The Transatlantic Constitution

Author: Mary Sarah Bilder
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674020948
Format: PDF, Mobi
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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.

Esteemed Bookes of Lawe and the Legal Culture of Early Virginia

Author: Warren M. Billings
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 0813939402
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Virginia men of law constituted one of the first learned professions in colonial America, and Virginia legal culture had an important and lasting impact on American political institutions and jurisprudence. Exploring the book collections of these Virginians therefore offers insight into the history of the book and the intellectual history of early America. It also addresses essential questions of how English culture migrated to the American colonies and was transformed into a distinctive American culture. Focusing on the law books that colonial Virginians acquired, how they used them, and how they eventually produced a native-grown legal literature, this collection explores the law and intellectual culture of the Commonwealth and reveals the origins of a distinctively Virginian legal literature. The contributors argue that understanding the development of early Virginia legal history—as shown through these book collections—not only illuminates important aspects of Virginia’s history and culture; it also underlies a thorough understanding of colonial and revolutionary American history and culture.

The Common Law in Colonial America

Author: William E. Nelson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190850493
Format: PDF, Mobi
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The eminent legal historian William E. Nelson's magisterial four-volume The Common Law in Colonial America traces how the many legal orders of Britain's thirteen North American colonies gradually evolved into one American system. Initially established on divergent political, economic, and religious grounds, the various colonial systems slowly converged until it became possible by the 1770s to imagine that all thirteen participated in a common American legal order, which diverged in its details but differed far more substantially from English common law. This fourth and final volume begins where volume three ended. It focuses on the laws of the thirteen colonies in the mid-eighteenth century and on constitutional events leading up to the American Revolution. Nelson first examines procedural and substantive law and looks at important shifts in the law to show how the mid-eighteenth- century colonial legal system in large part functioned effectively in the interests both of Great Britain and of its thirteen colonies. Nelson then turns to constitutional events leading to the Revolution. Here he shows how lawyers deployed ideological arguments not for their own sake, but in order to protect colonial institutional structures and the socio-economic interests of their clients. As lawyers deployed the arguments, they developed them into a constitutional theory that gave primacy to common-law constitutional rights and local self-government. In the process, the lawyers became leaders of the revolutionary movement and a dominant political force in the new United States.

Settlers Liberty and Empire

Author: Craig Yirush
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139496042
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Traces the emergence of a revolutionary conception of political authority on the far shores of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world. Based on the equal natural right of English subjects to leave the realm, claim indigenous territory and establish new governments by consent, this radical set of ideas culminated in revolution and republicanism. But unlike most scholarship on early American political theory, Craig Yirush does not focus solely on the revolutionary era of the late eighteenth century. Instead, he examines how the political ideas of settler elites in British North America emerged in the often-forgotten years between the Glorious Revolution in America and the American Revolution against Britain. By taking seriously an imperial world characterized by constitutional uncertainty, geo-political rivalry and the ongoing presence of powerful Native American peoples, Yirush provides a long-term explanation for the distinctive ideas of the American Revolution.

Britain s Oceanic Empire

Author: H. V. Bowen
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 110702014X
Format: PDF, Docs
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A comparative study of how the British managed the expansion of empire in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean.

The Revolutionary Constitution

Author: David J. Bodenhamer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019991303X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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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.

Freedom Bound

Author: Christopher Tomlins
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781139490931
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Freedom Bound is about the origins of modern America - a history of colonizing, work and civic identity from the beginnings of English presence on the mainland until the Civil War. It is a history of migrants and migrations, of colonizers and colonized, of households and servitude and slavery, and of the freedom all craved and some found. Above all it is a history of the law that framed the entire process. Freedom Bound tells how colonies were planted in occupied territories, how they were populated with migrants - free and unfree - to do the work of colonizing and how the newcomers secured possession. It tells of the new civic lives that seemed possible in new commonwealths and of the constraints that kept many from enjoying them. It follows the story long past the end of the eighteenth century until the American Civil War, when - just for a moment - it seemed that freedom might finally be unbound.

Faithful Bodies

Author: Heather Miyano Kopelson
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479852341
Format: PDF
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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.

Madison s Hand

Author: Mary Sarah Bilder
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674495500
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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No document depicts the Constitutional Convention’s charismatic figures, crushing disappointments, and miraculous triumphs with the force of Madison’s Notes. But how reliable is this account? Drawing on digital technologies and textual analysis, Mary Sarah Bilder reveals that Madison revised to a far greater extent than previously recognized.