Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Every culture must generally possess an order that is either deliberately created (human design) or the result of experience (human action). Two ordering forces, Human Design and Human Action, manifest themselves in the form of laws and legal systems which govern the individuals who form the thus ordered civil society. The Anglo-American Common Law family of legal systems and the Romano-Germanic Civil Law family of legal systems basically reflect the ordering forces of Human Action and Human Design, respectively. Because laws and legal systems leave the imprint of sovereign authority on the landscape, the study of the culture history and underlying philosophy of differing legal systems is necessary to an adequate understanding of man's existence in a region. Such a study is within the realm of the cultural-legal science of geojurisprudence. Geojurisprudence is first and foremost concerned with the geographic and geopolitic aspects of legal phenomena. As such, it emphasizes the particular themes of cultural geography, such as culture area and culture history, as these relate to laws and legal systems. It is thus concerned with the historical expansion of laws across the globe. The general shape of such an historical consideration can be explained by delineating certain general principles, such as legal prevenience, a term that designates a certain advance preparedness to accept an innovation. This study presents various aspects of geojurisprudence that are reflected in a study of global patterns of legal diffusion. A geopolitical scheme of classification is set forth in order to provide a legal map of the world that shows the global distribution of the major legal systems and that emphasizes the diffusion of western legal systems. Cultural preadaptation is introduced to account for legal prevenience in the reception of certain legal forms.