September 27, 2023

History of The American {Common Law} Bar

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Countless researchers are so far ahead of the average modern day “patriot” in this research it’s comparable to a high school graduate expecting a preschooler to understand 12th grade level instructions… Not going to happen.. Especially when they act like they know it all by placing their hands over their ears and eyes and insist upon ignoring the conclusion of the lessons..

“There has been so much written on the bar by the patriot community that is wrong that I went to a source that is impeccable. All that you will see on the following works that is added to this intro will come directly from Charles Warren, the author of The History of The American Bar. A lot of the material will confirm what has been said about attorneys and a lot will correct myths about attorneys. It would be a disservice to Warren for me to interject my comments. You will learn something about “common law” that no so called patriot has ever brought forth.”

“There are 585 pages to this book and I have read it twice, fully. Then I went back and book marked those pages that I thought would be good for this article. There is so much to learn from this book because it is not a law book but the history of the Bar in this country. Warren’s last printing was in 1966 by Little, Brown and Company. The Congress card number is 66-24357 should you wish to get it from the Congressional Library. I do not know if it is in print anymore so you would have to ask a book store to see if they can get you a copy. This is educational material and not sold to you, but to inform you of certain aspects that you would not know had you not read this book and therefore does not violate any copyright laws.. This book I obtained from The Clemson University Library. I now put the preface of the book here to start you off and The First American Address to Lawyers by Cotton Mather 1710. Any words that looked like they are spelled wrong is the way they were spelled at the time of the writing of the book and you will see one of them in this preface and others in the address.. Footnotes will be (1 ) and stay on the same page so it may look like the footnote is part of the writing when it is not, so watch for footnotes. Each addition will go by chapters from the book . The Part 1 contains 9 chapters and Part II contains 11 chapters but no chapter will be completely entered.. Part II ends in the 1910 era on Law books.”—The Informer


This book is not a law book for those who wish to study law. It is an historical sketch for those who wish to know something about the men who have composed the American Bar of the past, and about the influences which produced the great American lawyers.

Part of the material in this book has been previously published in a work which had a limited circulation among subscribers interested in the history of a particular law school. I have now revised, corrected and amplified this material, in order to present it in such form as may be of interest and of value to American lawyers in general.

So far as I know, no effort has ever hitherto been made to bring together from the innumerable scattered sources the scanty information existing in relation to the early Colonial Bars in this country. Part One of this book, therefore, is an attempt to show the legal conditions in each of the various American Colonies during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries and prior to the Revolutionary War. In each, the status of the Common Law as applied by the courts is described; the methods of appointment and composition of the courts are set forth; and an account of the leading lawyers, together with brief biographical data, is given. The legislation regarding the legal profession in each Colony is stated in some detail. A chapter is devoted to a thorough description of the materials for, and methods of, a lawyer’s education in those early days; and another chapter gives an account of the Colonial Bar Associations and of the Colonial lawyers who received their education or who became barristers in the Inns of Court in London.

In order to correlate the progress of the legal profession in England and America, two chapters are concerned with a description of the state of the law, the law books and reports, the lawyers and the courts of England in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, thus bringing into view contemporaneous legal conditions in the two countries.

Part Two of this book portrays the growth of the American Bar from the foundation of the United States Supreme Court to the opening of the Civil War. One chapter describes the curious and interesting widespread prejudice against lawyers as a class and against the Common Law as a relic of English dominion, which existed from I786 until after 1800. Three chapters are devoted to the composition of the Bar of the United States Supreme Court during the three eras between 1789 and 1860,- the first era ending with the dose of the War of I8I2 in I815; the second ending with the zenith year of the reign of Chief Justice Marshall in 1830; and the third covering Chief Justice Taney’s career and ending with the year 1860. In these chapters, the leading cases argued before the Court from year to year are taken up and described, not as mere cases deciding points of law, but as striking events in legal history. Particular attention is given to the great lawyers who acted as counsel in the various cases, to the manner of the argument, and to the effect produced by the decisions upon the surrounding conditions of the times, economic, social and legal.

Much resort has been had to contemporary letters and newspapers in depicting the actual part that each case played in its own time, and the actual weight which the eminent counsel had upon the decisions of the Court.

Care has been taken to give in foot-notes the date of birth of all the lawyers of distinction, together with a few other data, such as their college graduation, admittance to practise and appointment to legal official positions, so that the book in this way may serve as a handy reference for short legal biography. (1) A chapter is devoted to the history of all the early law professorships and law schools from I784 to 1830.

The rise and development of American law books is shown in two chapters giving practically complete lists of all the most important legal works of this country between I785 and 1860, with the date of their appearance.

And in order to make plain the influences which developed the American Bar from the small group of men of which it consisted at the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, to the vast and influential body which composed it at the end of the succeeding half century, three chapters have been devoted to the four great factors in the development of the Bar,- the rise and growth of corporation and of railroad law between 1830 and 1860, the expansion of the Common Law to meet the new economic and social conditions arising between 1815 and 1860, and the weighty movement for codification between 1820 and 1860. These three chapters are written from a purely historical point of view, and do not attempt to state legal doctrines as they may be found in law books, but to describe rapidly and graphically the progress of American law as a highly important factor in American history.

Charles Warren.

(1) My authorities for dates are chiefly Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography (1898); Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the United States, by Charles Lanman (1876); and the various biographies cited in the notes infra.


“IT was a Passage in a Speech of an Envoy from His Brittanick Majesty to the Duke of Brandenburgh, twenty years ago: ‘A Capacity to Do Good not only gives a Title to it, but also makes the doing of it a Duty.’ Ink was too vile a Liquor to Write that Passage; Letters of Gold were too Mean to be the Preservers of it ….

“GENTLEMEN: Your Opportunities to Do Good are such, and so Liberal and Gentlemanly is your Education . . . that Proposals of what you may do cannot but promise themselves an Obliging Reception with you. ‘Tis not come to so sad a pass that an Honest Lawyer may, as of old the Honest Publican, require a Statue merely on the Score of Rarity ….

“A Lawyer should be a Scholar, but, Sirs, when you are called upon to be wise, the main Intention is that you may be wise to do Good …. A Lawyer that is a Knave deserves Death, more than a Band of Robbers; for he profanes the Sanctuary of the Distressed and Betrayes the Liberties of the People.

To ward off such a Censure, a Lawyer must shun all those Indirect Ways of making Hast to be Rich, in which a man cannot be Innocent; such ways as provoked the Father of Sir Matthew Hale to give over the Practice of the Law, because of the Extreme Difficulty to preserve a Good Conscience in it.

“Sirs, be prevailed withal to keep constantly a Court of Chancery in your own Breast …. This Piety must Operate very particularly in the Pleading of Causes. You will abhor, Sir, to appear in a Dirty Cause. If you discern that your Client has an Unjust Cause, you will faithfully advise him of it. You will be Sincerely desirous that Truth and Justice may take place. You will speak nothing which shall be to the Prejudice of Either. You will abominate the use of all unfair Arts to Confound Evidence, to Browbeat Testimonies, to Suppress what may give Light in the Case ….

“There has been an old Complaint, That a Good Lawyer seldom is a Good Neighbor. You know how to Confute it, Gentlemen, by making your Skill in the Law, a Blessing to your Neighborhood. You may, Gentlemen, if you please, be a vast Accession to the Felicity of your Countreys …. Perhaps you may discover many things yet wanting in the Law; Mischiefs in the Execution and Application of the Laws, which ought to be better provided against; Mischiefs annoying of Mankind, against which no Laws are yet provided. The Reformation of the Law, and more Law for the Reformation of the World is what is mightily called for.”

[Bonifacius ~ An Essay upon the Good that is to be Devised and Designed by those who Desire to Answer tho Great End of Life and to Do Good while they Live. A Book offered first in General unto all Christians in a Personal Capacity, or ix a Relative; then more particularly unto Magistrates, unto Ministers, unto Physicians, unto Lawyers, unto Scholemasters, unto Wealthy Gentlemen, unto several Sorts of Officers, unto Churches, and unto all Societies of a Religious Character and Intention, with Humble Proposals, of Unexceptionable Methods to Do Good in the World. — By Cotton Mather (Boston, 1710).]