Enforcement of Money Judgments in Early American History

The history of the enforcement of money judgments in the United States during the colonial period and the early days of statehood has never been explored in depth. The only modern account is the brief discussion in R. Millar’s Civil Procedure of the Trial Court in Historical Perspective. Yet, in view of the recent and long overdue concern with the protection of debtors against unnecessarily harsh and oppressive direct collection remedies, a study of the early efforts designed to shield debtors from excessive and wasteful deprivations of their property is not without interest, especially as the record is rich in experimentation with different alleviating devices.