David Lieberman



 My teaching and writing focus the history of legal ideas. But my chief interests are less with the history of jurisprudence narrowly conceived than with the manner in which law and legal theory influence other bodies of thought, such as the social sciences and political theory. As a result, I have worked with JSP students over a wide range of topics in law and the social sciences, well beyond my own areas of historical research. In recent publications I have explored the impact of jurisprudence on the early history of political economy, and have written on constitutional theory at the time of the American and French Revolutions.

My major current project is a study of the program for democratic statecraft set out in Jeremy Bentham’s Constitutional Code and related writings of the period 1815-32. Scholarly discussion of the democratic theory of this era tends to focus of such (important) questions as the extent of the franchise or the system of political representation. My own work focuses on other institutional features, critical for the success of democratic accountability, political transparency, and the eradication of state secrecy.

My recent publications include:

  • on the history of legal ideas
    “Legislation in a Common Law Context”, Zeitschrift für Neuere Rechtsgeschichte, volume 27, Nos.1-2 (2005).
    “Law/Custom/Tradition”, in Mark Phillips and Gordon J. Schochet (eds.), Questions of Tradition (2004).
    “Mapping Criminal Law: Blackstone and the Categories of English Jurisprudence”, in Norma Landau (ed.), Law, Crime and English Society, 1660-1840 (2002).
  • on law and political economy
    “Adam Smith on Justice, Rights, Law” in Knud Haakonssen (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Adam Smith (2006)
    “Economy and Polity in Bentham’s Science of Legislation”, in Stefan Collini, Richard Whatmore and Brian Young (eds.), Economy, Polity, and Society (Press, 2000).
  • on constitutional theory
    “The Mixed Constitution and the Common Law”, in Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (eds.), The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Political Thought (2006)
    Jean Louis DeLolme, The Constitution of England; or, An Account of the English Government, a critical edition with introduction and annotation by David Lieberman (2006).

Professor Lieberman’s faculty profile, bio, and other information can be found here.