Cover: Independent Africa: The Challenge to the Legal Profession, from Harvard University PressCover: Independent Africa in E-DITION

Oliver Wendell Holmes Lectures 1966

Independent Africa

The Challenge to the Legal Profession

Available from De Gruyter »

Product Details


$65.00 • £54.95 • €60.00

ISBN 9780674492400

Publication Date: 01/01/1967

Harvard University Press has partnered with De Gruyter to make available for sale worldwide virtually all in-copyright HUP books that had become unavailable since their original publication. The 2,800 titles in the “e-ditions” program can be purchased individually as PDF eBooks or as hardcover reprint (“print-on-demand”) editions via the “Available from De Gruyter” link above. They are also available to institutions in ten separate subject-area packages that reflect the entire spectrum of the Press’s catalog. More about the E-ditions Program »

“My intention [is] to provide a frank criticism of the British colonial legacies to countries which I have come to love and admire and a sincere unsycophantic tribute to those who are now struggling with the problems flowing from these legacies.”

In this book, an expanded version of The Oliver Wendell Holmes Lectures he delivered at Harvard University in 1966, L. C. B. Gower first looks at some of the legacies of colonialism inherited by those nations of Tropical Africa which recently gained independence from Britain: Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. These various legacies include arbitrary national boundaries imposed long before independence; British-style education, government, civil service, military forces, and police; respect for the rule of law (and a residual contempt for it as a result of colonial associations); underdeveloped and unbalanced economies; hostility toward the West, including American “dollar-imperialism,” and a hypersensitivity to criticism from that quarter.

Mr. Gower continues with an assessment of what has happened to these legacies since independence and what seems likely to happen to them in the next few decades. His central concern is the challenge thus implied for the indigenous legal professions, but his study has far wider implications.

In conclusion Mr. Gower describes how the legal professions were organized at the time of independence in the various countries and what progress has been made in producing the kinds of lawyers needed to solve the urgent problems these countries face. He suggests what the United States can and should—and occasionally what it should not—do to help.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, by Lindsay Chervinsky, from Harvard University Press

Why You Should Participate in an (Online) Book Club

Online book clubs can be a rewarding way to connect with readers, Lindsay Chervinsky discovered, when she was invited to join one to discuss her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution. Since my book was published in April 2020, I’ve discovered that my work appeals to three main audiences. First, the general readers who are enthusiastic about history, attend virtual events, and tend to support local historic sites. Second, readers who are curious about our government institutions and the current political climate and are looking for answers about its origins. And third, history, social studies, and government teachers