John Hancock was an American merchant and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Second Continental Congress and was the first and third Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that the term "John Hancock" has become a synonym in the United States for one's signature. Before the American Revolution, Hancock was one of the wealthiest men in the Thirteen Colonies, having inherited a profitable mercantile business from his uncle, he began his political career in Boston as a protégé of Samuel Adams, an influential local politician, though the two men became estranged. Hancock used his wealth to support the colonial cause as tensions increased between colonists and Great Britain in the 1760s, he became popular in Massachusetts after British officials seized his sloop Liberty in 1768 and charged him with smuggling. Those charges were dropped. Hancock was one of Boston's leaders during the crisis that led to the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War in 1775.
He served more than two years in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, he was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence in his position as president of Congress. He returned to Massachusetts and was elected governor of the Commonwealth, serving in that role for most of his remaining years, he used his influence to ensure that Massachusetts ratified the United States Constitution in 1788. John Hancock was born on January 23, 1737 in Braintree, Massachusetts in a part of town that became the separate city of Quincy, he was the son of Col. John Hancock Jr. of Braintree and Mary Hawke Thaxter, from nearby Hingham. As a child, Hancock became a casual acquaintance of young John Adams, whom the Reverend Hancock had baptized in 1735; the Hancocks lived a comfortable life, owned one slave to help with household work. After Hancock's father died in 1744, John was sent to live with his uncle and aunt, Thomas Hancock and Lydia Hancock. Thomas Hancock was the proprietor of a firm known as the House of Hancock, which imported manufactured goods from Britain and exported rum, whale oil, fish.
Thomas Hancock's successful business made him one of Boston's richest and best-known residents. He and Lydia, along with several slaves, lived in Hancock Manor on Beacon Hill; the couple, who did not have any children of their own, became the dominant influence on John's life. After graduating from the Boston Latin School in 1750, Hancock enrolled in Harvard College and received a bachelor's degree in 1754. Upon graduation, he began to work for his uncle, just as the Indian War had begun. Thomas Hancock had close relations with the royal governors of Massachusetts and secured profitable government contracts during the war. John Hancock learned much about his uncle's business during these years and was trained for eventual partnership in the firm. Hancock worked hard, but he enjoyed playing the role of a wealthy aristocrat and developed a fondness for expensive clothes. From 1760 to 1761, Hancock lived in England while building relationships with customers and suppliers. Upon returning to Boston, Hancock took over the House of Hancock as his uncle's health failed, becoming a full partner in January 1763.
He became a member of the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew in October 1762, which connected him with many of Boston's most influential citizens; when Thomas Hancock died in August 1764, John inherited the business, Hancock Manor, two or three household slaves, thousands of acres of land, becoming one of the wealthiest men in the colonies. The household slaves continued to work for John and his aunt, but were freed through the terms of Thomas Hancock's will. After its victory in the Seven Years' War, the British Empire was in debt. Looking for new sources of revenue, the British Parliament sought, for the first time, to directly tax the colonies, beginning with the Sugar Act of 1764; the earlier Molasses Act of 1733, a tax on shipments from the West Indies, had produced hardly any revenue because it was bypassed by smuggling, seen as a victimless crime. Not only was there little social stigma attached to smuggling in the colonies, but in port cities, where trade was the primary generator of wealth, smuggling enjoyed considerable community support, it was possible to obtain insurance against being caught.
Colonial merchants developed an impressive repertoire of evasive maneuvers to conceal the origin, nationality and content of their illicit cargoes. This included the frequent use of fraudulent paperwork to make the cargo appear legal and authorised, and much to the frustration of the British authorities, when seizures did happen local merchants were able to use sympathetic provincial courts to reclaim confiscated goods and have their cases dismissed. For instance, Edward Randolph, the appointed head of customs in New England, brought 36 seizures to trial from 1680 to the end of 1682 – and all but two of these were acquitted. Alternatively merchants sometimes took matters into their own hands and stole illicit goods back while impounded; the Sugar Act provoked outrage in Boston, where it was viewed as a violation of colonial rights. Men such as James Otis and Samuel Adams argued that because the colonists were not represented in Parliament, they could not be taxed by that body.
George Wythe was the first American law professor, a noted classics scholar, a Virginia judge. The first of the seven Virginia signatories of the United States Declaration of Independence, Wythe served as one of Virginia's representatives to the Continental Congress and the Philadelphia Convention. Wythe taught and was a mentor to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, Henry Clay and other men who became American leaders. Born into a wealthy Virginia planter family, Wythe established a legal career in Williamsburg, Virginia after studying under his uncle, he became a member of the House of Burgesses in 1754 and helped oversee defense expenditures during the French and Indian War. He opposed other British taxes imposed on the Thirteen Colonies, he became alienated from British rule, represented Virginia in the Second Continental Congress, where he signed the Declaration of Independence. He was a delegate to Virginia's 1776 constitutional convention and helped design the Seal of Virginia. Wythe was a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention and served on a committee that established the convention's rules and procedures.
He left the convention before signing the United States Constitution to tend to his dying wife. He was elected to the Virginia Ratifying Convention and helped ensure that his home state ratified the Constitution. Wythe served as a judge for much of his life, first as a justice of the peace and on the Virginia Court of Chancery, he was a prominent law professor at the College of William & Mary and took on several notable apprentices. He remained close to Jefferson, left Jefferson his substantial book collection in his will. Wythe became troubled by slavery in his years and emancipated 4 of his slaves before his death. After Wythe's death in 1806, his grand-nephew was acquitted for Wythe's murder. Wythe was born in 1726 at Chesterville, the plantation operated by three generations of the Wythe family in what was Elizabeth City County but is now Hampton, Virginia, his maternal great-grandfather was George Keith, a Quaker minister and early opponent of African slavery, who returned to the Church of England but was sent back as a missionary to the East Coast before returning to England.
His mother, Margaret Walker of Kecoughtan, a learned woman raised as a Quaker, instilled a love of learning in her son. In his years, Wythe became known for his outdated Quaker dress, as well as his gentle manner, which could cause a surly dog to "unbend and wag his tail." After the early death of his father, Wythe attended grammar school in Williamsburg before beginning legal training in the office of his uncle, Stephen Dewey, in Prince George County. Wythe was admitted to the bar in Elizabeth City County in 1746, the same year in which his mother died, he moved to Spotsylvania County to begin legal practice in several Piedmont counties. He soon married the daughter of Zachary Lewis. However, Ann Wythe died on August 10, 1748, about eight months after their Christmas season marriage; the childless and bereaved widower soon returned to Williamsburg. There, Wythe made law and scholarship his life, as he began what would become a distinguished career in public service, his motto was "Secundis dubiisque rectus", translated as "Upright in prosperity and perils."
In October 1748, family connections helped Wythe secure his first government job, as clerk to two powerful committees of the House of Burgesses and Elections and Propositions and Grievances. Wythe continued to practice law before those committees and the General Court in Williamsburg, as was permitted at the time. In 1750, Wythe was first elected as one of Williamsburg's aldermen. Wythe briefly served as the king's attorney general in 1754–1755, appointed by lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie while Peyton Randolph traveled to London on the burgesses' behalf to appeal Dinwiddie's charging a one pistole fee to affix an official seal to land patents. Wythe resigned. Lieutenant governor Robert Dinwiddie returned to England less than three years after Peyton Randolph's return. Meanwhile, Wythe began his legislative career. In the session of August 22, 1754, Wythe replaced the deceased Armistead Burwell as the burgess representing Williamsburg. In 1755, Wythe's elder brother, died, childless. Wythe inherited the family's Chesterville plantation, was soon appointed to his brother's place on the Elizabeth City County court.
However, Wythe continued to live in Williamsburg, for his legislative work continued, he married Elizabeth Taliaferro. Her father, planter Richard Taliaferro, built a house for them in Williamsburg, still called the George Wythe House though Wythe only had a life estate in the property after Taliaferro's death. Wythe served as Williamsburg's delegate through the sessions of 1754 and 1755. During that gap, Wythe was reappointed clerk to the committees on Privileges and Elections and Propositions and Grievances, as well as to the Committee for Courts of Justice, in 1759 to the Committee of Correspondence. In 1759, The College of William and Mary elected Wythe as its burgess to replace Peyton Randolph, reelected Wythe in 1760 and 1761. Wythe helped oversee defense expenditures related to the French and Indian War, with Richard Henry Lee retirement of the paper money issued to fund the war, which became a scandal in 1766, as discussed below. For the Assemblies of 1761, 1765 and 1767, Wythe was
United States Reports
The United States Reports are the official record of the rulings, case tables, in alphabetical order both by the name of the petitioner and by the name of the respondent, other proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States. United States Reports, once printed and bound, are the final version of court opinions and cannot be changed. Opinions of the court in each case are prepended with a headnote prepared by the Reporter of Decisions, any concurring or dissenting opinions are published sequentially; the Court's Publication Office oversees the binding and publication of the volumes of United States Reports, although the actual printing and publication are performed by private firms under contract with the United States Government Publishing Office. For lawyers, citations to United States Reports are the standard reference for Supreme Court decisions. Following The Bluebook, a accepted citation protocol, the case Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, for example, would be cited as: Brown v. Bd. of Educ.
347 U. S. 483. This citation indicates that the decision of the Court in the case entitled Brown v. Board of Education, as abbreviated in Bluebook style, was decided in 1954 and can be found in volume 347 of the United States Reports starting on page 483; the early volumes of the United States Reports were published by the individual Supreme Court Reporters. As was the practice in England, the reports were designated by the names of the reporters who compiled them: Dallas's Reports, Cranch's Reports, etc; the decisions appearing in the entire first volume and most of the second volume of United States Reports are not decisions of the United States Supreme Court. Instead, they are decisions from various Pennsylvania courts, dating from the colonial period and the first decade after Independence. Alexander Dallas, a lawyer and journalist, of Philadelphia, had been in the business of reporting these cases for newspapers and periodicals, he subsequently began compiling his case reports in a bound volume, which he called Reports of cases ruled and adjudged in the courts of Pennsylvania and since the Revolution.
This would come to be known as the first volume of Dallas Reports. When the United States Supreme Court, along with the rest of the new Federal Government moved, in 1791, from New York City to the nation's temporary capital in Philadelphia, Dallas was appointed the Supreme Court's first unofficial, unpaid, Supreme Court Reporter. Dallas continued to publish Pennsylvania decisions in a second volume of his Reports; when the Supreme Court began hearing cases, he added those cases to his reports, starting towards the end of the second volume, 2 Dallas Reports, with West v. Barnes. Dallas went on to publish a total of four volumes of decisions during his tenure as Reporter; when the Supreme Court moved to Washington, D. C. in 1800, Dallas remained in Philadelphia, William Cranch took over as unofficial reporter of decisions. In 1817, Congress made the Reporter of Decisions an official, salaried position, although the publication of the Reports remained a private enterprise for the reporter's personal gain.
The reports themselves were the subject of an early copyright case, Wheaton v. Peters, in which former reporter Henry Wheaton sued current reporter Richard Peters for reprinting cases from Wheaton's Reports in abridged form. In 1874, the U. S. government began creating the United States Reports. The earlier, private reports were retroactively numbered volumes 1–90 of the United States Reports, starting from the first volume of Dallas Reports. Therefore, decisions appearing in these early reports have dual citation forms: one for the volume number of the United States Reports. For example, the complete citation to McCulloch v. Maryland is 17 U. S. 316. Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States Lists of United States Supreme Court cases by volume National Reporter System United States Supreme Court: Information About Opinions United States Supreme Court: Bound Volumes – Lists of PDFs Torrents of United States Reports 502–550
International law is the set of rules regarded and accepted in relations between nations. It serves as a framework for the practice of stable and organized international relations. International law differs from state-based legal systems in that it is applicable to countries rather than to individual citizens. National law may become international law when treaties permit national jurisdiction to supranational tribunals such as the European Court of Human Rights or the International Criminal Court. Treaties such as the Geneva Conventions may require national law to conform to respective parts. National laws or constitutions may provide for the implementation or integration of international legal obligations. International law is consent-based governance, as there is no means of enforcement in a world dominated by sovereign states; this means that a state may choose to not abide by international law, to break its treaty. However, violations of customary international law and peremptory norms can lead to military action or other forms of coercion, such as diplomatic pressure or economic sanctions.
The current order of international law, the equality of sovereignty between nations, was formed through the conclusion of the "Peace of Westphalia" in 1648. Prior to 1648, on the basis of the purpose of war or the legitimacy of war, it sought to distinguish whether the war was a "just war" or not; this theory of power interruptions can be found in the writings of the Roman Cicero and the writings of St. Augustine. According to the theory of armistice, the nation that caused unwarranted war could not enjoy the right to obtain or conquer trophies that were legitimate at the time The 17th, 18th and 19th centuries saw the growth of the concept of the sovereign "nation-state", which consisted of a nation controlled by a centralised system of government; the concept of nationalism became important as people began to see themselves as citizens of a particular nation with a distinct national identity. Until the mid-19th century, relations between nation-states were dictated by treaty, agreements to behave in a certain way towards another state, unenforceable except by force, not binding except as matters of honor and faithfulness.
But treaties alone became toothless and wars became destructive, most markedly towards civilians, who decried their horrors, leading to calls for regulation of the acts of states in times of war. The modern study of international law starts in the early 19th century, but its origins go back at least to the 16th century, Alberico Gentili, Francisco de Vitoria and Hugo Grotius, the "fathers of international law." Several legal systems developed in Europe, including the codified systems of continental European states and English common law, based on decisions by judges and not by written codes. Other areas developed differing legal systems, with the Chinese legal tradition dating back more than four thousand years, although at the end of the 19th century, there was still no written code for civil proceedings. One of the first instruments of modern international law was the Lieber Code, passed in 1863 by the Congress of the United States, to govern the conduct of US forces during the United States Civil War and considered to be the first written recitation of the rules and articles of war, adhered to by all civilised nations, the precursor of international law.
This led to the first prosecution for war crimes—in the case of United States prisoners of war held in cruel and depraved conditions at Andersonville, Georgia, in which the Confederate commandant of that camp was tried and hanged, the only Confederate soldier to be punished by death in the aftermath of the entire Civil War. In the years that followed, other states subscribed to limitations of their conduct, numerous other treaties and bodies were created to regulate the conduct of states towards one another in terms of these treaties, but not limited to, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 1899; because international law is a new area of law its development and propriety in applicable areas are subject to dispute. Under article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice, international law has three principal sources: international treaties and general principles of law. In addition, judicial decisions and teachings may be applied as "subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law", International treaty law comprises obligations states expressly and voluntarily accept between themselves in treaties.
Customary international law is derived from the consistent practice of States accompanied by opinio juris, i.e. the conviction of States that the consistent practice is required by a legal obligation. Judgments of international tribunals as well as scholarly works have traditionally been looked to as persuasive sources for custom in addition to direct evidence of state behavior. Attempts to codify customary international law picked up momentum after the Second World War with the formation of the International Law Commission, under the aegis of the United Nations. Codified customary law is made the binding interpretation of the underlying custom by agreement through treaty. For states not party to such treaties, the work of the ILC may still be accepted as custom applying to those states. General principles of law are those recognized by the major legal systems of the world. Certain norms of international law achieve the binding force of peremptory norms as to include all states with no permissible derogations.
Colombia v Perú I
Letter of marque
A letter of marque and reprisal was a government license in the Age of Sail that authorized a private person, known as a privateer or corsair, to attack and capture vessels of a nation at war with the issuer. Once captured, the privateer could bring the case of that prize before their own admiralty court for condemnation and transfer of ownership to the privateer. A letter of marque and reprisal would include permission to cross an international border to effect a reprisal and was authorized by an issuing jurisdiction to conduct reprisal operations outside its borders. Popular among Europeans from the late Middle Ages up to the 19th century, cruising for enemy prizes with a letter of marque was considered an honorable calling that combined patriotism and profit; such privateering contrasted with attacks and captures of random ships, unlicensed and known as piracy. In reality, the differences between privateers and pirates were at best subtle, at worst more a matter of interpretation. In addition to the meaning of the license itself, the terms letter of marque and privateer were sometimes used to describe the vessels used to pursue and capture prizes.
In this context, a letter of marque was a lumbering, square-rigged cargo carrier that might pick up a prize if the opportunity arose in its normal course of duties. In contrast, the term privateer referred to a fast and weatherly fore-and-aft rigged vessel armed and crewed, intended for fighting. Marque derives from the Old English mearc, from the Germanic *mark-, which means boundary, or boundary marker, derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *merǵ-, meaning boundary, or border; the French marque is from the Provençal language marca, from marcar Provençal, seize as a pledge. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded use of "letters of marque and reprisal" was in an English statute in 1354 during the reign of Edward III; the phrase referred to "a licene granted by a sovereign to a subject, authorizing him to make reprisals on the subjects of a hostile state for injuries alleged to have been done to him by the enemy's army." During the Middle Ages, armed private vessels enjoying their sovereign's tacit consent, if not always an explicit formal commission raided shipping of other nations, as in the case of Francis Drake's attacks on Spanish shipping, of which Elizabeth I took a share.
Grotius's 1604 seminal work on international law, De Iure Praedae, was an advocate's brief defending Dutch raids on Spanish and Portuguese shipping. King Henry III of England first issued what became known as privateering commissions in 1243; these early licences were granted to specific individuals to seize the king’s enemies at sea in return for splitting the proceeds between the privateers and The Crown. The letter of marque and reprisal first arose in 1295, 50 years after wartime privateer licenses were first issued. According to Grotius, letters of marque and reprisal were akin to a "private war", a concept alien to modern sensibilities but related to an age when the ocean was lawless and all merchant vessels sailed armed for self-defense. A reprisal involved seeking the sovereign's permission to exact private retribution against some foreign prince or subject; the earliest instance of a licensed reprisal recorded in England was in the year 1295 under the reign of Edward I. The notion of reprisal, behind it that just war involved avenging a wrong, clung to the letter of marque until 1620 in England, in that to apply for one a shipowner had to submit to the Admiralty Court an estimate of actual losses.
Licensing privateers during wartime became widespread in Europe by the 16th Century, when most countries began to enact laws regulating the granting of letters of marque and reprisal. Business could be profitable. Although privateering commissions and letters of marque were distinct legal concepts, such distinctions became purely technical by the eighteenth century; the United States Constitution, for instance, states that "The Congress shall have Power To... grant Letters of marque and reprisal...", without separately addressing privateer commissions. During the American War of Independence, Napoleonic Wars, the War of 1812, it was common to distinguish verbally between privateers on the one hand, armed merchantmen, which were referred to as "letters of marque", on the other, though both received the same commission; the Sir John Sherbrooke was a privateer. The East India Company arranged for letters of marque for its East Indiamen such as the Lord Nelson, not so that they could carry cannons to fend off warships and pirates on their voyages to India and China—that they could do without permission—but so that, should they have the opportunity to take a prize, they could do so without being guilty of piracy.
The Earl of Mornington, an East India Company packet ship of only six guns, too carried a letter of marque. In July 1793, the East Indiamen Royal Charlotte and Warley participated in the capture of Pondichéry by maintaining a blockade of the port. Afterwards, as
William Paca was a signatory to the United States Declaration of Independence as a representative of Maryland, Governor of Maryland and a United States federal judge. Paca was born in Abingdon, in what was Baltimore County, in the British colony of Maryland, he was the child of John Paca, a wealthy planter in the area, his wife Elizabeth Smith. He was the second son of the family, after his elder brother Aquila, had five sisters; the brothers entered school at the Philadelphia Academy and Charity School in 1752, the younger Paca went on to attend the College of Philadelphia, graduating in 1759 with a bachelor of arts degree. He was to receive a master of arts degree from the college in 1762, though this required no further study, only that Paca request it and be in good standing. After graduating from college, Paca returned to Maryland, reading law in the colonial capital of Annapolis under the tutelage of a local lawyer named Stephen Bordley. By 1761, he was licensed to practice law, in 1764 was admitted to the provincial bar, having stayed in Annapolis to establish his practice.
Professional success was mingled with personal success, as the previous year he had courted Mary Chew, the daughter of a prominent Maryland planter, they were married on May 26, 1763. They had three children, though only their son. Among the other young lawyers in Annapolis at the time was Samuel Chase, who became a close friend and political colleague of Paca. Paca and Chase led local opposition to the British Stamp Act of 1765 and established the Anne Arundel County chapter of the Sons of Liberty. Paca was elected to the Maryland legislature in 1771 and appointed to the Continental Congress in 1774, he was reelected, when he became chief justice of the state of Maryland. In 1780, he was elected to serve as a federal judge on the Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture. In 1782 he was elected governor of Maryland. On December 22, 1789, Paca received a recess appointment from President George Washington to a seat on the newly created United States District Court for the District of Maryland, created by 1 Stat. 73.
Formally nominated on February 8, 1790, he was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 10, 1790, received his commission the same day, serving until his death. Paca's career on the federal bench had a significant impact on the admiralty jurisdiction of the Federal courts and what was to become the principal business of the Supreme Court over the subsequent four decades; as the first Federal judge for the District Court of Maryland he rendered an opinion on the case of Betsey that had far reaching consequences when it was overturned by the Supreme Court. In that case Paca argued on solid precedents of international and British law that the District Court did not have jurisdiction over the awarding of prizes brought into American ports by foreign privateers; the Supreme Court asserted otherwise in seriatum opinions and established an exclusive jurisdiction over prize cases vested in the Federal District Courts that took that privilege away from what had been the responsibility of foreign consulates.
Paca's opinion was the first District Court opinion to be published, although reversed, it provides insight into the extensive legal training of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and an author/compiler of several provisions of what became the Bill of Rights. Paca died in 1799 at his estate of Wye River in Queen Anne's County and was buried in the family cemetery there. In Maryland, three elementary schools are named for him: one in Landover, one in Baltimore city and the other in his home town of Abingdon. A prominent street in Downtown Baltimore bears his name, as does a dormitory on the campus of St. John's College in Annapolis as well as one on the campus of Towson University. Outside of Maryland, a Middle School in Mastic Beach, New York and P. S. 155 in New York City are named after him. In August 2008 the House was added as a new residence hall in Towson University, his Annapolis home, the Paca House and Garden, was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1971.
The William Paca Club in New Providence, New Jersey is named in his honor. The Club cites the fact that Paca was the only Italian-American to sign the Declaration of Independence as the reason for bestowing him this honor. Paca-Carroll House at St. John's College is named for Carroll and his fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, William Paca. Paca has been described as being of Italian ancestry. According to Stanley South, "he rumor that the name was Italian came from a remark made in 1911 by James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, who commented that he thought a relationship existed between Paca and the Italian family Pecci". In a July 18, 1937, letter to the New York Times, a self-described descendant of Paca claimed: The ancestors of William Paca were of Italian and English origin; the name is said to have been spelled Pacci. However, in an interview with Giovanni Schiavo, the letter writer attributed the suggestion that the name was Pecci to Cardinal Gibbons. Schiavo reported that Paca mentioned Pope Leo XIII, whose surname was Pecci, during the interview.
Stiverson and Jacobsen reported that spellings of the surname of William Paca's immigrant ancestor Robert include Peaker, Peaca and Paka. Neither "Pecci" nor "Pacci" are attested, but that could be attributed to the fact that the Italian spelling of the name would have sim
Massachusetts the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, New York to the west; the state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of Massachusetts's population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history and industry. Dependent on agriculture and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, higher education and maritime trade. Plymouth was the site of the second colony in New England after Popham Colony in 1607 in what is now Maine.
Plymouth was founded in 1620 by passengers of the Mayflower. In 1692, the town of Salem and surrounding areas experienced one of America's most infamous cases of mass hysteria, the Salem witch trials. In 1777, General Henry Knox founded the Springfield Armory, which during the Industrial Revolution catalyzed numerous important technological advances, including interchangeable parts. In 1786, Shays' Rebellion, a populist revolt led by disaffected American Revolutionary War veterans, influenced the United States Constitutional Convention. In the 18th century, the Protestant First Great Awakening, which swept the Atlantic World, originated from the pulpit of Northampton preacher Jonathan Edwards. In the late 18th century, Boston became known as the "Cradle of Liberty" for the agitation there that led to the American Revolution; the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts has played a powerful commercial and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements.
In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first U. S. state to recognize same-sex marriage as a result of the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Many prominent American political dynasties have hailed from the state, including the Adams and Kennedy families. Harvard University in Cambridge is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, with the largest financial endowment of any university, Harvard Law School has educated a contemporaneous majority of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Kendall Square in Cambridge has been called "the most innovative square mile on the planet", in reference to the high concentration of entrepreneurial start-ups and quality of innovation which have emerged in the vicinity of the square since 2010. Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, have been ranked among the most regarded academic institutions in the world.
Massachusetts' public-school students place among the top tier in the world in academic performance, the state has been ranked as one of the top states in the United States for citizens to live in, as well as one of the most expensive. The Massachusetts Bay Colony was named after the indigenous population, the Massachusett derived from a Wôpanâak word muswach8sut, segmented as mus "big" + wach8 "mountain" + -s "diminutive" + -ut "locative", it has been translated as "near the great hill", "by the blue hills", "at the little big hill", or "at the range of hills", referring to the Blue Hills, or in particular the Great Blue Hill, located on the boundary of Milton and Canton. Alternatively, Massachusett has been represented as Moswetuset—from the name of the Moswetuset Hummock in Quincy, where Plymouth Colony commander Myles Standish, hired English military officer, Squanto, part of the now disappeared Patuxet band of the Wampanoag peoples, met Chief Chickatawbut in 1621; the official name of the state is the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts".
While this designation is part of the state's official name, it has no practical implications. Massachusetts has powers within the United States as other states, it may have been chosen by John Adams for the second draft of the Massachusetts Constitution because unlike the word "state", "commonwealth" at the time had the connotation of a republic, in contrast to the monarchy the former American colonies were fighting against. Massachusetts was inhabited by tribes of the Algonquian language family such as the Wampanoag, Nipmuc, Pocomtuc and Massachusett. While cultivation of crops like squash and corn supplemented their diets, these tribes were dependent on hunting and fishing for most of their food. Villages consisted of lodges called wigwams as well as longhouses, tribes were led by male or female elders known as sachems. In the early 1600s, after contact had been made with Europeans, large numbers of the indigenous peoples in the northeast of what is now the United States were killed by virgin soil epidemics such as smallpox, measles and leptospirosis.
Between 1617 and 1619, smallpox killed ap