Today, we do not actually study very many of these old cases; occasionally we come across one; however, that is still a significant landmark. But there are now so many thousands of American cases to choose from that the casebook editor usually opts for cases that give a more modern flavor to the work. Our American cases are sometimes referred to as American common law.
One thing to keep in mind for when you may be writing a legal argument is that it is always proper to cite one of these old English cases, either for direct application of its principle, for use in analogical reasoning, or for historical enhancement of your position. American common law includes all of the law of England (constitutional, statutory and common) in existence immediately before July 4, 1776, when our Declaration of Independence was signed. Today, many common law principles, both English and American, have been enacted into topically organized statutes known as codes. And many states have express statutes providing that there are no common law crimes in those states.
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