blue laws


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blue laws,

legislation regulating public and private conduct, especially laws relating to Sabbath observance. The term was originally applied to the 17th-century laws of the theocratic New Haven colony, and appears to originate in A General History of Connecticut (London, 1781), by the Loyalist Anglican clergyman Samuel A. Peters, who had lived in Hebron, Conn. New Haven and other Puritan colonies of New England had rigid laws prohibiting Sabbath breaking, breaches in family discipline, drunkenness, and excesses in dress. Although such legislation had its origins in European SabbatarianSabbatarians,
persons who insist upon strict observance of Sunday as the Sabbath. Societies promoting Sabbatarian objectives include the Lord's Day Alliance of the United States and the Lord's Day Observance Society in England.
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 and sumptuary lawssumptuary laws
, regulations based on social, religious, or moral grounds directed against overindulgence of luxury in diet and drink and extravagance in dress and mode of living.
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, the term "blue laws" is usually applied only to American legislation. With the dissolution of the Puritan theocracies after the American Revolution, blue laws declined; many of them lay forgotten in state statute books only to be revived much later. The growth of the prohibitionprohibition,
legal prevention of the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages, the extreme of the regulatory liquor laws. The modern movement for prohibition had its main growth in the United States and developed largely as a result of the agitation of
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 movement in the 19th cent. and early 20th cent. brought with it other laws regulating private conduct. Many states forbade the sale of cigarettes, and laws prohibited secular amusements as well as all unnecessary work on Sunday; provision was made for strict local censorship of books, plays, films and other means of instruction and entertainment. Although much of this legislation has been softened if not repealed, there are still many areas and communities in the United States, especially those where religious fundamentalism is strong, that retain blue laws. The Supreme Court has upheld Sunday closing laws ruling that such laws do not interfere with the free exercise of religion and do not constitute the establishment of a state religion.

blue laws

restrict personal action to improve community morality. [Am. Hist.: Hart, 87]
References in periodicals archive ?
Rather, public policies such as the Blue Laws emerge because a moral constituency (the Baptists) and a financial constituency (the bootleggers) come together in support of the same policies.
First, due to Passon's earlier efforts and the influence of Connie Mack, the Pennsylvania legislature opened the Sunday blue laws to the possibility of playing games on Sunday afternoons and charging admission without fear of arrest or having to pay bribes.
Hammond Trumbull's Blue Laws, True and False, Leigh Hunt's The Town and Timbs's Curiosities of London, among others.
Rohdieck is proud of his community's success and ability to compete with destinations like Las Vegas, especially when the blue laws are factored into the equation.
The repeal of blue laws decreases the relative probability of being at least "pretty happy" relative to "not happy" by about 17 percent.
Because of the existence of blue laws, Pennsylvania remained a difficult place for Sabbath-keepers into the twentieth century, and legal action continued to be brought against those who attempted to work on Sunday.
Scher, whose career spanned over 41 years, was recognized for such efforts as pushing the repeal of blue laws in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.
It is an interesting "read," but requires a bit of work, not because it is particularly profound, but because it is full of delightful tidbits, such as French fries were invented in Belgium and America's Blue Laws once forbade mothers to kiss their children on Sunday.
They find that repealing blue laws leads to an increase in drinking and drug use, and that this increase is found only among the initially religious individuals who were affected by the blue laws.
It's only been two years since Pennsylvania joined a national trend toward liberalization of blue laws when it began selling wine and liquor at selected state-owned stores on Sundays, one of 13 states to enact such changes since 2002.
Blue laws have slowed development and the influx of service jobs into northeast Georgia, leaving agriculture, mostly poultry farming, the linchpin of the local economy.