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The Plymouth General Court (formally styled, The General Court of Plymouth Colony) was the original colonial legislature of the Plymouth colony from 1620 to 1692. The body also sat in judgment of judicial appeals cases.

History

The General Court of the Colony of New Plymouth was founded in 1620 when the Pilgrims came to New Englandmarker, and the General Court served as the colony's legislature and judicial court. In 1636 the Court created North America's first written legal code with a set of statutes including a rudimentary bill of rights protecting traditional liberties such as the right to a jury trial. The early law of the the colony was based roughly on British common law and Mosaic law, but the judical structure resembled local manor and borough courts in England rather than the higher King's Court, which created the common law. The early Plymouth General Court met within the fort on Burial Hill near Cole's Hillmarker in downtown Plymouth.

The Plymouth colony was officially incorporated by charter into the Province of Massachusetts Bay on October 7 1691, although the General Court of the Plymouth Colony remained in effective government until the new charter arrived on May 14, 1692, carried by William Phips. The last official meeting of the Plymouth General Court occurred on June 8, 1692. The Plymouth General Court was officially disestablished in 1692 when the Massachusetts Colony with its Massachusetts General Court and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Courtmarker took over Plymouth's former jurisdiction.

References

  1. Haskins, George L., 1965 Reception of the Common Law in Seventeenth Century Massachusetts: A Case Study. In Law and Authority in Colonial America. Edited by George A. Billias. Barre: Barre Publishers.[1]
  2. Haskins, George L., 1969 The Legal Heritage of Plymouth Colony. In Essays in the History of Early American Law, edited by David F. Flaherty. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.[2]
  3. Haskins, George L., 1969 The Beginnings of Partible Inheritance in the American Colonies. In Essays in the History of Early American Law, edited by David F. Flaherty. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.[3]
  4. Langdon, George D. Jr.1966 Pilgrim Colony: A History of New Plymouth, 1620-1691. New Haven: Yale University Press.[4]
  5. Demos (1970), pp 17–18
  6. Weinstein and Rubel (2002), pp 64–65
  7. Records of the Colony of New Plymouth, in New England: Laws, 1623-1682 (Press of W. White, 1861)[5]


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