Common Law in Colonial America The Chesapeake and New England, 1607-1660
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William E. Nelson proposes a "new beginning" in the study of colonial legal history as he charts the course of the common law in Early America. Beginning with the Chesapeake and New England colonies Nelson reveals how the models of law that emerged in Virginia and Massachusetts differed drastically from that of the English common law and how their diverse legal systems came to influence the colonies that surrounded them. Drawing on groundbreaking and overwhelmingly in-depth research into local court records, Nelson delves deep into America's common law and offers a fully rounded picture of the development and foundation of law in these key colonial regions. He explores how the law of the Chesapeake colonies--Virginia and Maryland--diverged sharply from the New England colonies--Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, New Haven, Plymouth, and Rhode Island--and traces the roots of these dissimilarities from their initial settlement until approximately 1660. Nelson pointedly examines the disparate motives of the legal systems in the respective colonies as they dealt with religion, price and labor regulations, crimes, public morals, the status of women, and the enforcement of contractual obligations. He shows, for instance, how the laws in Virginia evolved to support the financial gains of the Virginia Company, establishing a harsh legal order that severely punished debtors and kept indentured servants in check; whereas the laws to come out of Massachusetts, were primarily concerned with the preservation of local autonomy and the moral values of family-centered farming communities. Comprehensive, authoritative, and extensively researched, the first volume of The Common Law in Colonial America is the definitive resource on the beginnings of the common law and its evolution in the Chesapeake and New England colonies during this vibrant era in America's history.
List price: $36.95
Copyright year: 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 8/5/2008
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 0.75" tall
|Law in the Jamestown Settlement|
|Capitalism and the Free Market in Virginia, 1619-1660|
|Puritan Law in the Bay Colony|
|Popular Power and the Rule of Law in Massachusetts|
|The New England Satellites|
|The Battle for Maryland|
|Conclusion: The Future of American Law|