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For the men and women of colonial America, Peter Hoffer explains, law was a pervasive influence in everyday life. Because it was ""their"" law, the colonists continually 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 for independence, American revolutionaries laboured to explain how their rebellion could be lawful, while legislators wrote republican constitutions that would endure for centuries.;Fully updated to take account of recent scholarship, this revised edition also offers a fresh look at the legal experiences of American Indians, the French and the Spanish as people on the edges of English settlement.