The Rule of Law and the Estado de Derecho in British and Spanish America
Fall 2017 Legal History Workshop
- Richard J. Ross
Professor of Law and History,
Co-Director, Program in Legal HistoryUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Law
Settlers in the New World liked to think that their polities respected the rule of law. They recoiled from accusations of systematic lawlessness. There was not one ideal-type of a rule of law state, but a multiplicity of polities that could fit under that capacious and contested term. My paper will explore the various ways that early modern historical actors—and historians looking back on them—understood the meaning of the “rule of law” in British and Spanish America. What made for a law-respecting or lawless polity; and how could one judge if a society conformed to the “rule of law” ideal?
Note: This is a discussion based workshop of work-in-progress with the expectation that those attending have read the workshop materials. Please contact Jacquelyn E. Burt at email@example.com for a copy of the materials.