Saturday, April 19, 2008


H.W. Brands, Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, at 35 (2006):
The legal profession, in the 1780s as later, was to American society what the clergy and the military were to certain other countries and cultures: an avenue of advancement for those with talent and ambition but with neither wealth nor connections. Protestant America had no church hierarchy to speak of, precluding the priestly route to success, and it had no standing army, making a military career unappealing. Yet every society requires means for the humble able to get ahead, lest their frustrated ambitions destabilize the status quo. In America, the law long served that purpose.

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