Skip to main content

Pierson v. Post: A Great Debate, James Kent, and the Project of Building a Learned Law for New York State

Buy Article:

$51.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Pierson v. Post (1805) has long puzzled legal teachers and scholars. This article argues that the appellate report was the product of the intellectual interests (and schooling) of the lawyers and judges involved in the case. They converted a minor dispute about a fox into a major argument in order to argue from Roman and other civil law sources on how to establish possession in wild animals, effectively crafting an opportunity to create new law for New York State. This article explores the possibility that the mastermind behind this case was the chief justice of the court at the time, James Kent. The question of Kent's involvement in 1805 remains elusive. However, the article uses annotations he made on his copy of the case and discussion of Pierson v. Post in his famous Commentaries to demonstrate the nature of his later interest and to explore the project of building a learned law for New York State.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2009

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Partial Open Access Content
Partial Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more