University of Baltimore School of Law – 23rd Annual UBSPI Auction
Auction Ends: Feb 24, 2017 07:00 PM EST

Art

The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution

Item Number
184
Estimated Value
74 USD
Sold
90 USD to dl1a24d33
Number of Bids
17  -  Bid History

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Item Description

The Birth of American Law: An Italian Philosopher and the American Revolution tells the forgotten, untold story of the origins of U.S. law. Before the Revolutionary War, a 26-year-old Italian thinker, Cesare Beccaria, published On Crimes and Punishments, a runaway bestseller that shaped the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and early American laws. America's Founding Fathers, including early U.S. Presidents, avidly read Beccaria's book—a product of the Italian Enlightenment that argued against tyranny and the death penalty. Beccaria's book shaped American views on everything from free speech to republicanism, to ''Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,'' to gun ownership and the founders' understanding of ''cruel and unusual punishments,'' the famous phrase in the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment. In opposing torture and infamy, Beccaria inspired America's founders to jettison England's Bloody Code, heavily reliant on executions and corporal punishments, and to adopt the penitentiary system.

 

Donated by: Professor John Bessler