Author: Mary Sarah Bilder
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Departing from traditional approaches to colonial legal history, Mary Sarah Bilder argues that American law and legal culture developed within the framework of an evolving, unwritten transatlantic constitution that lawyers, legislators, and litigants on both sides of the Atlantic understood. The central tenet of this constitution--that colonial laws and customs could not be repugnant to the laws of England but could diverge for local circumstances--shaped the legal development of the colonial world.
Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union--not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Indeed, we no longer operate under the same Constitution as that ratified in 1788, or even the one completed by the Bill of Rights in 1791--because we are no longer the same nation. In The Revolutionary Constitution, David J. Bodenhamer provides a comprehensive new look at America's basic law, integrating the latest legal scholarship with historical context to highlight how it has evolved over time. The Constitution, he notes, was the product of the first modern revolution, and revolutions are, by definition, moments when the past shifts toward an unfamiliar future, one radically different from what was foreseen only a brief time earlier. In seeking to balance power and liberty, the framers established a structure that would allow future generations to continually readjust the scale. Bodenhamer explores this dynamic through seven major constitutional themes: federalism, balance of powers, property, representation, equality, rights, and security. With each, he takes a historical approach, following their changes over time. For example, the framers wrote multiple protections for property rights into the Constitution in response to actions by state governments after the Revolution. But twentieth-century courts--and Congress--redefined property rights through measures such as zoning and the designation of historical landmarks (diminishing their commercial value) in response to the needs of a modern economy. The framers anticipated just such a future reworking of their own compromises between liberty and power. With up-to-the-minute legal expertise and a broad grasp of the social and political context, this book is a tour de force of Constitutional history and analysis.
The Legal Foundations of Empire, 1576-1640
Author: Ken MacMillan
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
How did English notions of sovereignty, empire and law impact their methods of settlement in the Americas?
Center and Periphery in the English Atlantic World
Author: K. MacMillan
Drawing on recent trends in both Atlantic and center-periphery literature, this book examines the relationship between the English crown - monarch, privy council, and ancillary bodies - and its Atlantic colonies under the early Stuart monarchs, James I and Charles I, circa 1603-1642.
Author: Michael Grossberg,Christopher Tomlins
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
This volume covers American law from the earliest settlement and colonization of North America.
Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400–1900
Author: Lauren Benton
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
A Search for Sovereignty approaches world history by examining the relation of law and geography in European empires between 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial space as networks of corridors and enclaves, and that they constructed sovereignty in ways that merged ideas about geography and law. Conflicts over treason, piracy, convict transportation, martial law, and crime created irregular spaces of law, while also attaching legal meanings to familiar geographic categories such as rivers, oceans, islands, and mountains. The resulting legal and spatial anomalies influenced debates about imperial constitutions and international law both in the colonies and at home. This study changes our understanding of empire and its legacies and opens new perspectives on the global history of law.
British America and the Early United States
Author: Peter Thompson,Peter S. Onuf
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Pointing the way to a new history of the transformation of British subjects into American citizens, State and Citizen challenges the presumption that the early American state was weak by exploring the changing legal and political meaning of citizenship. The volume’s distinguished contributors cast new light on the shift from subjecthood to citizenship during the American Revolution by showing that the federal state played a much greater part than is commonly supposed. Going beyond master narratives—celebratory or revisionist—that center on founding principles, the contributors argue that geopolitical realities and the federal state were at the center of early American political development. The volume’s editors, Peter Thompson and Peter S. Onuf, bring together political science and historical methodologies to demonstrate that citizenship was a political as well as a legal concept. The American state, this collection argues, was formed and evolved in a more dialectical relationship between citizens and government authority than is generally acknowledged. Suggesting points of comparison between an American narrative of state development—previously thought to be exceptional—and those of Europe and Latin America, the contributors break fresh ground by investigating citizenship in its historical context rather than by reference only to its capacity to confer privileges.
Performing Religion and Race in the Puritan Atlantic
Author: Heather Miyano Kopelson
Publisher: NYU Press
In the seventeenth-century English Atlantic, religious beliefs and practices played a central role in creating racial identity. English Protestantism provided a vocabulary and structure to describe and maintain boundaries between insider and outsider. In this path-breaking study, Heather Miyano Kopelson peels back the layers of conflicting definitions of bodies and competing practices of faith in the puritan Atlantic, demonstrating how the categories of “white,” “black,” and “Indian” developed alongside religious boundaries between “Christian” and “heathen” and between “Catholic” and “Protestant.” Faithful Bodies focuses on three communities of Protestant dissent in the Atlantic World: Bermuda, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In this “puritan Atlantic,” religion determined insider and outsider status: at times Africans and Natives could belong as long as they embraced the Protestant faith, while Irish Catholics and English Quakers remained suspect. Colonists’ interactions with indigenous peoples of the Americas and with West Central Africans shaped their understandings of human difference and its acceptable boundaries. Prayer, religious instruction, sexual behavior, and other public and private acts became markers of whether or not blacks and Indians were sinning Christians or godless heathens. As slavery became law, transgressing people of color counted less and less as sinners in English puritans’ eyes, even as some of them made Christianity an integral part of their communities. As Kopelson shows, this transformation proceeded unevenly but inexorably during the long seventeenth century.
Essays in Honor of Professor Morton J. Horwitz
Author: Daniel W. Hamilton,Alfred L. Brophy
Publisher: Harvard University Press
During his career at Harvard, Morton Horwitz changed the questions legal historians ask. The Transformation of American Law, 1780âe"1860 (1977) disclosed the many ways that judge-made law favored commercial and property interests and remade law to promote economic growth. The Transformation of American Law, 1870âe"1960 (1992) continued that project, with a focus on ideas that reshaped law as we struggled for objective and neutral legal responses to our countryâe(tm)s crises. In this book, Horwitzâe(tm)s students re-examine legal history from Americaâe(tm)s colonial era to the late twentieth century. They ask classic Horwitzian questions, of how legal doctrine, thought, and practice are shaped by the interests of the powerful, as well as by the ideas of lawyers, politicians, and others. The essays address current questions in legal history, from colonial legal practice to questions of empire, civil rights, and constitutionalism in a democracy. The essays are, like Horwitz, provocative and original as they continue his transformation of American legal history.
Author: Josiah Quincy
Publisher: Publications of the Colonial S
Category: Biography & Autobiography
Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744-1775), Boston lawyer and patriot penman, had he lived longer could have been a leader of the new American Republic with a name familiar in most households. In a four-volume series, the Colonial Society of Massachusetts will reprint his major political and legal writings. Editor Neil Longley York provides a significant biographical introduction, followed by Quincy's Political Commonplace Book, in which the patriot noted down passages from his wide reading in politics and history that he believed relevant to his own times. Thus, readers have an unusual opportunity to enter into the extraordinary mind of a patriot immediately before the Revolution. A new edition of Quincy's London Journal follows, the record of his last-ditch efforts to stave off the impending conflict by seeking some possible ground for compromise with leading British politicians in the months before the battles at Lexington and Concord. Although the peace mission ultimately failed, the journal provides a fascinating record of how British society and leading figures in the government appeared to a young lawyer from a distant colony.
New York and the Transformation of Constitutionalism in the Atlantic World, 1664-1830
Author: Daniel J. Hulsebosch
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
According to the traditional understanding of American constitutional law, the Revolution produced a new conception of the constitution as a set of restrictions on the power of the state rather than a mere description of governmental roles. Daniel J. Hulsebosch complicates this viewpoint by arguing that American ideas of constitutions were based on British ones and that, in New York, those ideas evolved over the long eighteenth century as New York moved from the periphery of the British Atlantic empire to the center of a new continental empire. Hulsebosch explains how colonists and administrators reconfigured British legal sources to suit their needs in an expanding empire. In this story, familiar characters such as Alexander Hamilton and James Kent appear in a new light as among the nation's most important framers, and forgotten loyalists such as Superintendent of Indian Affairs Sir William Johnson and lawyer William Smith Jr. are rightly returned to places of prominence. In his paradigm-shifting analysis, Hulsebosch captures the essential paradox at the heart of American constitutional history: the Revolution, which brought political independence and substituted the people for the British crown as the source of legitimate authority, also led to the establishment of a newly powerful constitution and a new postcolonial genre of constitutional law that would have been the envy of the British imperial agents who had struggled to govern the colonies before the Revolution.