Dr. Patrick Ryan

History 3851F/G - Capitalism and the Law

Fall 2023
M 630-930 PM
FB 110

P. Ryan

E-mail:  pryan2@uwo.ca
Ph:  433-0041 Ext. 4442
Office: W 255
Office Hours: Hours: M 5:30-6:30


Academic Program Advisor, Jessica Sommers
519-433-0041 x4644

COURSE DESCRIPTION: An exploration of legal culture and institutions that structured the rise of capitalism. We will examine the fundamentals of law in historical contexts using the case-method. Students will brief, moot, and compose analyses of historically significant cases in the law of property, contracts, patents/monopolies, torts, corporations, and labour organizations.

Special Note: Due to the advent of AI language applications, there is no way to know if a piece of writing produced using a computer was composed by the student. In response, all writing submitted for evaluation in this course will be completed by hand with paper and pen/pencil. We will not be using OWL. Be assured, I will make ample allowance for an increase in grammatical and spelling errors as we step away from keyboards and screens. As always, precise word choice, clear structure, logical argumentation, and the appropriate use of evidence will remain the focus of my evaluation of your work.

Prerequisite(s): 1.0 course at 2200 level or above.

READINGS: (available at The Bookstore at Western, through other book sellers, and or in the library)

Geoffrey Samuel, A Short Introduction to the Common Law (Edward Elgar, 2014).  

About a dozen articles and historical documents found in the course schedule and on OWL.




8 %



8 %

4 Moots

As scheduled

16 %

Exam 1

October 23

34 %

Exam 2

TBA - Dec

34 %


Any usage of artificial intelligence or language generation or translation applications by students to complete assigned work for this course must be approved by the instructor and noted by the student in the submitted work itself. Writing text and then feeding it into a computer application to improve or translate your own words, changing a few words, and then submitting this text as if it was your own constitutes plagiarism. You must compose text, choose words, construct logic flow, structure sentences and paragraphs to organize, synthesize, interpret information with your own mind. When you borrow language or ideas from another person or from a machine this must be acknowledged with quotation marks and/or citations.

Students are expected to schedule appointments and other responsibilities around class time.  To be excused from discussion participation or mooting assignments due to temporary illness or one-time unavoidable scheduling conflict, contact me directly via email. 

Please do not use email to engage me in substantive conversation, to review course material, or to pose open-ended questions. I am happy to meet with students face-to-face or answer questions during or immediately after class.

Penalties for late papers or projects may be avoided if extensions are requested in advance. Otherwise, a two-mark deduction will be taken for each of the first five days it is late (including weekends). After 5-days without communication, a zero will be assigned. 

Please click above and read, because these apply to this course.