Law and Famous Trials

U.S. Supreme Court

What are blue laws?

The term “blue laws” refers to laws that are intended to enforce moral conduct. They originated in colonial times in Puritan New England and got the name because they were printed on blue paper. Some blue laws prescribed proper conduct for the Sabbath, which included no working, sports, or drinking. The early blue laws of New Haven, Connecticut, were widely publicized in a 1781 book, A General History of Connecticut. The author, Samuel Peters (1735–1826), took some freedoms with the text, however, and even invented a few laws of his own. Since blue laws violate individual freedoms, most of them have been repealed through the years. If a community still has blue laws on its books today, they are not likely to be enforced.


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