The English common law is the basis of the American laws because many laws use it as their foundation. The English common laws refer to series of laws and customs that local English courts made with court ruling when American was still a colony. With the proclamation of independence in 1776, the America state adopted the English common law as a basis for various criminal laws, but the congress did not adopt it (Scheb, 2011). The U.S congress did not adopt the English common law because it had less responsibility in criminal justice and many states in America had adopted the law.
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Nearly all the American states had adopted the English common law reducing the role of the Congress in criminal justice. The English common law had a significant number of provisions that cater for police power, which was necessary in protecting the interest of the public through legislations. However, the Congress did not have the capacity to carry out legislative structures because it had a diminished role in criminal matters. As a result, the states had more power and responsibility in fighting criminal activities than the Congress has. This created a situation where Congress’s adoption of English common law was unnecessary as many American states were effective in using this law to combat crime (Belmas & Overbeck, 2011). Had Congress adopted the English common law, it would have found itself less effective in engaging in matters of criminal justice compared to individual states, which had better capacity to harness the English common law in fighting crime.
With the effectiveness of American states in matters of criminal justice, the U.S Congress did not see a reason to adopt the English common law. This would not benefit the congress as it has limited function in providing states related to criminal justice. Instead, it allowed the American states to exercise their authority using the English common law.