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24

The Once and Future Defense: Assumption of the Risk

INTRODUCTION

The late nineteenth century was the formative era of the common law of negligence. It was a time of rugged individualism, which emphasized freedom of action, personal initiative, and the right of self-determination. The ideal was the Horatio Alger type, the self-made entrepreneur who grasped the myriad possibilities of an expanding nation through strong character and hard work. Doubtless, the reality of most people's lives had little to do with this ideal, but it still conditioned the thinking of the time, including legal thinking.

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