A Jurisprudence of Power concerns the brutal suppression under martial law of the Jamaica uprising of 1865, and the explosive debate and litigation these events spawned in England. The book explores the centrality of legal ideas and institutions in English politics, and of political ideas that give rise to great questions of English law. It documents how the world's most powerful and articulate political elite struggled to define its soul, and poses penetrating questions such as can an imperial nation remain committed to laws and legality? Can it contend with the violent resistance of subjugated peoples without corrupting the integrity of its legal and political ideals? The book addresses these questions as it reconstructs the most prolonged and important conflict over martial law and the rule of law in the history of England in the nineteenth century.
R.W. Kostal is an Associate Professor of Law and History at the University of Western Ontario. His research focuses on the history of modern law and society in England and the United States. His first book, Law and English Railway Capitalism 1825-1875, was awarded the Ferguson Prize of the Canadian Historical Association in 1995.