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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In what ways did ‘English liberties and privileges’ circulate through the seventeenth-century English Empire? This essays explores the functions of liberty claims in the extra-English territories of the English king and finds that the language served progressively multiple and overlapping purposes, from allowing overseas emigrants to return home and advertising familiar rights in the new colonies, to serving claims that the colonial legal environment was similar to England’s—and even vice versa. Paying attention to the function of liberty claims across the century also sheds light on how they began to change the meaning of liberty itself: from a royally granted privilege to a right deserved by all subjects.

Keywords: colony, immunities, Jamaica, Maryland, New York, Parliament, Pennsylvania, privileges, Privy Council, Virginia

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