In speaking about the law, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once said, "To know what it is, we must know what it has been, and what it tends to become." G. Edward White, a leading legal historian, presents Law in American History, a two-volume, comprehensive narrative history of American law from the colonial period to the present. In this first volume, White explores the key turning points in roughly the first half of the American legal system, from the development of order in the colonies, to the signing of the Constitution, to the dissolution of the Union just before the Civil War. In addition to these events, White analyzes issues like race, gender, and slavery that undergird the development of American jurisprudence. Along the way, he provides a compelling case for why law can be seen as the key to understanding the development of American life as we know it, shaping virtually every aspect of the American experience from the way we handle international relations to the food we choose to eat and drink. Thought-provoking and artfully written, Law in American History, Vol. 1 is an essential text for both students of law and general readers alike.