Encyclopædia americana: a popular dictionary of arts, sciences, literature, history, politics and biography, Volume 6


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B.B. Mussey & Co.
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Dec 31, 1854
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Encyclopedias and dictionaries
Reference / Encyclopedias
Reference / Yearbooks & Annuals
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Lieber, Francis. Legal and Political Hermeneutics, or Principles of Interpretation and Construction in Law and Politics, with Remarks on Precedents and Authorities. Enlarged Edition. Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1839. xii, [13]-240 pp. Reprinted 2002 by The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd. ISBN 1-58477-226-3. Cloth. $65. * "The Hermeneutics was intended as a chapter of his Political Ethics, but became so extended that it was published separately. His distinction between interpretation and construction had great influence among legal writers of his day. The first is 'the art of finding out the true sense of any form of words' (...) in the sense which the author intended to convey, while construction is the drawing of conclusions respecting subjects that lie outside the direct expression of the text. Constitutions should be construed closely, he holds, since their words have been carefully weighed. The treatise received high commendation from Chancellor Kent, Henry Clay, Rufus Choate, and others." (DAB). Lieber was a Prussian scholar and political activist who was persecuted for his liberalism. He emigrated to the United States in 1827, and his writings, among them an encyclopedia that was the foundation of the Encyclopedia Britannica, advanced his reputation. He became professor of history and political economy at South Carolina College, and was later appointed to the same chair at Columbia College. In 1865 he moved to Columbia Law School, where he was renowned as a prominent political philosopher. Dictionary of American Biography VI: 236-237.
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