I was particularly stunned by a comment by birther litigant and frequent Internet commenter David Farrar:
I have no aversion to common law. English common law was never American colonial common law. The English Parliament did not make common law for the American colonies. It was this lack of representation in Parliament that, indeed, lead to the American Revolution.
— David Farrar
— Comment at Augusta Free Press (2015)
Not only is this not true, it is the opposite of the truth. The American Revolution was justified in part by the refusal of the English to allow the Americans the rights that would have been afforded them under the English Common Law. I have known this for some time from my reading on the topic of citizenship. Justice Joseph Story wrote about the expectations Americans had for the English Common Law:
§ 78 … In the charters, under which all these colonies were settled, with a single exception, there is, an express declaration, that all subjects and their children inhabiting therein shall be deemed natural-born subjects, and shall enjoy all the privileges and immunities thereof; and that the laws of England, so far as they are applicable, shall be in force there; and no laws shall be made, which are repugnant to, but as near as may be conveniently, shall conform to the laws of England. Now this declaration, even if the crown previously possessed a right to establish what laws it pleased over the territory, as a conquest from the natives, being a fundamental rule of the original settlement of the colonies, and before the emigrations thither, was conclusive, and could not afterwards be abrogated by the crown. It was an irrevocable annexation of the colonies to the mother country, as dependencies governed by the same laws, and entitled to the same rights.
§ 79. And so has been the uniform doctrine in America ever since the settlement of the colonies. The universal principle (and the practice has conformed to it) has been, that the common law is our birthright and inheritance, and that our ancestors brought hither with them upon their emigration all of it, which was applicable to their situation. The whole structure of our present jurisprudence stands upon the original foundations of the common law.
§ 80. We thus see in a very clear light the mode, in which the common law was first introduced into the colonies; as well as the true reason of the exceptions to it to be found in our colonial usages and laws. It was not introduced, as of original and universal obligation in its utmost latitude; but the limitations contained in the bosom of the common law itself, and indeed constituting a part of the law of nations, were affirmatively settled and recognized in the respective charters of settlement. Thus limited and defined, it has become the guardian of our political and civil rights; it has protected our infant liberties; it has watched over our maturer growth; it has expanded with our wants; it has nurtured that spirit of independence, which checked the first approaches of arbitrary power; it has enabled us to triumph in the midst of difficulties and dangers threatening our political existence; and by the goodness of God, we are now enjoying, under its bold and manly principles, the blessings of a free, independent, and united government.