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Roscoe Pound

Pound, Roscoe, 1870–1964, American jurist, b. Lincoln, Nebr. He studied (1889–90) at Harvard law school, but never received a law degree. Pound was a prominent botanist as well as a jurist, and spent his early years in Nebraska practicing and teaching law, simultaneously serving as director of the state botanical survey (1892–1903). Pound was then professor of law at Harvard (1910–37) and dean of the law school (1916–36), where he introduced many reforms. He advanced the "theory of social interests" in law, asserting that law must recognize the needs of humanity, and take contemporary social conditions into account. Some theorists believe that his work may have inspired Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal program in the 1930s. A prolific writer, his books on jurisprudence include Introduction to the Philosophy of Law (1922, repr. 1959), Criminal Justice in America (1930, repr. 1975), Contemporary Juristic Theory (1940, repr. 1981), and Social Control through Law (1942).

See study by D. Wigdor (1974).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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