44 Tenn. L. Rev. 951 (1976-1977)
Choice-of-Law Statutes

handle is hein.journals/tenn44 and id is 647 raw text is: CHOICE-OF-LAW STATUTES
ROBERT A. LEFLAR*
I. INTRODUCTION
The bulk of American conflicts law in the choice-of-law area
is and always has been judge-made law. Most of it is fairly new,
in terms of the long history of the common law. Its development
has been influenced by academic scholars more than have most
branches of the law, and this influence has been primarily upon
the courts rather than the legislatures.
Professor (Justice) Joseph Story derived most of his conflict
of laws theory from English cases and from Continental treatises
to which he was introduced when the law library of the New
Orleans lawyer Samuel Livermore' was bequeathed to Harvard
Law School. Story's work guided the development of the law of
choice of law for both the United States and England until the
end of the nineteenth century. Few statutes dealt with choice of
law. As the twentieth century began, Joseph Henry Beale under-
took a systematization of conflicts law, the first in Anglo-
American legal history.2 Set out in the first Conflict of Laws
Restatement, his system was approved by most American courts.
Dissents were heard, but they were mostly academic. A scattering
of meager statutes purported to follow generally the same theoret-
ical system, but more often than not they misstated the Bealian
principles. Then came the conflicts revolution of the century's
third quarter, promoted by Professors Brainerd Currie, Chea-
* B.A., Univ. of Arkansas, 1922; LL.B., Harvard, 1927; S.J.D., Harvard,
1932. Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Arkansas, and Professor of
Law, New York University; Consulting Director of Appellate Judges Seminars,
Institute of Judicial Administration, New York; Author of American Conflicts
Law (3d ed. 1977).
1. S. LIVERMORE, DISSERTATIONS ON THE QUESTIONS WHICH ARISE FROM THE
CONTRARIETY OF THE POSITIVE LAwS OF DIFFERENT STATES AND NATIONS (1828) was
apparently the first American book on conflict of laws. There were copies of it
in the authior's Harvard gift. It is said that Livermore was motivated to write
the book because of his dissatisfaction with the opinion in the great case of Saul
v. His Creditors, 5 Mart. (n.s.) 569, 16 Am. Dec. 212 (La. 1827), in which he
was of counsel. See 3 J. BEALE, CONFLICT OF LAWS 1911 (1935).
2. J. BEALE, supra note 1; J. BEALE, A TREATISE ON THE CONFLICT OF LAWS
(1916); see Griswold, Mr. Beale and the Conflict of Laws, 56 HAMv. L. REv. 690
(1943).

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