All your Writing needs covered

The Common Law Background of the Fourth Amendment

Calculate the price
your order:

275 words
Approximate price
$ 0.00

The Common Law Background of the Fourth Amendment

Privacy is a human right and the Fourth Amendment affirms this right by protecting the right of the people against searches and seizures that infringe upon their privacy. “Every man’s house is his castle” (Fourth Amendment, n.d., History and Scope of the Amendment, para. 1). This was a maxim that was celebrated in England and shows that one had a right to protect their house in opposition to illegal intrusion. The purpose of this paper is to define and examine the common law background of the Fourth Amendment.

Cut 15% OFF your first order
We’ll deliver a custom Law paper tailored to your requirements with a good discount
Use discount
322 specialists online

The common law originated in England. It is also known as “judge-declared law” (Duhaime, n.d. para. 1). The law applies to specific people according to their customs. Thus, the common law developed according to the traditions of Britain. Many countries including American developed their laws from England’s common law. The fourth amendment has its origin in the common law. The Fourth Amendment originated from the English common law during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It developed because of the experience with England its former colonizer (Fourth Amendment, n.d.). The amendment arose following a public outcry in reaction to three cases in one decided in the colony and two in England. The cases decided in England involved two pairs. “Wilkes v. Wood, 19 Howell’s State Trials 1153 (C.P. 1763), and Entick v. Carrington, 19 Howell’s State Trials 1029 (C.P. 1765)” (Search and Seizure, 2010, para. 2). The cases involved some pamphleteers who had been accused of seditious libel. They had criticized the ministers of the king and thus the king himself. Therefore, warrants of the search were issued by the king’s agents, and the pamphleteers’ homes were ransacked. During the search, all their papers and books were seized. (During this period kings’ agents could issue warrants while in the American warrants can only be issued by a magistrate or judge after the review of an application from a police officer). The pair sued for damages that resulted from the search and for void warrants as they claimed they were illegal. They won the two cases after the decision of Judge Lord Camden.

To stamp out illegal smuggling of goods in Britain inspectors were given blanket search warrants that allowed them to search any place they suspected could have illegal goods. This was done using the Writs of Assistance Case. Furthermore, citizens could be compelled to aid in the searches consequently the name of the writ. A number of traders from Boston were subjected to this search warrant and they sued to seek a holding for the illegality of the search. They lost the case but this led to strong opposition against the British rule (Search and Seizure, 2010).

Many historians are of the opinion that the Fourth Amendment was written to assert the ruling in the Entick and Wilkes case and challenge the ruling in the Writs of Assistance Case. Three principles thus arise. One, the government should have a substantial justification before issuing a search warrant. This would prevent unreasonable searches and seizures (Fourth Amendment, n.d.). Second, the searches should have a limit for their justification because in Entick and Wilkes’s case their books and papers were seized yet they were legal. Third, the use of a blanket search should be avoided. This was a problem as the government used blanket warrants to search and thus did not protect the citizens against overreaching by the police. Moreover, in the three cases, the warrants were not issued to investigate a crime rather on mere suspension without a reasonable cause.

Finally, we can say that the Fourth Amendment was designed to reign on the police to prevent them from infringing on the privacy of citizens unnecessarily. The Fourth Amendment has gone through many structuring to date to ensure that the rights of citizens are protected and the police are able to do their work without hindrances in the fight against crime.


Duhaime, L (n.d.). Common-Law. 2010, Web.

Fourth Amendment- search and seizure. (n.d.). 2010, Web.

On-Time Delivery!
Get your customized and 100% plagiarism-free paper done in as little as 3 hours
Let’s start
322 specialists online

Search and Seizure – The Fourth Amendment: Origins, Text, and History. 2010. Web.

Basic features

  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support

On-demand options

  • Writer's samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading

Paper format

  • 275 words per page
  • 12pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, CHicago/Turabian, Havard)

Guaranteed originality

We guarantee 0% plagiarism! Our orders are custom made from scratch. Our team is dedicated to providing you academic papers with zero traces of plagiarism.

Affordable prices

We know how hard it is to pay the bills while being in college, which is why our rates are extremely affordable and within your budget. You will not find any other company that provides the same quality of work for such affordable prices.

Best experts

Our writer are the crème de la crème of the essay writing industry. They are highly qualified in their field of expertise and have extensive experience when it comes to research papers, term essays or any other academic assignment that you may be given!

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:

Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Reliance Papers Inc.
Get Help With All Your Homework Questions. Any Deadline, Affordable, Quality Work Guaranteed!!