Freund, Ernst (1864–1932)

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FREUND, ERNST (1864–1932)

Ernst Freund, professor of law at the University of Chicago, is best remembered today for his huge and immensely influential Police Power: Public Policy and Constitutional Rights (1904), the first systematic exposition of its subject. police power, said Freund, was the "power of promoting the public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty and property." Because Freund saw the power "not as a fixed quantity, but as the expression of social, economic, and political conditions," he praised that elasticity which helped adapt the law to changing circumstances. This endorsement, along with only minimal approval of laissez-faire doctrines such as freedom of contract, helped provide support for the Progressive movement. His views strongly contrasted with those of christopher tiedeman, a vigorous and authoritative exponent of laissez-faire who decried the use of the police power. In Standards of American Legislation (1917), Freund attempted to formulate positive principles to guide legislators and to give due process of law a more definite meaning.

David Gordon
(1986)