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Colonial Period

Colonial Courts

Though the colonies in the earliest times were led by strong, assertive individuals, they were clearly not dictatorships. The common people were free to use the courts to fix problems and they did so often. The courts were open and available to everyone; they were the place to relieve community tensions and solve disputes between the colonists. Often the opportunity to talk about a complaint was enough A woman, standing trial for being a suspected witch, lashes out in anger at her accusers. (© Bettmann/Corbis)
to satisfy the victim without the court actually reaching a verdict.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawColonial Period - European Settlement Of North America, Factors Influencing Early Colonial Law, Differences From The English Criminal Justice System