October 23, 2012

Vintage Lawyer Bashing

I recently read an interesting law review article that dealt a lot with the tension in in the historical development of the American idea of the “rule of law.” Specifically, the tension between the technical law as written and larger, more nebulous concepts of justice and common sense. As you might expect, bound up in that discussion was the historical American view of lawyers.

The short version is that we’ve always been on the shit list, even though many bigwigs of American history come from the legal profession. It’s part of the job description.

But just how far back does it go? Consider this quote from a census taken in New Hampshire in 1770 and reported to the king:
Grafton County . . . contains 6,489 souls, most of whom are engaged in agriculture, but included in that number are69 wheelwrights, 8 doctors, 29 blacksmiths, 87 preachers, 20 slaves and 90 students at the new college. There is not one lawyer, for which fact we take no personal credit, but thank an Almighty and Merciful God.
No wonder I’m an atheist!

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