The Common Law in Colonial America: Volume II: The Middle Colonies and the Carolinas, 1660-1730

Hardcover | December 6, 2012

byWilliam E. Nelson

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William E. Nelson's first volume of the four-volume The Common Law of Colonial America (2008) established a new benchmark for study of colonial era legal history. Drawing from both a rich archival base and existing scholarship on the topic, the first volume demonstrated how the legal systemsof Britain's thirteen North American colonies - each of which had unique economies, political structures, and religious institutions - slowly converged into a common law order that differed substantially from English common law. The first volume focused on how the legal systems of the Chesapeake colonies - Virginia and Maryland - contrasted with those of the New England colonies and traced these dissimilarities from the initial settlement of America until approximately 1660. In this new volume, Nelson brings the discussionforward, covering the years from 1660, which saw the Restoration of the British monarchy, to 1730. In particular, he analyzes the impact that an increasingly powerful British government had on the evolution of the common law in the New World. As the reach of the Crown extended, Britain imposed farmore restrictions than before on the new colonies it had chartered in the Carolinas and the middle Atlantic region. The government's intent was to ensure that colonies' laws would align more tightly with British law. Nelson examines how the newfound coherence in British colonial policy led these newcolonies to develop common law systems that corresponded more closely with one another, eliminating much of the variation that socio-economic differences had created in the earliest colonies. As this volume reveals, these trends in governance ultimately resulted in a tension between top-down pressures from Britain for a more uniform system of laws and bottom-up pressures from colonists to develop their own common law norms and preserve their own distinctive societies. Authoritative anddeeply researched, the volumes in The Common Law of Colonial America will become the foundational resource for anyone interested the history of American law before the Revolution.

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William E. Nelson's first volume of the four-volume The Common Law of Colonial America (2008) established a new benchmark for study of colonial era legal history. Drawing from both a rich archival base and existing scholarship on the topic, the first volume demonstrated how the legal systemsof Britain's thirteen North American colonies...

William E. Nelson is Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law and Professor of History at New York University.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 6, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199937753

ISBN - 13:9780199937752

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Dutch and Puritan Law in New NetherlandA. The Dutch Legal System of NewB. "Rude, Untechnical" Law in the Early English Settlements2. New York: The Persistence of Dutch and PuritanA. The Persistence of Dutch Law along the Upper HudsonB. New England Law on the Islands and in Westchester3. New York: The Triumph of the Common LawA. The Emergence of Common Law in New York CityB. The Triumph of Common Law in the Colony at Large4. Common Law in the City-State ofcharleston, South CarolinaA. The Success and Failure of Ashley's PlansB. Creating LawC. The End of the Proprietary Regime and the Beginning of Royal Government5. Politicizing the Courts and Undermining the Law in North CarolinaA. The Colony on the Albemarle SoundB. The Judicial System's Collapse6. Pennsylvania: Government by JudiciaryA. The Immediate Adoption of the Common LawB. The Disempowerment of JuriesC. Law, Order, and StabilityD. Explaining Hegemony7. Delaware and New Jersey: A Microcosm of the Colonial NorthA. DelawareB. East JerseyC. West JerseyD. New Jersey8. Conclusion: The Common Law as Mechanism of Governance