American Law: History & Origins from English Common Law


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Why must the people agree with the laws created by government?

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1. In what way is the Supreme Court similar to early English tribal leaders?

2. What do case law, statutory law and local ordinances have in common?

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

The law in America did not spring out of nothing; the colonists who settled this country brought the law from their homeland with them. This worksheet can be used to assess your knowledge about the history of the law in the United States, including the origin of America's law, how the law developed and was applied and how laws are made.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments you'll be tested on key historical facts about American law, including:

  • The name that identifies the American system of law
  • The highest controlling authority that defines legal terms
  • The kind of law passed by legislatures
  • The source upon which American law is based
  • The name of the compilation of English laws that was the authority at the time of the American Revolution

Skills Practiced

  • Defining key concepts - ensure that you can accurately define main phrases, such as law and English common law
  • Distinguishing differences - compare and contrast topics from the lesson, such as common law, statutory law and case law
  • Making connections - use understanding of the methods by which laws are made
  • Knowledge application - use your knowledge to answer questions about the origin of American law and the historical development of the law in America

Additional Learning

To learn more about how the law was developed in America, review the accompanying lesson about the origins & history of American law. This lesson covers the following objectives:

  • Understand the English common law system and how it evolved
  • Identify the book that contained the compilation of English common law at the time of the American revolution
  • Define American common law and know its origin
  • Differentiate between case law and statutory law
  • Define law and know the case that determined that definition
  • Know the final determining authority who defines the law in America and what legal disputes are considered by this body
  • Understand how statutory law is made