A Thanksgiving reflection on Colonial law

A business in need of legal help today has the option of strong representation by Miami litigation law firm Pollack, Pollack & Kogan. 

But as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let’s pause to reflect on the origins of our legal system during Colonial times and give thanks for the rights and freedoms that developed from it.

American Colonists relied on the 1215 English document, the Magna Carta, to outline individual freedoms, yet sought to develop a system that would ensure social order. Because of their strong religious beliefs, they believed in repentance and the return of the defendant back into community life.

Because of the Colonists’ Puritan beliefs, offenses were considered to be against God as well as against society. Puritan laws often included religious messages and quoted Bible passages.

Heresy was a major crime that could lead to being forced to leave the colony. Blasphemers could be whipped have a hole made in their tongue. Not properly observing the Sabbath or skipping religious services was also considered breaking the law.

Witchcraft was considered a very serious crime. People who practiced witchcraft were believed to have made pacts with the devil, and were sometimes put to death.

Other actions considered a crime included lying, idleness, drunkenness, playing such as shuffleboard or cards, and flirting.

There was no professional police force at the beginning of the colonies’ development, although there were often constables and night watchmen.  Later, as colonial governments became more established, the governor would appoint a sheriff to enforce laws, run the jail, select juries, and manage prisoners.

Shame, scorn, and humiliation were used to teach lessons for misbehavior, as well as whipping and placing the guilty in stocks.

Happy Thanksgiving from PPK Law firm!

Pollack, Pollack & Kogans  LLC – a litigation law firm – represents clients, and acts as local counsel for out-of-state and foreign attorneys, in the fields of complex civil and commercial litigation, probate litigation, injunctive relief, judgment and debt collection, contract litigation, landlord- tenant disputes, legal ethics dilemmas, securities arbitrations, and all business concerns and disputes.