A written and accessible code of behavior which is enforced by a powerful entity (almost always a state actor). Part of this code includes the entities responsible for maintaining and interpreting the written statutes, the punishments that can be applied in the case of the violation of the stated ...

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30
votes
15answers
9k views

Was the secession of the Confederate states illegal?

Putting aside their reasons for wanting to do so and all the emotional responses they would provoke, was the secession of states from the Union to eventually form the Confederacy an illegal act in ...
27
votes
4answers
402 views

What Factors Have Led to the Duration of US Copyrights Continuously Increasing?

The below image shows how the duration of US copyright laws has increased to 4x what it was originally. Is there a reason that copyright duration has only been extended in the US? What are the ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

No speed limit on German highways - why?

I wonder what are the historical circumstances that led to lack of speed limit on German federal Autobahn network. There is an advisory 130 km/h limit, but it is not mandatory one nor obeyed ...
20
votes
1answer
518 views

When did the Romans begin using the sword, as opposed to the axe, for decapitation?

According to this article, the Romans first used the axe for decapitation, and then moved to using the sword later. The article states: [B]eheading, a mode of executing capital punishment by which ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

What was the legal framework in Ancient India?

We all know the immense contribution ancient Roman, medieval Roman (or Byzantine), and pre-modern HRE cannon law has made to the modern world. These empires relied on a written constitution (or code) ...
18
votes
4answers
463 views

What were the reasons for making Prohibition a constitutional amendment?

What were the reasons that the Prohibition in the United States was passed as a constitutional amendment, rather than a normal federal law, or a set of state laws?
16
votes
3answers
922 views

Why is the United States the only developed country whose labour laws leave most up to the employer? [closed]

I read this post: "Bad Facts About The USA". It says that the United States, Lesotho, Swaziland and New Guinea are the only countries in the world not to mandate paid leave for mothers of newborns. ...
16
votes
1answer
778 views

Did “droit du seigneur” actually exist in medieval Europe?

Droit du seigneur, also known as "jus primae noctis" (right of the first night), was the supposed right of a feudal lord to sleep with his serfs' brides on their wedding night. Was it actually ...
16
votes
3answers
352 views

Has a foreign power ever sought to compel another country to abide by international law by means of that country's internal judiciary?

Suppose there are two countries which have a treaty or convention between them. One country thinks the other has infringed upon it. Have there been any instances where the first country filed a suit ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

How do new countries legally and without bloodshed declare themselves independent?

I saw an article about the legality of the declaration of independence. For example, when USSR broke up, several countries became independent, but for others, there is still fighting to maintain them ...
14
votes
4answers
406 views

Where and how did the concept of “incorporation” originate?

Wikipedia states that "The alleged oldest commercial corporation in the world, the Stora Kopparberg mining community in Falun, Sweden, obtained a charter from King Magnus Eriksson in 1347". Is this ...
14
votes
2answers
279 views

How did ancient empires account for slow propagation of information e.g. in their legal codes?

Mathematician Alain Connes cites a French legal rule that explicitly accounts for propagation of information at finite speeds substantially below the speed of light: There was a legal rule ...
13
votes
2answers
262 views

How did Quebec transition from French Law to English Law?

When Britain conquered Quebec at the end of the Seven Years War, Quebec began a transition between French law and English law. How did that transition occur?
12
votes
1answer
185 views

Was the State of Indiana's legislation changed to fix the value of Pi?

Is the following an anecdote? Mathematicians describe Pi as an irrational number, that is, a number that cannot be expressed as the ratio of any two integers. This was an irksome fact to the State ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What does it mean that the early supreme court “gave themselves” the power of judicial review?

I'm watching the "Crash Course: American History" youtube series, and I like, it, but it obviously skips over a ton because it's packing decades at a time into 10 minutes. So he just (briefly) ...
11
votes
2answers
194 views

What was the legal status of an East German once he had reached West Germany?

Cold War histories usually state something like "any German able to reach West Germany was automatically granted West German citizenship" to explain how easy it was to go from East to West, if only ...
11
votes
1answer
324 views

Did America ignore British patents during Industrialization

I remember reading a Noam Chomsky book where he stated that America simply stole British patented ideas, claiming that British laws did not apply to her. Chomsky's argument was that America is ...
11
votes
2answers
258 views

Why did the political parties in the US give up power to run primary elections to some states?

In the US, it seems that in certain states, the political parties have allowed the state to prescribe the manner in which delegates are selected to the party's national convention. This includes ...
11
votes
2answers
235 views

Is 529 the largest simultanious death penalty verdict ever?

Recently Egypt made headlines by sentencing 529 people to death in a single court verdict. I've seen a lot of talk both in the media and online about this being the largest single death penalty ...
10
votes
2answers
272 views

Is it true that slavery was banned from discussion on the Senate and/or House floor before the American Civil War?

In one of the latter years of my undergraduate program I read/heard from one of my classes that discussing the slave trade/slavery on either the Senate and/or House floor (I forget which) was banned. ...
10
votes
2answers
428 views

Were any drugs (except alcohol) forbidden during medieval or ancient times?

I assume that some drugs where known to humanity in some way or other for a long time, but I think actually prohibiting certain drugs would require a state that (for reasons of morals, public health, ...
10
votes
3answers
330 views

Was it ever illegal for two people of different religions to marry in the UK?

Was it ever illegal for 2 people of different religions (e.g. Catholic & Anglican) to marry in the UK? I'm refering only to "civil marriage". I'm sure, even now, that the Catholic church may not ...
10
votes
1answer
216 views

What were the rights of various classes of people in the Roman Republic?

Ancient Rome is often cited as a republic/democracy, and one of the earliest examples of a civilisation enforcing some degree of human rights. However, it's no secret that slavery was present in Rome. ...
10
votes
1answer
204 views

Were mattress labels inspired by public outcry?

If you're an American consumer, you likely know the "mattress tag", labels attached to mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, and pet beds, which often begin "This tag may not be removed under penalty ...
9
votes
3answers
163 views

Were there any political checks on the U.S. executive during their covert support of the military junta of Pinochet?

U.S. secretary of state Kissinger- with the support of the executive- actively supported the overthrow of Chilean president Allende in favor of the military dictatorship of Pinochet. After the fact, ...
9
votes
2answers
362 views

State changing its name within the United States

In 1989 there was an initiative in North Dakota to change the state's name to simply "Dakota". Is this first time an initiative was taken for a state to change its name after becoming a state within ...
9
votes
1answer
231 views

Why did the states that were born out of the Louisiana purchase adopt a common law system, and not a civil law system?

The French system of laws is a civil law system that is based upon the Napoleonic Code, and further back the Justinian Code. The legal system in Louisiana is now bijuridicial retaining some of the ...
9
votes
4answers
331 views

Law enforcement vs KKK

What measures (if any) did law enforcement agents take against the rise of the Ku Klux Klan in the south after the Civil War? From what I have read there seems to have been a lot of unrest in that ...
8
votes
2answers
953 views

What did the word 'unconstitutional' mean to Americans prior to the Revolution?

I'm reading about the Townshend Acts on Wikipedia, and it says that the American colonists rejected any taxation because it was unconstitutional. Were they referring to a specific document, like the ...
8
votes
1answer
664 views

When was cannabis legalized in the Netherlands?

In which date was cannabis legalized in the Netherlands? I mean the introduction of coffee shops
8
votes
1answer
100 views

Has there ever been litigation over a salvaged shipwreck between a European country and a former ex-colony?

International law on shipwreck salvage rights has not yet stabilised and usually requires case-by-case litigation. A common example of this is litigation between a commercial salvage company and the ...
8
votes
0answers
381 views

How did Rome's legal system work?

How was it decided if a case should be tried in Rome or in the province by the governor of that province? was the governor always the judge or were there exceptions? who were the lawyers? I know a lot ...
7
votes
2answers
724 views

What are the “ancient liberties” of the City of London?

I recently learned that three clauses of the Magna Carta are still part of UK law — the liberties of the English Church, the privileges of the City of London, and the right to trial by jury. I think ...
7
votes
5answers
767 views

In the United States government, has there been cases that electoral colleges don't vote for the candidate the majority of their state voted for?

Has there ever been a case where electoral colleges vote for someone the people didn't vote for during an election for president of the United States?
7
votes
3answers
281 views

When did hanging emerge as a form of capital punishment?

As the title has it: when did hanging emerge as a form of legal execution? The Wikipedia article (linked) has nothing to say about this. I've done the best I can with a search in Google Scholar, but ...
7
votes
1answer
360 views

What were the Government Press Prosecutions of 1858 and why did they occur?

In the second chapter of On Liberty, John Stuart Mill mentions in a note the "Government Press Prosecutions of 1858". He further writes that "The offence charged was not that of criticising ...
7
votes
2answers
110 views

Georgia's Ruling by O. Henry

O. Henry's 1900 story, "Georgia's Ruling", http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/ohenry/bl-ohenry-georgia.htm describes a dire social problem related to the USA land laws and the "land ...
7
votes
2answers
108 views

Total budget of Nuremberg trial

I am trying to estimate the total budget of the Nuremberg War Criminal trial. Any help with reference, please?
7
votes
3answers
361 views

Were there historical examples of “citizen's arrest” concept in history independent of British common law?

I know that the concept of "citizen's arrest" in USA originated from British common law. It seems that in a lot of countries listed in Wiki are ones that have the same origin of that law, since they ...
7
votes
1answer
97 views

What was the procedure for prosecuting criminals in England between the World Wars?

I'm doing some research on court procedures during the '20's and '30's in England. I understand that at that time there was a Director of Public Prosecutions, and some of the resources I have found ...
6
votes
4answers
438 views

What was the first supranational organization?

The European Union is the only organization at the moment that exhibits a high level of integration amongst its member nation states, but is it the world's first supranational type organization? Are ...
6
votes
2answers
288 views

What laws of war existed before the modern international treaties and conventions?

Were there laws governing the rules of conducting war before modern (20th century) international treaties and conventions such as the Geneva conventions? For example, were there rules regarding the ...
6
votes
1answer
158 views

When did private fighting become a capital offense in Japan?

In "Might Makes Right: Just war and just warfare in early medieval Japan", Karl Friday mentions that bushi (warriors) who violated decrees banning fighting were exiled or imprisoned under pre-Edo ...
6
votes
1answer
400 views

How did the Nuremberg Trials decide whether a guilty defendant was to be sentence to death or life imprisonment?

This page contains a list of Nuremberg defendants, their verdict and sentence. While explanations for lighter sentence (e.g. Dönitz was only sentenced to 10 years) can be found quite easily, many Nazi ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

How compare the rights and conditions of the American slaves to those of Russian serfs?

How compare the rights and conditions of the 19-th century American slaves to those of the 19-th century Russian serfs?
6
votes
2answers
683 views

When did the last formal and recorded duel take place?

It seems that duels are no longer fought because of a combination of both changes in law and in fashions. E.g. Tom Reiss' The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte ...
6
votes
1answer
160 views

Did the U.S Constitution revoke or merely amend the the Articles of Confederation?

This may seem like a silly question, but I only ask because of a U.S. Supreme Court case that actually cited the Articles of Confederation. After the civil war, there is this case called ...
5
votes
1answer
460 views

When was divorce made illegal again in Ireland?

Divorce has been legal in the UK for a long time (since Henry VII obviously). Ireland was part of the UK since 1800 (Act of Union of 1800), so I assume that civil divorce was legal in Ireland in the ...
5
votes
1answer
110 views

Nationalisation during wartime in the West: With or without compensation?

I was just reading about the forerunner to Bayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Aircraftworks, who designed and manufactured the legendary ME/BF-109 fighter). Apparently the owner, Herr Otto, was ...
5
votes
1answer
145 views

What was the age of majority in 1900 United States?

What was the age of majority in 1900, in the United States? For women and for men? I am not asking about the age of consent. The age of majority is the chronological moment when minors cease to ...