Readings: U.S. Legal & Constitutional History

The Origins of Magna Carta, 1215: There are multiple pages and links to explore here.
The Petition of Right, 1628: This is the text of the petition.
The Petition of Right, 1628: This is background information about the petition.
The English Declaration of Rights, 1689 – “The English Declaration of Rights.”
The English Bill of Rights, 1689.
The Origins of Common Law

Letters Patent to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, 1578
The First Charter of Virginia, 1610
The Virginia Company of London
Charter of Carolina, 1663
Background on Charter of Carolina, 1663

Dale’s Laws, 1610
History of House of Burgesses
Virginia Rules on Conduct and Religion, 1619
Virginia Statues on Slavery, 1662-69
Maryland Toleration Act, 1649
The Mayflower Compact, 1620
The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, 1639
The Bloudy Tenent of Persecution, Roger Williams, 1644
The Trial of William Penn, 1670
Pennsylvania, William Penn: Frame of Government, 1682

Navigation Act, 1651
Locke: Second Treatise of Government, 1688
The Zenger Case, 1735
Indian and White Views on Property, 1742

James Otis: Against Writs of Assistance (1761)
The Stamp Act, 1765
Blackstone: Parliamentary Omnipotence (1765)
Virginia Stamp Act Resolutions (1765)
The Resolutions of the Stamp Act Congress
Dickenson: Letter from a farmer in Pennsylvania, 1767
Boston Non-Importation Agreement, 1768
Charleston Non-Importation Agreement, 1769
Somerset v. Stewart, 1772

Association of the Sons of Liberty in New York, 1773
Proceedings of Farmington, Connecticut, on the Boston Port Act, 1774
Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress, 1774
The Charlotte Town Resolves, 1775
Paine: Common Sense, 1776
Adams: Thoughts on Government, 1776

Lee’s Resolutions, 1776
Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence, 1776
Declaration of Independence, 1776
Virginia Declaration of Rights, 1776
Constitution of Pennsylvania, 1776
Constitution of Maryland, 1776

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779
An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, 1780
Articles of Confederation, 1781
Northwest Ordinance, 1787

The Virginia Plan, 1787
The New Jersey Plan, 1787
Hamilton’s Plan, 1787
Madison Debates, 1787
Constitution of the United States, 1787
Debate Over the Importation of Slaves, 1787

Madison: Federalist No. 10, 1787
Hamilton: Federalist: No. 78, 1788
Brutus, No. 1, 1787
Federal Farmer, No. 1, 1787
The Bill of Rights, 1789-1791

The Judiciary Act, 1789
Jefferson’s Opinion on the Constitutionality of a National Bank: 1791
Hamilton’s Opinion as to the Constitutionality of the Bank of the United States: 1791
John Jay on Separation of Powers, 1793
Hamilton: Pacificus No. 1, 1793
Madison: Helvidius No. 1, 1793
The Alien Act, 1798
The Sedition Act, 1798
The Virginia Resolution, 1798
The Kentucky Resolution, 1799

Marbury v. Madison, 1803
Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 1819
McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819
Gibbons v. Ogden, 1824

Veto of the Bank Bill, 1832
South Carolina Ordinance of Nullification, 1832
President Jackson’s Proclamation Regarding Nullification, 1832
Worcester v. Georgia, 1832

State v. Mann, 1829
Prigg v Pennsylvania, 1842
Fugitive Slave Act, 1850
Douglas: What, to the Slave, is the Fourth of July? 1852
Massachusetts Personal Liberty Act, 1855
Dred Scott v. Sandford, 1856
Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 1858

The Limits of Federal Power, 1860
South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, 1860
Constitution of the Confederate States, 1861
Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, 1861
Ex parte John Merryman, 1861
Texas Ordinance of Secession, 1861

Emancipation Proclamation, 1863
Gettysburg Address, 1863
Lincoln: Constitutionality of the Draft, 1863
Ex Parte Vallandigham, 1864
Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln, 1865

Civil Rights Act, 1866
Veto of Civil Rights Act, 1866
Reconstruction Amendments, 1865-70


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