The Common Law

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The Common Law
The+Common+Law Cover.JPG
Cover of the first edition of The Common Law.
Author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Country United States
Language English
Publication date
Media type Paper

The Common Law is a book that was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in 1881. Holmes later (1902) became an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.

The book is about common law in the United States, including torts, property, contracts, and crime. It is written as a series of lectures. It has gone out of copyright and is available in full on the web at Project Gutenberg. A newly typeset edition is available in the section external links below, and the original is available at the Internet Archive.

One of the most famous aphorisms to be drawn from this book occurs on the first page: "The life of the law has not been logic; it has been experience," a subtle qualification of the famous seventeenth-century English jurist Sir Edward Coke's dictum that "Reason is the life of the law."[1]


  1. ^ E Coke, Commentary Upon Littleton (1628) 97b

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