By David Wolcott, Tom Head

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S. domestic policy controversy, including (and perhaps especially) those controversies that deal with criminal justice. It is still important, however, to note just how young the United States was in 1790. The Bill of Rights was reassuring but completely unenforceable. S. Congress was free to violate—or reinterpret—the Bill of Rights however it chose. None of the Bill of Rights’ provisions were applicable to the states, which were governed only by their own constitutions and rights declarations.

Slave rebellions were not confined to the South, however. In 1712, slaves in New York City murdered nine whites, and in 1741 a series of mysterious fires in New York City prompted rumors of an organized and widespread slave rebellion. In each case, officials arrested and then deported or executed dozens of slaves and suspected accomplices. In each case, the revolts provoked fear among slave owners and prompted new legislation designed to restrict the behavior of slaves and free black people. Moreover, the violent reprisals helped reinforce the power structure upon which slavery was built.

Txt. C H A P T E R T WO A New System of Justice 1700–1789 By the end of the 17th century, England had emerged as the dominant colonial power in North America. 1 The Dutch colonial presence had completely collapsed with the English conquest of New Netherland in 1664, the French outposts in North America met with little success, and the Spanish colonial presence in the Americas, though considerable, was situated primarily in Central and South America. Yet by 1790, the British Empire in North America had essentially been lost.

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