What Is the History of American Law?

The history of American law is a long and complex one, filled with many twists and turns. From the early days of colonial America to the present day, the laws that govern our society have evolved and changed in response to the needs and concerns of the people.

The Early Days of American Law

In the early days of colonial America, there was no unified legal system. Each colony had its own laws and legal traditions, often based on English common law. However, as the colonies grew and expanded, there was a need for a more unified legal system.

The Birth of American Law

The birth of American law can be traced back to the Declaration of Independence in 1776. This document declared that all men were created equal and were entitled to certain unalienable rights. These rights included life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The Constitution

In 1787, the United States Constitution was drafted. This document established a federal system with three separate branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. The Constitution also established a Bill of Rights which guaranteed certain basic rights to all citizens.

The Evolution of American Law

Over time, American law has continued to evolve in response to changing social norms and values. For example:

  • In 1865, slavery was abolished with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.
  • In 1920, women were granted suffrage with the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.
  • In 1964, racial discrimination in public accommodations was outlawed with the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

The Future of American Law

As society continues to change and evolve, so too will American law. It is likely that new laws will be enacted in response to emerging issues such as climate change, technological advancements, and changing social norms.


In conclusion, the history of American law is a fascinating one that has shaped our society in countless ways. From its early beginnings to the present day, American law has evolved and changed in response to the needs and concerns of the people. As we look to the future, it will be interesting to see how American law continues to evolve and adapt to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world.