"This deeply researched and thoughtful study vigorously
challenges the enduring myths that distort our understanding of
constitutionally protected contractual freedom. Combining legal
analysis with attention to the intellectual and political
environment, David Mayer offers an insightful reading of the rise
and fall of the liberty-of-contract doctrine. For anyone interested
in economic rights, this volume is necessary reading."
-JAMES W. ELY JR., Vanderbilt University, author of The
Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property
"As students of constitutional history know, the Lochner era
(1897-1937) is typically vilified as a time when judges imposed
their personal opinions to invalidate laws that regulated the
economy. Professor Mayer offers a far more complex and nuanced view
of that era as a time when judges often, but not always, invoked a
presumption of liberty. He shows that Lochner-era justices
protected not only economic but personal rights as well, such as
the right of parents to teach their children in a foreign language
or to send their children to a private school, whereas anti-Lochner
justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes rejected such a presumption. To
know where the modern Court will go, we have to know from where it
came, and for that, Professor Mayer's book is invaluable."
-RONALD D. ROTUNDA, Chapman University School of Law, author of
Modern Constitutional Law
"David Mayer has emerged as one of the most insightful
constitutional scholars on the scene today. In this superb new
book, he rescues the constitutional value of liberty of contract.
This book will take its place as one of the most important works on
constitutional history in the early 21st century."
-STEPHEN B. PRESSER, Northwestern University School of Law, author
of Law and Jurisprudence in American History