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February 09 , 2009

Servants of the Law

Judicial Politics on the California Frontier, 1849-89


Servants of the Law examines the lives of two famous California judges, David S. Terry and Stephen J. Field, who created a lasting influence on the politics and judicial history of California's Supreme Court during the court's formative years of 1855 to 1865. These jurists shared the state's highest bench from 1857 to 1859 and, as events would later show, they confronted one another combatively, on and off, for almost thirty-five years. California's beginnings as a United States territory and later as the nation's thirty-first state were, in large part, fashioned in the wake of the country's malevolent and unforgiving the Civil War. Together, Terry and Field's lives served as an animate metaphor for the cultural and constitutional diversity that many nineteenth-century northern and southern judicial immigrants held toward one another.

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