Vanderbilt Law Review

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Commentators surprisingly have failed to focus on the influence of regionalism in the development of American law. To be sure, numerous books and articles examine state law and its local application or explore the treatment by several states of a particular legal concept or category of laws. But attempts to define regional attitudes toward law or to analyze regional differences in legal practice are almost nonexistent. So foreign has the topic of regionalism been to scholarship in American legal history that Lawrence Friedman's acclaimed synthesis, A History of American Law,' contains no discussion of regionalism or its close relative,sectionalism. Even now, no comprehensive study treats the law of any region in the country, including the South, despite countless regional studies by scholars from many disciplines.

This omission has not gone without notice. As early as 1950 James Willard Hurst called for greater attention to regional and state legal history. In 1982 Hurst declared that "it is only within recent years that students of legal history have begun to explore ways in which legal doctrine and uses of law may have shaped or responded to sectional experiences and patterns different from or in tension with interests taking place on a national scale.' Still,many topics remain unexplored, and historians have not developed any central themes to guide a regional approach to legal history.The purpose of this Article is to make a modest beginning in this direction.

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