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The Common Law
is a book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...
that was written by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was an American jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1902 to 1932...
in 1881. Holmes later (1902) became an Associate Justice
Associate Justice or Associate Judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the Chief Justice in some jurisdictions. The title "Associate Justice" is used for members of the United States Supreme Court and some state supreme courts, and for some other courts in Commonwealth...
on the Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...
The book is about common law
Common law is law developed by judges through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive branch action...
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
Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, to "encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks". Founded in 1971 by Michael S. Hart, it is the oldest digital library. Most of the items in its collection are the full texts of public domain books...
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."