Henry James Sumner Maine

(Sir Henry James Sumner Maine)

Henry James Sumner Maine
Henry James Sumner Maine
  • Born: August 15, 1822
  • Died: February 3, 1888
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Historian

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Sir Henry James Sumner Maine, KCSI, was a British Whig comparative jurist and historian. He is famous for the thesis outlined in his book Ancient Law that law and society developed "from status to contract." According to the thesis, in the ancient world individuals were tightly bound by status to traditional groups, while in the modern one, in which individuals are viewed as autonomous agents, they are free to make contracts and form associations with whomever they choose. Because of this thesis, Maine can be seen as one of the forefathers of modern legal anthropology, legal history and sociology of law.

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In spite of overwhelming evidence, it is most difficult for a citizen of western Europe to bring thoroughly home to himself the truth that the civilisation which surrounds him is a rare exception in the history of the world. Truth ;History
It is true that the aristocracies seem to have abused their monopoly of legal knowledge; and at all events their exclusive possession of the law was a formidable impediment to the success of those popular movements which began to be universal in the western world. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training ;Success ;Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
Law is stable; the societies we are speaking of are progressive. The greater or less happiness of a people depends on the degree of promptitude with which the gulf is narrowed. Happiness & Unhappiness
Our authorities leave us no doubt that the trust lodged with the oligarchy was sometimes abused, but it certainly ought not to be regarded as a mere usurpation or engine of tyranny. Trust
The ancient codes were doubtless originally suggested by the discovery and diffusion of the art of writing. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
The ancient Roman code belongs to a class of which almost every civilised nation in the world can show a sample, and which, so far as the Roman and Hellenic worlds were concerned, were largely diffused over them at epochs not widely distant from one another.
The epoch of Customary Law, and of its custody by a privileged order, is a very remarkable one.
The inquiries of the jurist are in truth prosecuted much as inquiry in physic and physiology was prosecuted before observation had taken the place of assumption. Truth
The members of such a society consider that the transgression of a religious ordinance should be punished by civil penalties, and that the violation of a civil duty exposes the delinquent to divine correction. Society
The most celebrated system of jurisprudence known to the world begins, as it ends, with a Code.
The most superficial student of Roman history must be struck by the extraordinary degree in which the fortunes of the republic were affected by the presence of foreigners, under different names, on her soil. History
The Roman Code was merely an enunciation in words of the existing customs of the Roman people.
The Roman jurisprudence has the longest known history of any set of human institutions. History
When primitive law has once been embodied in a Code, there is an end to what may be called its spontaneous development.