One of the first legal codes established in British America, the Massachusetts Bodie of Liberties was composed by the Puritan minister Nathaniel Ward and adopted by the General Court in December 1641. It reflected the Puritans’ vision of their mission to create a theocracy in the New World while at the same time pioneering some politically progressive ideas. Combining elements of the English common law and Mosaic principles, the code dealt with civil and ecclesiastical matters. The Bodie of Liberties was adopted during a trying ...

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