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Doctor Samuel Peterson: Looking back 100 years


"Department of Law: Method of Instruction."
University Catalogue 1905-1906. Austin: Univeristy of Texas, 1906.

The individuality of the teacher is recognized, and hence no set system of instruction is prescribed.  In U.T. Main Building, 1907the more elementary topics, text-books and lectures are used as the basis of instruction.  As the student advances in acquaintance with the terminology and the general principles of the law, the student of leading cases becomes an important feature of his work.  The design of the school is to acquaint the student with the fundamental principles of the law and to accustom him, through the study of illustrative cases in connection with the text-books and lectures, to develop these principles with concrete statements of facts.

To ascertain the student’s grasp of the subject and to practice him in giving expression to his thoughts, he is constantly subjected, in connection with every part of his work, to exhaustive oral quizzes.  With a view to encouraging accuracy, facility, and clearness of expression, written exercises are frequently required.  Independent investigation of legal questions is expected, and the student is required orally to present the class-room the results of such examinations.

The principles of the common law, as developed in England and America, are thoroughly and adequately taught; but special attention is given to the differences between the Texas system of jurisprudence and that prevailing elsewhere; notably in the matter of land titles, of the law of married women, of the law relating to the estates of husband and wife, to the homestead, to wills and administration, and to practice and procedure.  In these topics, the Texas Constitution and Statutes and the Texas cases are contrasted with those of other systems. (pp. 204-205)

Dr. Peterson's course listing (PDF)