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(born July 31, 1763, Fredericksburgh, Putnam county, N.Y.died Dec. 12, 1847, New York, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. jurist who helped shape common law in the U.S. A lawyer at Poughkeepsie, N.Y., from 1785 and a New York state legislator from 1790, he taught law at Columbia University (1793–98, 1823–26) and later served as chief justice of the New York Supreme Court (1804–14) and chancellor of the Court of Chancery (1814–23), then the state's highest judicial office. As chancellor, he is said to have made U.S. equity jurisprudence effective for the first time. His Commentaries on American Law (1826–30) proved influential both in the U.S. and in England.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Kent, James, visit Britannica.com.
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