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The Creation of American Law: John Jay, Oliver Ellsworth and the 1790s Supreme Court

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By Jude M. Pfister

With the Constitutional Convention in 1787, America was set on a course to develop a unique system of law with roots in the English common law tradition. This new system, its foundations in Article III of the Constitution, called for a national judiciary headed by a supreme court--which first met in 1790.

This book serves as a history of America's national law with a look at those--such as John Jay (the first Chief), James Iredell, Bushrod Washington and James Wilson--who set in motion not only the new Supreme Court, but also the new federal judiciary. These founders displayed great dexterity in maneuvering through the fraught political landscape of the 1790s.