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Colonial Period

Toward An American Legal System

New ideas about criminal justice continued to be defined in American colonial law through the eighteenth century as the colonial and English societies grew apart. For example, the king was considered the source of all English law. The colonies did not agree, considering God the source of justice. The Revolutionary War greatly affected the criminal justice system because America's new independence from England ended the influence of royalty. In the 1780s the Founding Fathers of the nation adopted the republican (a form of government where citizens hold the supreme power) ideal that people were the source of law. As a result, new individual rights were built into the emerging American legal system.

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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