My colleague John Orth has a short (and characteristically beautifully written) new essay on the imagery of "release of energy" in nineteenth century Anglo-America law. The imagery originates with Willard Hurst's 1956 book Law and the Conditions of Freedom in the Nineteenth-Century United States, though as John points out around the turn of the twentieth century Albert V. Dicey used similar langauge to describe English law in the nineteenth century.
I'm very interested in this imagery and the changes of statutory and common law that attend it. I guess I would say that eighteenth century American law seemed pretty suited to the "release of energy" (a catchall phrase that suggests law allows humans to maximize economic development.) But certainly the age of market revolution saw an expansion in the sophistication of commercial law. I think of this in similar terms as the ways that law was a technology, much like the steam engine, the telegraph, and print. And that as a technology law was used to promote economic growth.
I've used one of my favorite antebellum courthouses to illustrate this post.