Law and History Review, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Autumn 1987), pp. 537-570. From Law and History Review. Copyright 1987 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. Used with permission of the University of Illinois Press. This material, in whole or in part, may not be reproduced, photocopied, posted on another website or distributed by any means without the written permission of the University of Illinois Press.


In my book The Evolution of Law I sought to give a general theory of legal evolution based on detailed legal examples from which generalizations could be drawn, offering as few examples as were consistent with my case in order to present as clear a picture as possible. I was well aware as I was writing that some critics would regard the examples as mere isolated aberrations and for them and for other readers who, whether convinced of the thesis or not, would like further evidence, I want here to bring forward a few extra significant examples.