Roscoe Pound and the Progressive Path Less Traveled
Given his significance in 20th century American legal thought, it is stunning that Roscoe Pound is not more widely recognized by contemporary legal scholars. He was the Dean of Harvard Law School, one of the foremost legal intellectuals of the 20th century, and his advocacy of “sociological jurisprudence” had a profound effect on the course of American jurisprudence. Yet he is not widely studied in law schools today. One important reason for his neglect is that Pound’s views are extraordinarily difficult to discern. He was not always a clear writer, and the subtleties of his thought are often difficult to decipher.
Scholars have long been perplexed about Pound’s legacy. Most have simply concluded that Pound’s political views changed over time – that he moved from his early progressivism to the right, a tendency which became especially pronounced after the New Deal.