’s social movements. Tigar draws on his own experiences as a fighter for democratic rights in the United States, Europe and South Africa, while adding new historical insights to human rights issues in the United States including the plight of political prisoners and the death penalty.

A thought-provoking interpretation of the role of legal ideology in the bourgeoisie’s ascendance to state power.

Harvard Law Review

Provides a realistic basis for understanding our history and the role of the law in the United States.

University of Pennsylvania Law Review

This pioneering book asks brave questions. . . . Tigar has performed a valuable service in opening up for discussion this area of social and intellectual history.

—Christopher Hill, The New Statesman

Michael E. Tigar is Edwin A. Mooers Scholar and Professor of Law at Washington College of Law, American University. Until 1998, he held the Joseph D. Jamail Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Mr. Tigar has argued appeals in almost every U.S. Court of Appeals and in the U.S. Supreme Court. His individual clients have included Angela Davis, H. Rap Brown, the Seattle Seven, the Chicago Eight, Fernando Chavez, Rosalio Munoz, Major Debra Meeks, Allen Ginsberg, and Francisco Martinez. Tigar recently represented Terry Lynn Nichols in the Oklahoma City bombing case.

SKU: mrp0300 Categories: ,
Topics: History Philosophy Places: Global

Publication Date: June 2000

Number of Pages: 352

Paperback ISBN: 9781583670309