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For the men and women of colonial America, Peter Hoffer explains, law was a pervasive influence in everyday life. Due to the fact that it was their law, the colonists adapted it to fit changing circumstances. They also developed a sense of legalism that influenced virtually all social, economic, and political relationships. This sense of intimacy with the law, Hoffer argues, assumed a transforming power in times of crisis. In the midst of a war of independence, American revolutionaries laboured to explain how their rebellion could be lawful, while legislators wrote republican constitutions that would endure for centuries. Updated to take account of recent scholarship, this revised edition also offers a look at the legal experiences of American indians, the French, and the Spanish as people on the edges of English settlement.