The Path of the Law and its Influence: The Legacy of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr by Steven J. Burton (University of Iowa)
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935) is, arguably, the most important American jurist of the twentieth century, and his essay The Path of the Law, first published in 1898, is the seminal work in American legal theory. In it, Holmes detailed his radical break with legal formalism and created the foundation for the leading contemporary schools of American legal thought. He was the dominant source of inspiration for the school of legal realism, and his insistence on a practical approach to law and legal analysis laid the basis for the realists' later concentration upon the pragmatic and empirical aspects of law and legal procedures. This volume brings together some of the most distinguished legal scholars from the United States and Canada to examine competing understandings of The Path of the Law and its implications for contemporary American jurisprudence. For the reader's convenience, the essay is republished in an Appendix.