An Introduction to American Law for Undergraduates and Others
This web site offers an annotated reading list designed to give
beginning students of the American legal system a basic understanding
of the fundamentals of that system, and an appreciation of the role
the legal system has played in America's achievement of levels of
freedom and material abundance beyond anything the world had previously
A student encountering the legal system for the first time can
find it a foreboding subject - complex, technical, deep. Our goal
here is to demonstrate that, at one level of understanding, quite
the opposite is true. The American legal system, properly understood,
depends on a few basic concepts that can be quickly grasped by a
serious student. The most important of these concepts are private
property ownership, freedom of contract, and limited government.
Why should anyone bother to learn anything of these ideas? We offer
three answers to this question. The first has to do with gratitude.
Given that many people sacrificed all or a portion of their lives
to bequeath us this governmental and economic system, it doesn't
seem much to ask that we at least understand how it works.
The second answer is practical in a narrow sense. You may be looking
at this web site hoping to earn a better grade in a college course
on law. Or you may want to understand the basics of the legal system
because you wish to become a lawyer, or otherwise use your knowledge
of the law in your career.
The third answer is practical in a broader sense. As David Hume
put it many years ago, "[i]t is seldom that liberty of any kind
is lost all at once." A populace that understands the foundations
of its legal system, its political freedom, and its economic success
is better able to oppose political trends that threaten these foundations.
It is somewhat discouraging that American politics continues to
dwell on how to increase the scope and reach of the government -
along with its cost. This is particularly odd in light of the fact
that in the last decade or so we witnessed the absolute failure
of the Soviet alternative to our way of life. This vindication of
democratic forms of government and free-market economies, over the
tragic failures of statism, could not have been clearer. One might
have expected the collapse of socialism to have a significant effect
on U.S. politics, leading us to reconsider and restrain the seemingly
inexorable growth of government in our own country.
Obviously, this has not happened. Instead, the "post-socialist"
American political environment is pregnant with contradiction. On
the one hand, nearly everyone acknowledges the superiority of private-property,
market-driven economic systems. But at the same time, the political
process in the supposedly triumphant societies of the West produces
larger and larger governments and tax burdens, and more extensive
Markets or Politics?
Simply put, many of the current debates in our society involve
a choice between two alternatives: leaving an area of human activity
to the private marketplace, versus converting the activity to one
dominated by public, political dialogue and controls. Although our
governing documents specified a limited federal government and presupposed
a private-property, free-market economy, today we live with a vast
administrative state with powers limited only by the political exigencies
of the moment. President Clinton's assertion in his 1994 State of
the Union address that "the era of big government is over" was and
remains absurd. Nothing is a priori beyond the potential
reach of the government today, as shown by recent Congressional
debates over the alleged "need" for federal law on such nationally
vital subjects as the availability of day care services and the
service charges assessed users of automatic teller machines.
In short, as Nobel laureate James Buchanan aptly puts it, "socialism
is dead, but Leviathan lives." We submit that a serious student
of law and the American legal system must be able to grapple with
this central paradox of our time. And yet, many students will graduate
from universities for which the collapse of communism was and remains
Unfortunately, many undergraduate instructors in the social sciences
and humanities are indifferent or hostile to the lines of inquiry
necessary for understanding the markets-versus-politics debate.
We strongly suspect that college courses on legal issues tend to
overemphasize the idea of law as a tool for social engineering,
and downplay (or ignore) more conservative views of law as furthering
private property rights and limiting government. (This is particularly
true with respect to constitutional law; indeed, it would not be
surprising to find many college students who think that constitutional
law is the foundation for all other areas of law -- thus confusing
public and private law, as well as the public and private sectors.)
Even business students often have no systematic introduction to
the comparison of markets and politics.
It is to remedy these shortcomings in the undergraduate experience
that we offer the following reading list. Followed diligently, the
list can help equip students with the tools to understand clearly
the political and economic system in which they will live and work.
Our list can be used by undergraduates taking courses on legal subjects,
and by law-school-bound recent graduates (perhaps during the summer
prior to their first year in law school, or at an earlier point
in their studies). We hope that the list will also be used by people
studying on their own, curious about the legal cornerstone of the
nation in which they live so freely and so well.
The List Annotated
The reading list itself, providing full bibliographic information,
follows this annotation. Most of the books and articles on the list
are short and very readable, and require little or nothing in the
way of prior specialized learning. Most of the books are available
in inexpensive paperback editions; a remarkable amount of this material
is available on the Internet.
I. Law 101. For a good introductory
overview of Anglo-American law, start with About
Law: A Introduction, a short book by Oxford don Tony Honore.
The beginning student should then read Edward Levi's Introduction
to Legal Reasoning (a classic introduction to common-law
judging), and Richard Epstein's Simple
Rules for a Complex World (which will eventually enjoy a
status similar to Levi's). Levi and Epstein provide indispensable
introductions to the genius of the common-law system and the basic
common sense of traditional doctrine in the areas of contract, property,
and tort law. Justice Antonin Scalia's 1989 Holmes Lecture, "The
Rule of Law as a Law of Rules," is an excellent discussion of the
rule of law and the role of judges. In his fascinating article "The
Spontaneous Evolution of Commercial Law," Bruce Benson argues that
history "casts considerable doubt" on the premise "that for markets
to work government must define and enforce . . . private property
rights, contract law, etc." Benson argues that many legal rules
were (or could have been) generated by individuals acting voluntarily
and spontaneously. For those interested in a further historical
perspective on the common law, we recommend Daniel Boorstin's
classic treatment of William Blackstone, The
Mysterious Science of the Law.
In a comparative vein, we heartily recommend the work of four European
scholars as greatly repaying serious study. Frederic Bastiat's The
Law was an early (1850) and remarkably prescient warning
about the tendency of modern governments to accumulate increasing
amounts of arbitrary power, and thus threaten the rule of law. (The
Law is quite readable, even for beginners.) Among twentieth-century
assessments of this trend, Bruno Leoni's Freedom
and the Law stands out as a landmark. Nobel laureate Friedrich
Hayek's more demanding multi-volume Law,
Legislation and Liberty (particularly volume 1, Rules
and Order) is a masterpiece. Finally, we recommend J.M. Kelly's
one-of-a-kind treatise, A
Short History of Western Legal Theory.
II. Economics 101. To gain a
fuller understanding of the law, a student should seek to understand
basic microeconomics - the study of the marketplace behavior of
businesses and consumers, premised on self-interest as the primary
determinant of most human action.
Students with little or no background in microeconomics should
read James Gwartney and Richard Stroup, What
Everyone Should Know About Economics and Prosperity - a
short, clearly-written gem of a book. (Students who like Gwartney
and Stroup should also read the late Henry Hazlitt's classic text,
in One Lesson.) James Doti and Dwight Lee's The
Market Economy: A Reader is an indispensable collection
of excerpts from the most significant writings in classical liberal
thought and market analysis. Its inclusion of Frederic Bastiat's
"Candlemakers' Petition" alone is worth the price of the book. It
also contains an excerpt from Friedrich Hayek's 1945 article, "The
Use of Knowledge in Society," which we recommend that the student
read in its entirety.
Students interested in more advanced treatments of economic theory
should investigate two excellent, user-friendly, mass-market books
on the subject by two very good economists: David Friedman's Hidden
Order: The Economics of Everyday Life and Steven Landsburg's
Economist: Economics And Everyday Experience. For a more
technical treatment, see Friedman's intermediate textbook, Price
Theory (which he generously makes available on his web site).
Why are some societies rich and others poor? The work of economist
Paul Romer in attempting to understand the process of economic growth
has gotten a good deal of attention recently, and the reading list
includes several short pieces that describe his contribution to
our understanding of advanced capitalist economies. For an historical
perspective on the process and an explanation of the importance
of stable property rights to material well-being, see Tom Bethell's
recent book, The
Noblest Triumph. Another resource for understanding variations
among nations is The
1999 Index of Economic Freedom, by Bryan Johnson, Kim Holmes
and Melanie Kirkpatrick. (As an aside, to those interested in how
they can profit personally from future economic growth, we recommend
Dwight Lee and Richard McKenzie's new book, Getting
Rich In America.)
* Classic text suggestion: Book I, Chapters 1-2 of Adam Smith's
Wealth of Nations (also available on the web).
III. "Law and Economics." The
economic approach to law offers the student a very useful map to
navigate the maze of the legal system. To get the flavor of this
field, read "Looking for Results," a 1997 interview of Nobel laureate
Ronald Coase, the Galileo of law and economics.
The use of microeconomics to understand the basic areas of common
law - property, contracts, and torts - brilliantly displayed in
Mitchell Polinsky's short textbook, An
Introduction to Law and Economics. In addition, Polinsky
offers very clear economic analyses of law enforcement decisionmaking
(chapter 10) and litigation (chapter 14) that will shed much light
on the legal system for the beginning student. Polinsky assumes
that his reader has no more than a bare acquaintance with the key
concepts of microeconomics, and does not use math any more complicated
than simple arithmetic.
A basic understanding of strategy and strategic behavior comes
in handy for understanding law and other areas of life as well.
A very good (and not mathematically demanding) introduction to the
area known as "game theory" is Avinash Dixit and Barry Nalebuff's
Strategically. Their explanations of such concepts as "decision
trees" and the "prisoner's dilemma" are very useful in thinking
about such puzzles as litigation and negotiation strategy and the
likely pattern of government enforcement activities. (The reading
list contains links to three web sites devoted to game theory -
a survey of the field by Roger McCain, and two interactive versions
of the prisoner's dilemma game.)
After Polinsky and Dixit/Nalebuff, students may wish to turn to
other, more technical treatments of law and economics. As a first
step, we suggest Judge Frank Easterbrook's article, "The Court and
the Economic System." Robert Cooter and Thomas Ulen's Law
and Economics is a good textbook survey of the field. More
demanding is Judge Richard Posner's leading treatise, Economic
Analysis of Law.
IV. Public Policy and "Public Choice."
Most public policy debates can be productively analyzed using
microeconomic reasoning. The classic treatment is Milton Friedman's
and Freedom. Given its age - it was first published in 1962
- this book's discussion of such issues as school vouchers and welfare
reform demonstrates the durability of economic analysis in addressing
public policy issues.
One of the most important developments in economics in the last
40 years is the extension of microeconomic analyses to questions
of government and politics. This branch of economics, pioneered
by scholars such as James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, is known
as "public choice." A good introduction to this subject is contained
and Progress, by Dwight Lee and Richard McKenzie. Their
chapter 7 sets out, in a very short space, the basic public-choice
ideas that predict the seemingly inexorable growth of government
and its attendant inefficiencies. In brief, public choice explains
government growth by focusing on the efforts of small, well-organized
interest groups to seek benefits (or "rents") from government, at
the expense of the public at large. A student who understands this
analysis of "rent-seeking" behavior has a very long head-start over
others in understanding the dynamics of government in the present
Students interested in public choice should also read the interview
of James Buchanan on the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank's web
site, and study Patrick Gunning's very good introductory public
choice text, Understanding Democracy (also available on the
V. Ideological Visions, Public Policy,
and Law. If we had to recommend only one book to a student seeking
to understand the nature of legal and political debate in this country,
we would unhesitatingly name A
Conflict of Visions, by economist Thomas Sowell. Sowell
makes the case that there are two perspectives on human nature:
one that it is essentially "unconstrained" (and thus subject to
manipulation via various schemes of social engineering) and one
that it is "constrained" (and thus resistant to the perfecting efforts
of the government). Sowell writes very clearly, and introduces the
reader to the pantheon of classical liberal thinkers, as well as
the lot on the other side of his divide. (For another view of this
aspect of human nature, read Karl Brunner's article, "The Perception
of Man and the Conception of Society.") We also recommend Sowell's
1995 book, The
Vision of the Anointed, another critique of the unconstrained
vision. Sowell's web site contains links to his columns for Forbes
magazine and some of his speeches and other writings, and is well
worth a look.
After reading Sowell and Brunner, the student may be interested
in how the constrained and unconstrained visions manifest themselves
among law teachers. He should take a look at two short articles:
Michael McConnell's "Four Faces of Conservative Legal Thought" and
Mary Becker's "Four Faces of Liberal Legal Thought." These two pieces
serve as a sort of field guide to law professors' ideologies.
In case the student has any doubt that the far left wing of the
legal professoriate is indeed pretty far to the left, he should
check Robert Clark's address entitled "In Critical Legal Studies,
the West Is the Adversary." Clark should know: he is now the dean
of the Harvard Law School, which houses a significant number of
"Crits." For a strong critique of the leftist drift in American
culture since the 1960s, see Robert Bork's Slouching
Neoconservative thinkers are an important intellectual force on
a number of law-related issues (such as racial quotas and the unintended
effects of government regulation), and are especially interesting
because they have migrated from the unconstrained to the constrained
view of human nature. The godfather of the neocons is Irving Kristol.
Policy Review recently published an excellent tribute to
him, "Battler for the Republic," and some of his best work is collected
of a Neoconservative: Looking Back, Looking Ahead. Political
scientist James Q. Wilson is another major neoconservative scholar.
His 1997 book, Moral
Judgment, offers both a brief introduction to key aspects
of the criminal law, as well as a critique of recent trends in the
law that deemphasize individual responsibility for one's acts.
Two superb explications of libertarian thought were published in
1997: David Boaz's Libertarianism:
A Primer and Charles Murray's What
It Means to Be a Libertarian. The curious reader can find
excerpts from key libertarian writings in David Boaz's anthology,
The student interested in questions of political and moral philosophy
can make good use of the fine Dictionary of Key Terms for a Free
and Virtuous Society, compiled by Stephen Grabill and Gregory
Gronbacher. Those interested in the connection, if any, between
contemporary moral philosophy and the law should look first at Arthur
Leff's article, "Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law," then at Phillip
Johnson's more recent "Nihilism and the End of Law."
VI. Constitutional Law. There
are two kinds of constitutional lawyers: those who take the text
of the Constitution seriously, and those who don't. Much of what
is wrong with the American polity today is traceable, directly or
indirectly, to the latter, who greatly outnumber the former. Those
who wish to bolster the ranks of the good guys must begin by reading
. . . the Constitution. Carefully. And repeatedly. This is not at
all an unpleasant undertaking, because there are few texts that
better reward careful study.
The other two great American contributions to political thought
are the Declaration of Independence and The
Federalist Papers. There are 85 of the latter but, as Clinton
- "Those readers who do not have the energy and fixed purpose
to make their way through the whole of The Federalist may wish
to know that, by common consent of learned opinion, the following
numbers are the cream of the eighty-five papers: 1, 2, 6, 9, 10,
14, 15, 16, 23, 37, 39, 47, 48, 49, 51, 62, 63, 70, 78, 84, 85
(ten by Hamilton, ten by Madison, one by Jay). "
- Of these 21, we would identify the three most important as No.
10 (Madison's argument that the problem of "faction"
-- another term for interest-group politics -- is best addressed
by an extended republic); No. 48 (Madison's discussion of the
need for separation of powers in the federal government); and
No. 78 (the first of six numbers by Hamilton on the judiciary,
with an often quoted exposition of the doctrine of judicial review).
Students particularly interested in the Founding should read Forrest
McDonald's important book, Novus
Ordo Seclorum, and Thomas West's recent attempt to rescue
the Founders from their detractors on the left, Vindicating
No one has made a greater contribution to conservative legal thought
over the last generation than Robert Bork, and probably no one was
more important in shaping Bork's thinking than his Yale Law School
colleague, the late Alexander Bickel. In 1979, Yale named Judge
Bork the first Alexander M. Bickel Professor of Public Law. On this
occasion, Judge Bork eloquently and concisely explained his debt
to Bickel in an address entitled "The Legacy of Alexander M. Bickel."
Of course, Judge Bork set out his views on constitutional law many
years later and at greater length in his book, The
Tempting of America.
For those who want to explore the work of Bickel, his best book
was his last, The Morality of Consent. Of particular importance
there is Bickel's discussion of Edmund Burke. After this exposure,
the student may be interested in a discussion of the difference
between constitutional rules (and constitution-writing) and statutory
rules (and legislation). "The Normative Purpose of Economic 'Science':
Rediscovery of an Eighteenth Century Method," by Geoffrey Brennan
and James Buchanan, argues that an effective constitution should
assume that all human activity, in the market and in politics as
well, is self-interested. (There is an obvious relation between
this decidedly unromantic view of constitutional law and Thomas
Sowell's distinction between constrained and unconstrained visions
of human nature.)
If a student wants to read about the historical process that deformed
many areas of constitutional law, we suggest four short articles.
The three by Lino Graglia develop a number of historical themes,
including the distortion of the criminal law by the Warren Court
and its adverse consequences for our society. Richard Epstein's
article describes the damage done to the Constitution's protection
of economic liberties by the Court's approval of New Deal regulatory
statutes. As the titles suggest, Graglia and Epstein have vigorous
writing styles that they use very effectively to proclaim their
"emperor has no clothes" judgment of much of today's constitutional
law. Forrest McDonald's A
Constitutional History of the United States is a very good
introductory survey, although it may be hard to locate.
Students particularly interested in the question of the proper
role of the courts in interpreting the Constitution and our statutory
laws should read Justice Antonin Scalia's book, A
Matter of Interpretation.
* Classic text suggestion: John Locke, The
Second Treatise of Government (available on the web).
VII. (Serious) Comic Relief.
Pre-law reading lists often contain humorous pieces. Our first suggestions
come from the large body of work of P.J. O'Rourke. For starters,
students should read two of his best speeches - "The Liberty Manifesto"
and "Closing the Wealth Gap." For advanced O'Rourke studies, we
recommend his book Parliament
of Whores, which is a public choice treatise laced with
dead-on humor. "The U.S. government," O'Rourke writes, "is a sort
of permanent frat pledge to every special interest in the nation
- willing to undertake any task no matter how absurd or useless."
Parliament communicates a real understanding of public choice
thinking as applied to a number of topics, with a healthy dose of
irreverent humor thrown in for good measure. In his most recent
the Rich, O'Rourke combines travelogue with economic and
political analysis as he tries to understand the variations of wealth
and poverty across the world. (The explanation has a lot to do with
We are further pleased to note that humorist Dave Barry revealed
himself to be something of a libertarian in an entertaining 1994
interview, "All I Think Is That It's Stupid."
VIII. Additional Resources for Independent
Study. We commend to the serious student the whole of the web
site of The Federalist Society, which offers a wealth of information
on the law from the conservative and libertarian perspectives. In
particular, the site offers the incredibly brilliant "Conservative
and Libertarian Legal Scholarship: An Annotated Bibliography" (edited,
naturally, by the creators of this reading list) which features
an extensive Internet links page.
In addition, users of this web site should investigate four very
large conservative/libertarian web sites: Town
Hall (which includes, in addition to this site, the home pages
of the Heritage
Foundation and National
Review magazine); Free-Market.Net
(primarily libertarian sites); Intellectual Capital (current policy
debates); and the Heartland
Institute (specializing in state and local issues).
We also want to spotlight four web sites that are especially useful
for college students. The first, the Foundation
for Economic Education, contains an archive of back issues of
its eminently readable monthly magazine, The Freeman, as
well as other materials concerned with liberty and free markets.
As explained on its web site, the
Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University offers
an "Independent Study Program" in which college students receive
"study packets" on "Foundations of Liberty" or "Market Economics
and Public Policy Issues" and work through them with professors
on their own campuses, for course credit. IHS also offers an on-line
"Guide to Classical Liberal Scholarship."
Studies Institute offers a wide range of materials for college
students interested in learning about and preserving our heritage
in a number of areas. Of particular interest is their 60-page "Comprehensive
Bibliography of Seminal Works." A free copy of this publication
can be obtained by calling (800) 526-7022.
For students interested in pursuing the insights of Austrian School
Ludwig von Mises Institute at Auburn University offers a bibliographical
"Austrian Economics Study Guide" online.
All four of these organizations - FEE, IHS, ISI and LvMI - offer
short courses each summer for college and graduate students.
The Cato Institute,
a libertarian think tank, offers an interesting program for self-education,
apparently targeted at individuals older than traditional college
students. The "Cato University" web site contains a brief description
of twelve study "modules" on topics ranging from John Locke to Henry
David Thoreau to Austrian economics. Included in the descriptions
are "problems to ponder and discuss."
Users of this reading list should subscribe to "Center-Right,"
which describes itself as a "free, weeklyish e-newsletter of centrist,
conservative, and libertarian ideas" offering "low traffic, high
quality, thoughtful, reasoned analysis."
Channel offers for sale a fascinating array of thought-provoking
videotapes, including Milton Friedman's PBS series "Free to Choose"(based
on his best-selling book) and interviews of Friedrich Hayek, Gary
Becker, James Buchanan, and many other worthy figures. Their catalog
is available on-line. Finally, we will argue for a bit of hero worship,
in an academic sense at least. There have been at least seven Nobel
Prize honorees in Economic Sciences whose work greatly illuminated
the workings of the market system. The official web site of the
Nobel Prize Foundation contains the press releases describing the
Laureates' contributions, as well as (in some instances) an autobiographical
essay by the honoree. Note how many titles authored by these honorees
are included in our list of suggested readings!
As good a list as we hope this is, we know it can be improved,
and we will need our readers' help to maintain it and keep it up
THE CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERTARIAN PRE-LAW READING LIST 1999
I. Law 101.
Bastiat, Frederic. The
Law. Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education,
1950 ed. Available on the web at http://www.constitution.org/law/bastiat.htm
Benson, Bruce L. "The Spontaneous Evolution of Commercial Law."
Southern Economic Journal 55 (1989): 644-661.
Boorstin, Daniel J. The
Mysterious Science of the Law: An Essay on Blackstone's Commentaries.
Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996 ed.
Epstein, Richard. Simple
Rules for a Complex World. Cambridge: Harvard University
Press, 1995. See also Steve Chapman, "Takings Exception," Reason
Magazine, Apr. 1995 (interview of Epstein) available at http://www.reasonmag.com/9504/epstein.apr.html
Hayek, Friedrich. Law,
Legislation and Liberty, Vol. 1, Rules and Order. Chicago:
Univ. of Chicago Press, 1973. See also Thomas W. Hazlett, "The Road
from Serfdom," Reason Magazine, July 1992 (a 1977 interview of Hayek)
available at http://www.reasonmag.com/hayekint.html
. "Quotes from F.A. Hayek" are available at http://www.freedomsnest.com/fn/qhayek.html
Honore, Tony. About
Law: A Introduction. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1995.
Kelly, J.M. A
Short History of Western Legal Theory. New York: Oxford
Univ. Press, 1992.
Leoni, Bruno. Freedom
and the Law. Indianapolis: LibertyPress/Liberty Classics,
3rd ed. 1991.
Levi, Edward H. An
Introduction to Legal Reasoning. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago
Scalia, Antonin. "The Rule of Law as a Law of Rules." Univ. of
Chicago Law Review 56
II. Economics 101.
Bethell, Tom. The
Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages.
St. Martins Press, 1998.
Doti, James L. & Dwight R. Lee. The
Market Economy: A Reader. Los Angeles: Roxbury Pub. Co.,
Friedman, David. Hidden
Order: The Economics of Everyday Life. New York: Harper
Collins, 1996. Friedman's C-SPAN interview about this book is available
Friedman, David. Price
Theory: An Intermediate Text. Cincinnati: South-Western
2d ed. 1990. Also available on the author's web page, at http://www.best.com/~ddfr
Gwartney, James D. & Richard L. Stroup. What
Everyone Should Know About Economics and
Prosperity. Tallahassee, FL: James Madison Institute,
1993. (Order by calling (800) 376-1119.)
Hayek, Friedrich. "The Use of Knowledge in Society." American Economic
Review 35 (1945): 519-530. Available at http://www.virtualschool.edu/mon/Economics/HayekUseOfKnowledge.html
Hazlitt, Henry. Economics
in One Lesson. Glendale, CA: Crown Pub. Group, 1988 ed.
Johnson, Bryan T., Kim R. Holmes & Melanie Kirkpatrick. The
1999 Index of Economic
Freedom. New York: Dow Jones & Co., 1998.
Excerpts available at http://www.heritage.org/index
Landsburg, Steven E. The
Armchair Economist: Economics and Everyday Life. New York:
Free Press, 1993.
Lee, Dwight R. & Richard B. McKenzie. Getting
Rich in America: Eight Simple Rules for Building a Fortune - and
a Satisfying Life. New York: Harper Business, 1999. An earlier
essay by the same title is available at http://csab.wustl.edu/research/75.asp
Romer, Paul M. "Economic Growth" in David R. Henderson, ed., The
Fortune Encyclopedia of
Economics, 183-189. New York: Warner Books, 1993. Available
Romer, Paul M. "It's All in Your Head." Outlook Magazine, June
1998. Available at
Romer, Paul M. "Risk and Return." Available at
See also Joel Kurtzman, "An Interview with Paul M. Romer," Strategy
and Business, First Quarter 1997 (available at http://www.strategy-business.com/thoughtleaders/97110/page1.html);
Kevin Kelly, "The Economics of Ideas," Wired, June 1996 (available
Smith, Adam. The
Wealth of Nations. Indianapolis: LibertyPress/Liberty Classics,
1976 ed. Available at http://www.adamsmith.org/smith/won-intro.htm
See also the interview of Adam Smith, conducted through the "medium"
of economist and Smith scholar Edwin West, in the June 1994 issue
of The Region, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis,
available at http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/region/94-06/int946.cfm?js=0
III. "Law and Economics."
Coase, Ronald. See Thomas W. Hazlett, "Looking for Results," Reason
Magazine, Jan. 1997, (interview of Coase) available at http://www.reasonmag.com/9701/int.coase.html
Cooter, Robert & Thomas Ulen. Law
and Economics. New York: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.,
2nd ed. 1997.
Dixit, Avinash K. & Barry J. Nalebuff. Thinking
Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday
Life. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1991.
Easterbrook, Frank. "The Court and the Economic System." Harvard
Law Review 98 (1984):4- 60.
McCain, Roger. "Strategy and Conflict: An Introductory Sketch of
Game Theory." Available at
Polinsky, A Mitchell. An
Introduction to Law and Economics. Boston: Little Brown
& Co. (now
Aspen Law & Business), 2nd ed., 1989.
Posner, Richard A. Economic
Analysis of Law. Boston: Aspen Law & Business, 5th
The prisoner's dilemma. Available at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/~ann/pd.html
IV. Public Policy and "Public Choice."
Buchanan, James. Interviewed in the September 1995 issue of The
Region, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, available
See also the web site of the new James Buchanan Center at George
Mason University, dedicated to furthering the public choice research
agenda, at http://www.gmu.edu/jbc
Friedman, Milton, Capitalism
and Freedom. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1962.
(AudioBooks version available (free) at http://www.broadcast.com/books/Politics/CapitalismandFreedom_389.stm).
See also Brian Doherty, "The Best of Both Worlds," Reason Magazine,
June 1995, (interview of Friedman) available at http://www.reasonmag.com/9506/FRIEDMAN.jun.html
and the Everything Milton Freedom Page at http://www.ideachannel.com/friedman.htm
Gunning, J. Patrick. Understanding Democracy: An Introduction
to Public Choice. Fort Myers, FL: Nomad Press, 1998. Available
Lee, Dwight R. & Richard B. McKenzie. Failure
and Progress. Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute, 1993.
V. Ideological Visions, Public Policy, and Law.
Becker, Mary E. "Four Faces of Liberal Legal Thought." Univ. of
Chicago Law School Record, Fall 1988, at 11-17.
Boaz, David. Libertarianism:
A Primer. New York: Free Press, 1997. Boaz's C-SPAN interview
about this book is available at http://www.booknotes.org/transcripts/50396.htm
Boaz, David, ed. The
Libertarian Reader: Classic and Contemporary Writings from Lao-Tzu
to Milton Friedman. New York: Free Press, 1997.
Bork, Robert H. Slouching
Modern Liberalism and American Decline.
New York: Harper Collins, 1996. Bork's C-SPAN interview about this
book is available at
Brunner, Karl. "The Perception of Man and the Conception of Society:
Two Approaches to Understanding Society." Economic Inquiry 25 (1987):367-388.
Clark, Robert. "In Critical Legal Studies, the West Is the Adversary."
Wall Street Journal, Feb. 23, 1989, at A18.
Gerson, Mark. "Battler for the Republic." Policy Review, Fall 1992,
Grabill, Stephen & Gregory M.A. Gronbacher."Dictionary of Key
Terms for a Free and Virtuous Society." Available at http://www.acton.org/resources/dictionary.html
Johnson, Phillip E. "Nihilism and the End of Law." First Things,
Mar. 1993, at 19-25.
Kristol, Irving. Reflections
of a Neoconservative: Looking Back, Looking Ahead. New York:
Basic Books, 1983. (AudioBooks version available (free) at
Leff, Arthur A. "Unspeakable Ethics, Unnatural Law." Duke Law Journal
McConnell, Michael W. "Four Faces of Conservative Legal Thought."
Univ. of Chicago Law School Record, Spring 1988, at 12-18.
Murray, Charles. What
It Means to be a Libertarian: A Personal Interpretation.
Broadway Books, 1997.
Sowell, Thomas. A
Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles.
New York: William Morrow, 1987. (AudioBooks version available (free)
Sowell, Thomas. The
Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social
Policy. New York: Basic Books, 1995. See also Sowell's web
site at http://www.tsowell.com/
Wilson, James Q. Moral
Judgment: Does the Abuse Excuse Threaten Our Legal System?
New York: Basic Books, 1997. See also William D. Eggers & John
O'Leary, "No Easy Answers," Reason Magazine, Feb. 1995 (interview
of Wilson) available at
VI. Constitutional Law.
The Declaration of Independence, The Federalist Papers, the
Constitution, and many other
documents related to the Founding are available on a number of web
Bickel, Alexander M. The Morality of Consent. New Haven: Yale
Univ. Press, 1975.
- Avalon Project at the Yale Law School, http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm
- Constitution Society, http://www.constitution.org/
- Emory Law Library, http://www.law.emory.edu/LAW/refdesk/country/us/docs.html
- Founding.com (Claremont Institute), http://www.founding.com/
- Library of Congress http://lcweb2.loc.gov/const/mdbquery.html
- University of Oklahoma Law Center, http://www.law.ou.edu/hist
Bork, Robert H. "The Legacy of Alexander M. Bickel." Yale Law Report,
Fall 1979, at 6-13.
Bork, Robert H. The
Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law.
New York: Free Press, 1990.
Brennan, Geoffrey & James Buchanan. "The Normative Purpose
of Economic `Science': Rediscovery of an Eighteenth Century Method."
International Review of Law & Economics 1 (1981):155-166.
Epstein, Richard. "The Mistakes of 1937." George Mason Univ. Law
Review 11 (1988):5-20.
Graglia, Lino A. "`Constitutional Theory': The Attempted Justification
for the Supreme Court's Liberal Political Program." Texas Law Review
Graglia, Lino A. "From Federal Union to National Monolith: Mileposts
in the Demise of American Federalism." Harvard Journal of Law &
Public Policy 16 (1993):129-135.
Graglia, Lino A. "How the Constitution Disappeared." Commentary,
Feb. 1986, at 18-26.
Locke, John. Second
Treatise of Government (1690). Available at
See also Stephens, George M. "John Locke: His American and Carolinian
Legacy." Available at http://www.johnlocke.org/whowasjl.html
McDonald, Forrest. A
Constitutional History of the United States. New York: Franklin
McDonald, Forrest. Novus
Ordo Seclorum: The Intellectual Origins of the Constitution.
Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1985.
Scalia, Antonin. A
Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law. Princeton,
NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1997.
West, Thomas. Vindicating
the Founders: Race, Sex, Class, and Justice in the Origins of
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. West's C-SPAN interview
about this book is available at http://www.booknotes.org/transcripts/50436.htm
VII. (Serious) Comic Relief.
Garvin, Glenn. "All I Think Is That It's Stupid," Reason Magazine,
Dec. 1994 (interview of Dave
Barry), available at http://www.reasonmag.com/barry.html
O'Rourke, P.J. Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics. Berkeley,
CA: Publishers' Group West,
O'Rourke, P.J. Parliament
of Whores: A Lone Humorist Attempts to Explain the Entire U.S.
Government. New York: Random House, 1991.
O'Rourke, P.J. "Closing the Wealth Gap," 1997 (available at http://www.cato.org/speeches/sp-pjo061897.html
O'Rourke, P.J. "The Liberty Manifesto," American Spectator, July
1993 (available at
VIII. Additional Resources for Independent Study.
The Federalist Society. http://www.fed-soc.org/
"Conservative and Libertarian Legal Scholarship: An Annotated
Cato Institute. http://www.cato.org/
- "Cato University." http://www.cato-university.org/index.htmll
Foundation for Economic Education http://www.fee.org/
Heartland Foundation. http://www.heartland.org/
The Idea Channel. http://www.ideachannel.com/
Institute for Humane Studies, George Mason University
Intellectual Capital. http://www.intellectualcapital.com/
- "Guide to Classical Liberal Scholarship" online. http://osf1.gmu.edu/~ihs/guide.html
Intercollegiate Studies Institute http://www.isi.org/
Ludwig von Mises Institute, Auburn University. http://www.mises.org/
- "Comprehensive Bibliography of Seminal Works."
Nobel Awards in Economic Sciences
- "Austrian Economics Study Guide" online. http://www.mises.org/study.asp
Town Hall. http://www.townhall.com/
- Friedrich Hayek (1974) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1974.html
- Milton Friedman (1976) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1976.html
- George Stigler (1982) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1982.html
- James Buchanan (1986) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1986.html
- Ronald Coase (1991) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1991.html
- Gary Becker (1992) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1992.html
- Douglass North (1993) http://nobel.sdsc.edu/laureates/economy-1993.html
DeBow & Roger Clegg, 8 February 10, 1999