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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8


This note contained in document ADMS-06-08-02-0161-0002
10. The words “and season” were added after “manner,” a change that perhaps made Sundays less exclusively the major day for worship. The use of the term “subject” here and in Arts. III, XI, XII, and XIV is unique to the Massachusetts declaration. Other bills of rights use “man,” “person,” or “freeman” everywhere. It may be that “subject” was an inadvertent retention of old usage. Before the Revolution all Americans were subjects of the crown, that is, owed allegiance to the king of Great Britain. The term lingered on and came to mean a person subject to the laws as distinct from a citizen, who enjoyed political rights. But this distinction seems not to have been made by JA, for in Art. X he uses the term “individual” and in Arts. XV and XXVI, “man.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/