THE ADVOCATE 779
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
By D. Michael Bain
A COUNTRY IN THE GRIP OF THE LAW
The noted columnist, Mr. John Kieran, of the New York Sun,
known to radio audiences through “Information Please,” wrote
recently of the place of the law and the lawyers in American
history and government. This layman’s tribute to the dominant
characteristic of representative government in the United States was entitled
“A Country in the Grip of the Law.”
“This country is in the grip of the law,” wrote Mr. Kieran, “and has been
ever since the Founding Fathers laid the cornerstone, otherwise known as
the Constitution of the United States. By and large, we have done better
than all right as a nation since 1789 and nothing in this article is to be taken
as carping criticism of the legal profession in this country. Possibly it is all
for the best that licensed barristers have had almost complete charge of our
public affairs since colonial days. But it’s curious, too, in some ways.
“This country was built by explorers, woodsmen, trappers, traders,
hunters, carpenters, miners, blacksmiths, sailors, inventors, merchants,
manufacturers, farmers, engineers, architects, contractors, plasterers,
bricklayers and bankers. But the lawyers took charge and still have the
country in hand. Look it over.
“Our aldermen and councilmen are lawyers in the majority. Most of our
mayors are lawyers. Most of our state governors are lawyers. Most of our
Representatives and Senators in Congress assembled are lawyers. Twentythree
of our thirty-one Presidents of the United States have been lawyers.
* Reprinted from (1944) 2 Advocate 10.