Various Influences on the American Legal System

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Just as the differences between America and England caused their common-law systems to develop differently, each state's legal system reflects its unique features, such as its history and geography. For example, the water laws of the arid western states differ dramatically from those of states where water usually is plentiful. One of the most influential circumstances in the development of a state's legal system has been the traditions of its inhabitants. As the United States grew beyond the original thirteen colonies, it extended into areas settled by people from countries that followed the civil law system, rather than the common-law system. For example, the western states' legal systems have been influenced by the Spanish civil law tradition.
Various Influences on the American Legal System

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The most notable example of the civil law influence in America is the State of Louisiana. During most of the eighteenth century, the land that became Louisiana was controlled first by the French and then by the Spanish. During their periods of control, each of these civil law countries imposed their laws. Shortly after Spain transferred the land back to France, the United States acquired it as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Although the American government pressed Louisiana to adopt the common-law system, it refused to do so.

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