Legal Historicism

The German school of legal historicism has its roots in the 18th century. The historicists saw the law as a product of the volksgeist (‘the spirit of the people’), and as such the state was seen as the highest expression of the volksgeist.

As the nation was a living beast, so too was the law and the state. The historicists saw the law as evolving as the culture and social conditions of the nation changed over time, and it was the force of the culture that gave the law its weight. The consequence of this, is a centralisation of executive power as the state is considered this ultimate force of the volksgeist.

Prominent Thinkers:

Friedrich Carl Von Savigny     Otto von Gierke

See Also:

Evolutionary Legal Theory     Marxism     Critical Legal Studies