John Sassamon Case Analysis

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In December of 1674, John Sassamon set off to, allegedly, warn Governor Josiah Winslow that, “the Wampanag sachem (New England Indian hereditary leader) King Philip […] was preparing for war against the English settlers” (p. 1). Unfortunately, Sassamon did not return from his journey and, on January 29, 1675, was found dead in an icy pound with his “hat, a gun, and a brace of ducks” nearby (p. 1). On March 1, 1675, three Wampanoag Indians – Tobias, Mattashunnamo, and Wampapaquan – were indicted for Sassamon’s murder (p. 100). Based on New England’s legal system, Tobias, Mattashunnamo, and Wampapaquan did receive a fair trial in that the case was tried in a General Court, and not dealt with privately between the Indian groups as was customary (p. 103). Although the New England Indians felt that law and justice were, “a personal and clam mater and did not involve a third party of an impersonal public institution or ‘state’” (p. 67), the law of England defined murder as, “an offence against the state, not a private matter between two groups of people” (p. 70), thus the jurisdiction of the General Court was fair to the defendant’s case. …show more content…

102), and similarly, according to the law of territoriality – “all people, regardless of whether they were citizens or foreigners, are equally subject to the law of the country where they live” (p.

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