Last updated on: 7/23/2013 | Author:

17th Century – Common Law Tradition Prohibits Suicide and Assisted Suicide in the American Colonies

“For over 700 years, the Anglo American common law tradition has punished or otherwise disapproved of both suicide and assisting suicide… For the most part, the early American colonies adopted the common law approach. For example, the legislators of the Providence Plantations, which would later become Rhode Island, declared, in 1647, that ‘[s]elf murder is by all agreed to be the most unnatural, and it is by this present Assembly declared, to be that, wherein he that doth it, kills himself out of a premeditated hatred against his own life or other humor…his goods and chattels are the king’s custom.'”