"Probably the decisive factor in our reception of English equity was Story's Equity Jurisprudence. With much art (...) he made it seem that the precepts established by the decisions of the English Courts of Chancery coincided in substance with those of the Roman law as expounded by the civilians and hence were but statements of universal principles of natural law universally accepted in civilized states. If equity had been expounded to American judges and lawyers and students in the dry and technical fashion of the contemporary English treatises, we might have been sorely hampered in the development of American Law by a crippled equity. Story's sympathetic exposition of English equity (...) was the one thing needed to commend equity to our American courts and to counteract the forces that were working against it."-- Pound, The Formative Era in American Law 156-157
Apart from James Kent, no man has had greater influence on the development of American law than Joseph Story [1779-1845]. He was Dane Professor of Law at Harvard, where he played a key role in the growth of the school and the establishment of its national eminence, and an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, where he was the author of several landmark decisions, such as Martin v. Hunter's Lessee. His many books, most notably the monumental work Commentaries on the Constitution (1833), have been cited extensively, and he remains an authority today.