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Abstract

This article seeks to explore the history of arbitration more in depth by taking a close look at the historical procedures, practices, and policies of arbitration in three states: Kentucky, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Each state developed a complex system of arbitration that included multiple arbitration procedures drawn from English law. Each state had unique geographic, political, social, religious, or commercial conditions that influenced not only the development of arbitration in that state, but also arbitration practice and the policy goals surrounding its use. A closer look at arbitration in early America reveals that, rather than one history of American arbitration, we have many histories. Considering these varied histories provides us not only with a more complete picture of the diversity and complexity of arbitration in early America, but also with new insights as we—disputants, lawyers, judges, legislators, arbitrators, and policy advocates—debate hot topics in arbitration, today.

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