The Law: Blue Sunday

In pre-Revolutionary times, any person who dared to: 1) do business, or 2) have fun on the Lord's Day could be fined, whipped or locked up in the stocks. Each of the original 13 Colonies had laws limiting Sunday activities in one way or another. Even today, every state except Alaska has its "blue laws"—so called because New England Puritans, who started it all, adopted the color blue in opposition to the red emblem of British royalty.

What has grown up is a legal crazy quilt. In New York, for example, saloons may uncork their Sunday bottles at 1 p.m.,...

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