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The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History$
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John B Nann and Morris L Cohen

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300118537

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300118537.001.0001

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English Foundations of American Law, 1500s–1776

English Foundations of American Law, 1500s–1776

Chapter:
(p.48) 2 English Foundations of American Law, 1500s–1776
Source:
The Yale Law School Guide to Research in American Legal History
Author(s):

John B. Nann

Morris L. Cohen

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300118537.003.0003

This chapter describes current sources and techniques useful for finding seventeenth- and eighteenth-century laws of England and introduces some methods an attorney in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries might have used. Before researchers can find the law, they must know what was considered to be the source of law in the period being investigated. Reporting, publishing, and finding cases has been important in English law for centuries. Parliamentary enactments during the colonial period also play an important part in the framework surrounding any particular legal issue. Meanwhile, English law is built on a foundation of common law, which is built on case law. As such, finding cases that relate to a particular topic is critical in research. A good case-finding option is a digest of cases; these have been written over the centuries, as have abridgments and treatises on particular areas of law.

Keywords:   English law, source of law, parliamentary enactments, colonial period, common law, case law, treatises, abridgments, digest of cases, American law

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