Law and the Courts in American Political Development

Publication Year


Book Chapter

The study of law and the courts in political science has a long but complicated relationship with historical studies in political science and the study of American political development (APD). Political scientists interested in the politics of law and courts have integrated developmental themes and historical approaches from the founding of the discipline, and historical sensibilities have been a persistent feature of legal scholarship in the discipline over time. As a consequence, many public law scholars were naturally interested in the rise of the American political development literature and the return of historical work to political science generally. Even so, historical studies within legal scholarship and the study of law and courts within the American political development literature proper have often followed distinct paths. Historically minded legal scholars and APD scholars have not always found themselves in common conversations. There is reason for optimism in thinking that the paths of those two bodies of scholarship might cross more often in the future, but regardless scholars working primarily in the law are likely to continue to make important contributions to the study of politics and history.

Book Title
Oxford Handbook of American Political Development
Oxford University Press
New York