Questions tagged [legal-history]

For questions related to how and why law has evolved over time.

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164 views

What if a citizen does not accept all laws? [closed]

What if a citizen does not accept all laws? Are there exceptions, when it's not reasonable? Or are laws so "well-developed" so that one should believe in their rationality without ...
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104 views

Why was it formerly illegal to use the Swiss coat of arms in the United States?

18 U.S.C. § 708 formerly made the unauthorised commercial usage of the Swiss coat of arms (the white cross on a red field) a criminal offense in the United States. It was repealed this year, but why ...
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77 views

Why did English legal convention forbid many types of internal punctuation?

Even with internal punctuation now, and canons of interpretation, "series of items or activities" can be ambiguous, and are arguable and appealed to final courts of appeal. Why did legal ...
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1answer
112 views

What was the longest not stricken complaint filed in any U.S. court in the history of the U.S.?

Might sound like a trivia question, but it may have practical implications, too. If there is a different number for "with Exhibits" and "without Exhibits", that would also be ...
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1answer
30 views

Did the prerogative writ of prohibition ever have a Latin name?

Four of the five prerogative writs are known by their Latin names (habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, certiorari), but I have never seen the fifth referred to as anything other than 'prohibition'. ...
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243 views

What is the principle that children can consent to other children of the same age, but not to an adult, called?

Two three year old children that agree on "playing doctor" and examining each others bodies, including genitalia are not committing a crime (but if one three year old child forces another ...
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1answer
37 views

In Francis Bacon's time, was common law much less rules-governed than civil law?

In a paper on the legal inspiration of Francis Bacon's philosophical terms, it is argued that Bacon was more likely inspired by civil law rather than the common law, reflecting the fact that in his ...
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199 views

Did they not require any kind of passport or identity when traveling between countries before the year 1914?

During World War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements for security reasons, and to control the emigration of people with useful skills. These controls remained in place ...
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169 views

Were the Nuremberg trials legal with respect to the US constitution?

I'm very much a layman, and an Englishman rather than American, with an interest in political philosophy. I was reading through the US constitution the other day, and one sentence in Article I, ...
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1answer
156 views

Miranda warning - requirement to be "read"

Colloquial commentary, TV cop-shows and the like often make reference to the Miranda warning being read to a suspect although this is not mentioned within the linked Wikipedia article. The dictionary ...
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154 views

The Californian Mask Laws of 1918

I am trying to find the text or at least the proper citation for the mask laws in San Francisco and other cities in 1918. However my research only tells me that they existed, when they were enacted ...
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137 views

How can we reconcile the fact that common law, relative to civil law, give judges more power in interpreting law but less power in guiding trials? [closed]

In common law, judge-made precedents are more important than in civil law where judges are supposed to stick more closely to the written code. Thus, one may say that judges are given more power in ...
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103 views

What are the historical reasons that France adopted civil rather than common law?

The story I heard is that revolutionaries thought that judges were corrupt and thus should be left to interpret the law, and thus should closely follow codified rules. Is that historically accurate?
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1answer
59 views

In the 1810 French penal code, were "stocks" a more heavy punishment than imprisonment?

In the 1810 French penal code, the prescribed sentence for some crimes is "carcan" (stocks), which is described as being put in stocks at a public place with information about one's name, ...
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When did U.S. tax code limit the personal Capital Loss Deduction to $3000?

Beginning in the late 1970s, after capital losses offset capital gains dollar for dollar, the allowable deduction on the IRS 1040 form for capital losses coming from Schedule D was $3000. The same is ...
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259 views

Could you fix and carry (for self defense) antique firearms in 2010 New York?

Forgive me for basing this on a pop-culture reference. I heard this on a TV show: Abe: They (antique guns) are considered collectibles, so they don't have to be registered. Castle: Making it pretty ...
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107 views

How did the USA justify its war against Vietnam by way of International Law?

According to Shaws book on International Law: The Soviet Union made considerable use of legal arguments in its efforts to establish its non-liability to contribute towards the peace-keeping ...
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85 views

Under what aspect of International Law could the Allies divide up Germany into Western and Eastern spheres of influence?

After the defeat of Nazi Germany the Allies, in particular, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union at Potsdam came to an agreement concerning the military occupation and ...
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62 views

Why does the monetary fine portion of a law seem so much less severe than the prison time? [duplicate]

I have over time seen many US laws where the text reads a penalty of $1000 or 1 year imprisonment. The latest one I’ve seen was on my Twitter feed: But I’ve seen many like this over the years. Is ...
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80 views

Has the fugitive slave clause of the US constitution been used since passage of the 13th Amendment?

The Wikipedia article on the 'Fugitive Slave Clause' of the US constitution (Art. IV § 2(3)) says (emphasis added): The passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which ...
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1answer
91 views

I'm trying to find what the 197 penal code was in the 1930's

For a project on the book ''Of Mice and Of Men'', I have to prove that George is innocent of the murder of Lennie. My goal is to say that George didn't commit murder, but that it was a justified ...
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10k views

Could the federal government ban people from drinking coffee?

Which amendment does this statement violate? The federal government refuses to allow anyone to drink coffee.
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233 views

Belgium's historical Charter for indefinite access to UK waters

In 1666 King Charles II granted 50 fishermen from the city of Bruges ‘eternal access’ to British waters, and the EU are now trying to 'grandfather' this treaty. Is this treaty valid under all possible ...
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236 views

Why do lawyers ask "Is it not true that ..."

I am aware of this previous related question Alternative to "Isn't it true that...?" when questioning witnesses The most upvoted answer to that question gave alternative ways of speaking....
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1answer
111 views

Is there any legal obligation for companies to provide firmware?

I am currently trying to get firmware from a company called Sunfire a formerly Washington State corporation, which makes home theater products. They have a discontinued line of products, and have ...
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1answer
51 views

What is the term for when a leader being responsible when they suggests something and someone acts on it?

I recall there was a term for a very specific thing that can happen when the person in charge - king, president, dictator, etc - suggests something be done and someone does it, that might make the ...
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53 views

Focus on arson in New Mexico Constitution -- why? typo?

In the State Constitution of New Mexico, Article II Section 24 Rights of Crime Victims, all the victims' rights are listed specifically for "a victim of arson" (see https://law.lclark.edu/...
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105 views

Why is the manufacturer of a wireless radio device responsible for preventing end-user modifications? [closed]

One of those things that irks me about the FCC regulations is that manufacturers are responsible for preventing, and can apparently be held liable for, end-user modifications to wireless radio devices ...
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106 views

Why weren't the US Navy and Marines added to the Posse Comitatus Act in 1956?

The Posse Comitatus Act was originally enacted in 1878 to restrict the use of the United States military in many domestic matters. Originally, the act only covered the Army, which doesn't seem ...
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1answer
95 views

Would a jury have been used in a divorce trial in 1920s England?

Alfred Hitchcock's silent film Easy Virtue opens with a divorce trial, interspersed with flashbacks. The film is set in the 1920s, and the trial is in England. It seems to show a jury meeting and ...
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10k views

Can a soldier refuse to carry a weapon?

During WWII, Desmond Doss joined the US Army as a combat medic. Due to his religious belief in nonviolence, he refused to carry a weapon and was eventually allowed to do so, going on to win various ...
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134 views

What is the origin of trials by jury?

What is the origin of trials by jury? Were juries used in Old Testament, Greek, Roman, or Inquisition trials?
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47 views

What are some examples of important/influential Amicus briefs?

I've been digging through Supreme court documents and it got me wondering - does anybody know any specific examples of Amicus briefs that may have changed the outcome of an important case? I couldn't ...
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31 views

Meaning of numbers in UK Parliament Sessional Papers

I have a (scan of) an 1858 volume of papers drawn from Sessional Papers of the British Parliament. These appear to be Command Papers, which, according to various sources, were numbered [1] to [4222] ...
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1answer
98 views

Historical examples of retrial for longer prison sentences? [closed]

I've asked this question on the History SE, which resulted in some members commenting it might be better suited on the Law SE. Today I've read in 'Journey into the Whirlwind' by Eugenia Ginzburg, ...
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1answer
55 views

FCC: 1975 Rules Relating to Multiple Ownership ( 47 C.F.R. § 73.34, 73.240 and 73.636 ) source? does it exist?

Where can I find the original/historical 47 C.F.R. § 73.34, 73.240 and 73.636? To clarify, I'm looking at wikipedia: Cross ownership rules of 1975, but cannot find the primary source: Amendment of §§...
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72 views

Why is an attempted violent crime judged less harshly than a successful one?

There exist crimes that bring great damage to the victim, such as murder, rape, aggravated assault, theft, etc. If anything had escaped that list, I'm sure it's intuitive what that would be. In most ...
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1answer
57 views

On Irish marriage property and divorce law circa 1939

My questions arise from a scenario in Finnegans Wake by James Joyce, published in 1939, and hence pertain to Irish law around or before 1939. As a young Dublin girl, Anna inherits property from her ...
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42 views

When was homosexuality as the reason for institutionalization outlawed in the US?

In the United States, I'm guessing that one can no longer commit a person to a mental hospital (AKA insane asylum) with the only reason for commitment being: "said person is gay". Homosexuality is no ...
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79 views

What is Legal Theory? I am asking for its concept, its definition by some Oxbridge or Ivy League Legal Dictionary

People talk about Legal Theory and I do not understand what it is. The Theory Part. In Physics, Chemisty, Geology, Economy, Sociology... Theory is an explanation of a phenomenon( why it occurs and ...
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1answer
182 views

Does the iconic WWII-end "Kiss" photo depict sexual assault?

One of the most famous images from the end of World War II was of a sailor kissing someone who looked like a nurse in Times Square, celebrating the victory. As described in a featured article in ...
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1answer
65 views

Does annexation of state apply to territories under dispute e.g. Kashmir?

I am not clear on the legal definition of annexation. Can we say India is annexing Kashmir, or Jammu and Kashmir? Or does the word strictly apply to two nation-states only? Many definitions are ...
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1answer
127 views

At what point could courts in England no longer legally create new Common Law offenses?

Common Law offenses, of course, were crimes created solely through case law rather than statute. At what point was the legal authority of courts in England to create new Common Law offenses abolished?...
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1answer
62 views

How was entrance to the bar monitored in the 19th Century?

I am seeking historical information on the process as to how individuals such as my grandfather Judge Lewis (H.) Blackledge were admitted to the bar. He graduated in Jun 1888 from high school at ...
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1answer
70 views

Are State-Authorized Century Farm Programs Titles of Nobility?

Both the Federal and State governments are prohibited from granting "titles of nobility" under the US Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 9 & 10). My understanding is that "titles of nobility" are ...
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737 views

Why US apostille is not valid for use in US?

I've got an apostille and bottom line says: "...this apostille is not valid for use anywhere within the United States of America..." What was the reason for this? Is it applicable for all countries ...
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251 views

Why does the US patent law have a section about inventions in outer space?

I came upon a curiously exorbitant statute, Inventions in outer space (35 USC 105). To summarize my question, what was the story and the rationale behind this law? The section reads, in part: Any ...
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3answers
199 views

Are there any contemporary examples of jurists "riding circuit?"

Historically, in Great Britain and the United States, some judges would "ride circuit," traveling around a region holding court on some schedule rather than asking plaintiffs to travel to a fixed ...
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1answer
143 views

Was defamation legal in Russian empire in the 19th century?

In Dostoevsky's Idiot, it seemed that it was perfectly legal to publish articles of slanderous nature. Was there any legal protection of a Russian's rights in publicity in the 1800's?
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64 views

Are there books or sources on how laws are evolving in a way that current laws have little to do with original purposes?

I am seeing pattern where laws that used to serve some purposes is now serving very different purposes. I wonder if there is a name for these patterns. According to Why are there distinct burdens of ...