Post Content


Selected Secondary Sources

From January 1, 2019 through January 30, 2019, Massachusetts Law Updates presented a daily series of blog posts showcasing the 30 Articles in the Declaration of Rights in the Massachusetts Constitution.

In addition to the text of the Articles, the posts include precedents that suggest what ideas that may have been in John Adams’ head as he drafted the Articles.  Secondary source literature in journals and books give us clues attempting to identify preceding ideas and laws that inform specific Articles. The blog posts also include following law and quotations, documents and commentary since the Declaration of Rights was written in 1780 that might give us a chance to better understand what the words in the Articles mean.

A selection of the secondary sources used to construct the blog posts follow below.

Bullock, Alexander H. “The Centennial of the Massachusetts Constitution.”  Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society 1, part 2 (December 1881): 189-235.

Fratcher, William F. “The Independence of the Judiciary under the Constitution of 1787.” Missouri Law Review 53, no. 1 (Winter 1988): 1-14.

Freeman, Harrop A., “The Right of Protest and Civil Disobedience.” Indiana Law Journal 41, issue 2 (Winter 1966): 228-254. Available at: .

Friedman, Lawrence, and Lynnea Thody. The Massachusetts State Constitution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Frothingham, Louis Adams. A Brief History of the Constitution and Government of Massachusetts. Cambridge: Harvard University, 1916.

Grinnell, Frank Washburn. “The Constitutional History of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts from the Revolution to 1813.”  Massachusetts Law Quarterly 2, no. 5 (May 1917): 359-552.

Grinnell, Frank Washburn. John Winthrop and the Constitutional Thinking of John Adams. Boston: 1931. From the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 63, no. 12 (February 1930).

Handlin, Oscar, and Mary Handlin, eds. The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.  Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1966.

Heffner, Alexander. “Why John Adams Deserves His Own Washington Monument.” Washington Post, July 3, 2011.

Hennessey, Edward F. “The Extraordinary Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.”  Suffolk University Law Review 14, issue 4 (Summer 1980): 873-886.

Higginson, Stephen A. “A Short History of the Right to Petition Government for the Redress of Grievances.” Yale Law Review 96, issue 1 (1986): 142-166.

Holland, Randy J., ed. Magna Carta: Muse & Mentor. Thomson Reuters, 2014.

Homans, George C. “John Adams and the Constitution of Massachusetts.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 125, no. 4 (August 21, 1981): 286-291.

Magraw, Daniel Barstow, Andrew Martinez, and Roy E. Brownell III. Magna Carta and the Rule of Law. Chicago: ABA Publishing, 2014.

A Manual for the Constitutional Convention 1917. Boston: Wright & Potter, 1917.

Marshall, Margaret H. “John Adams: Lawyer, Absentee Chief Justice, and Author of the Massachusetts Constitution.” Massachusetts Legal History 10 (2004): 27-46.

Peters, Ronald M., Jr. The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780: A Social Compact. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1978.

Rotunda, Ronald D., and J. E. Nowak. Treatise on Constitutional Law. 5th ed. Thomson Reuters, 2012. Chapter 17 “Procedural Due Process” and Chapter 18 “Equal Protection.”

Schwartz, Bernard. The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1971.

Story, Joseph. A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States. Clark, NJ: Lawbook Exchange, 2012. Facsimile of New York: Harper & Bros, 1865 Edition.

“Symposium – The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.” Suffolk University Law Review 14, no. 4 (1980).

“Symposium – The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.” Suffolk University Law Review 44, no. 2 (2011).

Taylor, Robert J., ed. Massachusetts, Colony to Commonwealth: Documents on the Formation of Its Constitution, 1775-1780. Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 1961.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience. New York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2003. On the Duty of Civil Disobedience was originally published as Resistance to Civil Government in 1849.

Tucker, George F. A Manual Relating to the Constitution: A Book of Massachusetts Law. Boston: George B. Reed, 1894.

Washburn, Emory. “The Origins and Sources of the Bill of Rights Declared in the Constitution of Massachusetts.” Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 8 (June 1865): 294-313.

White, G. Edward. Law in American History, Volume 1: From the Colonial Years Through the Civil War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Wilkins, Herbert P. “Non-Fliers in Philadelphia.” Special Constitutional issue, Massachusetts Law Review 72, no. 3 (September 1987): 7-9. See issue for other articles.

Wohl, Alexander. “New Life for Old Liberties– The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights: A State Constitutional Law Case Study.”  New England Law Review 25, no. 1 (Fall 1991): 177-214.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Do Ecosystems Have Standing?  posted on Oct 21

  Ecosystems, such as lakes, valleys, and forests, are treated by the courts, for the most part, in the same way that animals or species are, when it comes to legal standing to sue. (See our recent posts: Do Animals Have Standing? parts 1 & 2)    …Continue Reading Do Ecosystems Have Standing? 

Do Animals Have Standing to Sue? Part 2: Animals filing as individuals posted on Oct 20

Do Animals Have Standing to Sue?  Part 2: Animals filing as individuals

  A dolphin walked up to the bar in Massachusetts, but was told it had no standing. Well, at least legally. A male dolphin named Kama was named as a plaintiff in a case in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts   …Continue Reading Do Animals Have Standing to Sue? Part 2: Animals filing as individuals

Do Animals Have Standing to Sue? Part 1: Animals filing as species. posted on Oct 19

Do Animals Have Standing to Sue?  Part 1: Animals filing as species.

    “[The Palila] wings its way into the federal court as a plaintiff in its own right.”   With these words in 1988, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the 9th Circuit gave hope to animal rights supporters  everywhere that animals could finally sue   …Continue Reading Do Animals Have Standing to Sue? Part 1: Animals filing as species.