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Credit NationProperty Laws and Institutions in Early America$
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Claire Priest

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158761

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158761.001.0001

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English Property Law, the Claims of Creditors, and the Colonial Legal Transformation

English Property Law, the Claims of Creditors, and the Colonial Legal Transformation

Chapter:
(p.59) 3 English Property Law, the Claims of Creditors, and the Colonial Legal Transformation
Source:
Credit Nation
Author(s):

Claire Priest

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691158761.003.0004

This chapter examines the legal doctrines relating to credit markets and commodification, looking at the issue of assets the legal system protected from the claims of creditors. It describes how colonial legislatures reformed English law to expand the scope of creditors' remedies against land and slaves. The chapter then considers the way that, prior to 1732, colonial legislatures used debtor–creditor law strategically to advance local interests vis-à-vis English creditors. Colonial legislatures were also responsible for creating the law of slavery, a foreign concept to English law. Laws were enacted throughout the colonial era defining slaves variously as “real estate” or “chattel” to achieve alternate ends.

Keywords:   credit markets, commodification, creditors, colonial legislatures, English property law, English creditors, law of slavery, colonial America

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