By Sir Henry James Sumner Maine
4th American ed., New York, 1906 )
Sir Henry James Sumner Maine

Chapters 1-5 Chapters 6-10

     Sir Henry James Sumner Maine (August 15, 1822 – February 3, 1888) was an English comparative jurist and historian, son of Dr James Maine, of Kelso, Borders, Scotland. He is famous for the thesis, outlined in "Ancient Law", that law and society developed "from status to contract". In the ancient world individuals were tightly bound by status to traditional groups, while in the modern one, in which individuals are viewed as autonomous beings, they are free to make contracts and form associations with whomever they choose. Because of this thesis, he can be seen as one of the forefathers of modern sociology of law.