American International Journal of Social Science

ISSN 2325-4149(Print), ISSN 2325-4165(Online) DIO: 10.30845/aijss

“Superseded and lost sight of?” The Argument of the Code Napoleon during the Anglo-American Controversy of the Codification of Common Law (1820-1835)
Sylvain Soleil

During the period 1820-1835, the Anglo-American legal world was set ablaze. Like the reforms taking place in the United Kingdom, Louisiana, South Carolina and New York State, this was about finding the right moment to abolish common law and replace it with codes. Although the two Anglo-American controversies were originally independent of each other, they very soon became intertwined, in particular because the reviews were the cause of a transatlantic confrontation. At the heart of the respective arguments, the French Civil Code of 1804, or the Code Napoleon, was strategically drawn on by both sides. Supporters of codification were happier to turn to it than to Bentham, to show that the Napoleonic Code was working and had put an end to the legal chaos in France. Advocates of common law searched through the works of French jurists for evidence that the Napoleonic Code was a failure and that, far from ending the confusion in the law, it had aggravated it. This controversy helped stir up the opposition between the two legal systems by accentuating and reversing the respective vices and virtues.

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