About Christian G. Fritz
Christian Fritz joined the UNM law faculty in 1987 to introduce legal history to first-year students, a new concept to legal education. Even today, few law schools offer such a course.
Fritz had just become the first person to complete a program at the University of California in which he earned a Ph.D. in history at Berkeley along with a law degree from Hastings College of Law. At the UNM law school, he teaches a variety of legal history courses along with Property. He contributes a deep knowledge of legal and constitutional history along with an exhaustive research style.
In addition to numerous articles, book chapters and reviews, Fritz has written books on legal history, including Federal Justice in California: The Court of Ogden Hoffman, 1851-1891. In October 2007, Cambridge University Press published his long-term study: American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War.
American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War challenges traditional American constitutional history, theory, and jurisprudence that sees today’s constitutionalism as linked by an unbroken chain to the 1787 Federal constitutional convention. It examines the idea that after the American Revolution, a collectivity – the people – would rule as the sovereign. Heated political controversies within the states and at the national level over what it meant for the people to be the sovereign, and how that collective sovereign could express its will were not resolved prior to the Civil War. The idea of the people as the sovereign both unified and divided Americans in thinking about government and the basis of the Union. Today’s constitutionalism is not a natural inheritance, but the product of choices Americans made between shifting understandings about themselves as a collective sovereign.
|Present||Emeritus Professor of Law, University of New Mexico ‐ School of Law|
- American Constitutional History
- Comparative and Historical Legal Perspectives
- State Constitutional Law & History
|1986||Ph.D., University of California - Berkeley|
|1978||J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law|
|1975||B.A., University of California - Berkeley|
Books and Book Chapters (9)
Contribution to Book
Interposition: An Overlooked Tool of American Constitutionalism
Union and States' Rights: A History and Interpretation of Interposition, Nullification, and Secession 150 Years After Sumter (2013)
The third book in the &LAW; series addresses the perpetual issue of state sovereignty in the federal union”˜states' rights.' From ...
American Sovereigns: The People and Americas Constitutional Tradition Before the ...
Faculty Book Display Case (2008)
American Sovereigns: The People and Americas Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War challenges traditional American constitutional history, theory, and jurisprudence ...
Contribution to Book
A Constitutional Middle-Ground Between Revision and Revolution: A Reevaluation of ...
Law as Culture and Culture as Law: Essays in Honor of John Phillip Reid (2000)
For four decades, John Phillip Reid has been one of the most productive and challenging practitioners of American legal and ...
Contribution to Book
Encyclopedia of the American Legislative System: Studies of the Principal Structures, Processes, and Policies of Congress and the State Legislatures Since the Colonial Era (1994)
Silbey, author of several other works on Congress and the American political system (e.g., The American Political Nation, Stanford Univ. ...
Scholarly Works (22)
Interposition and the Heresy of Nullification: James Madison and the ...
First Principles: Foundational Concepts to Guide Politics and Policy (2012)
Political arguments frequently use history for justification. Invariably, however, such efforts are less about taking the past on its own ...
American Constitution-Making: The Neglected State Constitutional Sources
Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly (2000)
American Constitution-Making: The Neglected State Constitutional Sources' looks at a frequently overlooked genre of literature pertinent to American constitution-making: comprehensive ...
Alternative Visions of American Constitutionalism: Popular Sovereignty and the Early ...
Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly (1997)
This Article explores the revolutionary period and the early national period of American constitutionalism, examining popular sovereignty as the foundation ...
Book review: Rethinking the American Constitutional Tradition: National Dimensions in ...
The California Supreme Court Historical Society Yearbook (1995)
Founding the Far West is an important scholarly contribution to nineteenth-century American history. However, its analysis of how California, Oregon, ...