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History of American Law

American law begins with the English, the Teutonic conquerors of England from the Britons. Legal

history prior to the Norman Conquest is understandably sparse. There was little need to put the early

law into writing. Therefore, the first written laws that came to America from the pre-Norman period are

those of Ethelbert of Kent from approximately 600 C.E. Then the laws of Ina of Wessex towards the end

of the seventh century, which was mostly about tariffs of compositions for injuries.

The latest laws that America has from the pre-Norman period are from the Cnut, the Danish

conqueror (1016-1035 C.E.). Here certain crimes no matter where they were committed were

considered as offenses against the king. These offenses were punished with corporal punishment:

mutilation or even death.

The English law began its development mostly due to the administration of Henry II (1154-1189 C.E.).

He learned from the lawlessness of Stephen's reign the absolute need for a strong hold maintained by

government to maintain the King's power. He understood that the central government needed personal

control, or it would lose its secure holding and eventually lose its power and everything that came with


Today we have what the law considers two sovereignties: The federal government and the states. In

Gamble v United States (2019) the United States Supreme Court upheld that a state and the federal

government could prosecute an individual for the exact same crime, because this does not violate the

United states Fifth Amendment prohibition against double jeopardy. Although, the law recognizes these

two sovereignties there are actually more than that. This is so, because each state is a sovereign and

each citizen is a sovereign. This should not be misconstrued with the straw man of civil law of the UCC.

Similarly, to the English development of law the American Federal government continues to extend

its strong hold primarily through the commerce clause. Although the Constitution withholds policing

power from the federal government, because that belongs to the States. The United States Supreme

Court has consistently incognito allowed them to do so, but not clearly stating what is and what is not.

They leave much room for interpretation and each decision only creates the next 100 years’ worth of

confusion. Below you can find many aspects of our current government, when, and why they were

formed, and how they have been shaped over the years.

Although we have provided a section here on the history of American Law it’s important to realize

how deeply rooted this topic is. Therefore, there is great importance in looking at the history of each

criminal offense that is of interest to you. We have taken the liberty to begin the process of breaking them down for you.

We believe you will find it most beneficial and enlightening.

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