In the Prologue to
A History of American Law, Lawrence Friedman
deploys the metaphor of a mirror to describe the
relationship of law and society. He writes:
This book treats American law, then, not as the province
of lawyers alone, but as a mirror of society. It takes
nothing as historical accident, nothing as autonomous,
everything as relative and molded by economy and
society. This is the theme of every chapter and verse.
As I begin the project of revising A History of American
Law, I wonder whether the mirror metaphor
continues to have any vitality. Does the mirror
metaphor attack a straw argument? Has the metaphor
outlived whatever usefulness it may have had when
Friedman first published the book in 1973? Should we
retain the metaphor in the third edition?
Compare and contrast the 1705 Virginia statute
concerning servants and slaves with the 1854 revision of
the North Carolina Code.
(The 1705 Virginia statute, entitled "An Act Concerning
Servants and Slaves" is at the end of the collection of
Virginia Statutes on Slaves and Servants that are part
of assignment 7 on the syllabus. Note that you should
concern yourself with the 1705 statute in particular and
not with all of the 17th and early 18th
century slavery statutes that I collected for the
reading assignment. Put differently, after you open the
collection of Virginia statutes on slaves and servants,
you should find and focus on the 1705 statute, which is
near the end of the big group of Virginia statutes. The
heading that precedes the 1705 statute is:
October 1705 - 4th Anne. CHAP. KLIX. 3.447.
An act concerning Servants and Slaves.
(The 1854 North Carolina Code is a free-standing
document in assignment 27 of the syllabus. )
What do the differences and similarities between the two
statutory schemes illustrate about the history of
American law between the early 18th century
and the late antebellum period?