Common Law of Colonial America by William E. Nelson
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Common Law of Colonial America
By William E. Nelson

The Common Law of Colonial America

The Chesapeake and New England 1607-1660 Volume 1

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Format: Hardback

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Common Law of Colonial America by William E. Nelson

Book Description

William E. Nelson here proposes a new beginning in the study of colonial legal history. Examining all archival legal material for the period 1607-1776 and synthesizing existing scholarship in a four-volume series, The Common Law in Colonial America shows how the legal systems of Britain's thirteen North American colonies-initially established in response to divergent political, economic, and religious initiatives-slowly converged into a common American legal order that differed substantially from English common law. Drawing on groundbreaking and overwhelmingly in-depth research into local court records and statutes, the first volume 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 reveals how Virginians' zeal for profit led to a harsh legal framework that efficiently squeezed payment out of debtors and labor out of servants; whereas the laws of Massachusetts were primarily concerned with the preservation of local autonomy and the moral values of family-centered farming communities. The law in the other New England colonies, Nelson argues, gravitated towards the Massachusetts model, while Maryland's law, gravitated toward that of Virginia. Comprehensive, authoritative, and extensively researched, The Common Law in Colonial America, Volume 1: The Chesapeake and New England, 1607-1660 is the definitive resource on the beginnings of the common law and its evolution during this vibrant era in America's history. William E. Nelson here proposes a new beginning in the study of colonial legal history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195327281
ISBN-10: 0195327284
Format: Hardback
(240mm x 164mm x 18mm)
Pages: 216
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 4-Sep-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Books By Author William E. Nelson

Common Law in Colonial America by William E. Nelson Common Law in Colonial America, Hardback (July 2016)

This volume traces English efforts to govern the Chesapeake and New England colonies by imposing the common law. Although every colony received the common law by 1750, local interests retained significant power everywhere and used that power to preserve divergent, customary patterns of law that had arisen in the seventeenth century.

In Pursuit of Right and Justice by William E. Nelson In Pursuit of Right and Justice, Hardback (August 2004)

Weinfeld was influential as a judge and community member - representing immigrants and their legal rights.

Fourteenth Amendment by William E. Nelson Fourteenth Amendment, Paperback (October 1995)

In a remarkably fresh and historically grounded reinterpretation of the American Constitution, William Nelson argues that the fourteenth amendment was written to affirm the general public's long-standing rhetorical commitment to the principles of equality and individual rights on the one hand, and to the principle of local self-rule on the other.

» View all books by William E. Nelson

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Author Biography - William E. Nelson

William E. Nelson is Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law and Professor of History at New York University. He has been writing and teaching in the field of American legal history for over forty years.

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Common Law in Colonial America by William E. Nelson
Common Law in Colonial America by William E. Nelson
In Pursuit of Right and Justice by William E. Nelson
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