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The Green Bag

federal auspices gains no additional strength because the task would be very difficult to accomplish. But it should not be forgotten that the conquest of the obstacles to the codification of American law can be greatly expedited for us with the aid of the many codifications already made by other modern nations, — an inestimable privilege not so abun dantly enjoyed by them when they codified their law. Justinian first showed to the modern world how to remove the stones of practical difficulties so as to smooth the way to a uniform, codified private law. If the Napoleonic codi fication was made easier of accomplish ment by the example of the Justinianean, and the German and the Swiss, a cen tury later, were made easier of accomp lishment by the previous examples of the Justinianean and the Napoleonic, how very much easier is our task than theirs, when there are before us so many examples of successful codifications of private law? Is our problem more diffi cult or even as difficult as the problem of codification was in other countries, especially in France or Germany? France can give us hope and courage for a Herculean cleaning of our Augean legal stables. Prior to the Napoleonic codification, France had 300 different varieties of law more or less alike: but French lawyers finally succeeded in accomplishing the task of obtaining one codified law for all France —. the first genuine grand codification since Jus tinian's age then nearly thirteen cen turies in the past, and of enormous blessing in the nineteenth century to all mankind. Germany, to obtain one codified law, had a very difficult problem to solve. Early in the nineteenth century there were some 1800 different states in Ger many, which left as a legacy to the modern German Empire numerous con

flicting systems of law; but not even this mischievous legal heritage from the past was allowed to stop the formation of one German law in codified shape — the magnificent code of 1900. It is absurd to believe that Americans are mentally inferior to Romans, French men or Germans. Objection 5 — The effect of one fed eral code for the entire United States .would cause American law to become atrophied. It is also claimed that to put our law into permanent shape in the form of a federal codification would cause it to become atrophied. How could it grow if codified? The answer is so easy: amend or revise the code whenever necessary, as for instance just as France has frequently done since 1804. Instead of causing a stoppage of growth, on the contrary a code really facilitates growth in law: for a code in course of time reveals its own deficien cies, and the law being made certain by the code, is easily alterable because of this discernible certainty — there is no danger of "leaping into the dark" when revising a code. This whole argument of the atrophy ing influence of an American federal codification is quickly seen, when analyzed, to rest on a very unscientific basis. Furthermore, it demeans the dig nity of the legal profession. If the enactment of a uniform federal codifi cation of American law will have the bad consequence of introducing the "deadening" influence of a standardized law, then such an evil ought now to be true of the effect of our uniform state acts; but to claim that these are exert ing a "deadening" influence is obviously nonsensical. At once the reactionary spirit of the argument is revealed: it would persuade us to turn back the hands of the clock of legal progress;