Louisiana: Legal History Reprinted Works with new Editions – Dargo

The celebration of the Bicentenary of the Digest of the Civil Law of the Territory of Orleans in 1808 inspired, as well as a number of conferences and symposiums, both publications and republications of some important works. Thus, Claitor's in Baton Rouge reprinted R. H. Kilbourne's important study of the History of the Civil Code of Louisiana and Alain Levasseur's informative biography of Louis Moreau Lislet, certainly the main redactor of the Digest, as well as producing a bicentenary reprint of the de la Vergne volume.

In the 1970s, one of the most important works developing a new approach to Louisiana's legal history, an approach that brought more to the attention of mainstream historians of US law, a field that was in itself rapidly developing under the influence of pupils of the scholarship of Willard Hurst, was George Dargo's Jefferson's Louisiana: Politics and the Clash of Legal Traditions (1975). This was based on Dargo's history Ph.D. thesis from Columbia University in New York and was pubished by Harvard UP in the series, Studies in Legal History.

The Lawbook Exchange has now produced a revised edition of Dargo's book. This has a very nice new essay by Dargo on the current of the legal history of Louisiana, as well as a warm and generous intorduction by Stanley Katz. While the original volume has a certain charm in its 70s-style presentaton, this is a much more handsome book. The typeface is clear, the notes are now at the bottom of the page, all-in-all this is a much more "user-friendly" volume, also enriched with some maps and illustrations. Dargo's biographical essay of 1975 was one of my starting points for research in 1977, when I embarked on a study of aspects of the legal history of Louisiana: it is still useful as such, along with his new introductory essay.