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Georgetown Law Library

American Legal History Research Guide

This research guide in American legal history includes materials dealing with settlement through the twentieth century.


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American Legal History: An Overview

Researching legal history requires a different set of skills and materials than traditional legal research. The books in the general overview section are useful both as substantive accounts of American legal history and examples of seminal works in the field, demonstrating strong methodological approaches to their subjects. For additional information on methodology, consultMaking Legal History: Approaches and Methodologies

Some of the resources in this guide may be familiar. There are useful legal history resources in both LexisNexis and HeinOnline. However, you should not end your research there. Make sure to check the section on Historical Research Databases, which contains abundant resources less familiar to many law students. 

There are also sections corresponding with courses offered at the Law Center: Early American Legal History: From Settlement to Reconstruction, 1600-1880 and New Deal Legal History Seminar

This guide does not cover resources dealing exclusively with constitutional history, since the library provides an entire research guide dealing exclusively with that topic: Constitutional Law & History Research Guide.