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Freeman (colonial)
Freeman is a term which originated in 12th-century Europe and was common as an American Colonial expression in Puritan times. In the Massachusetts Bay Colony, a man had to be a member of the Church to be a freeman; in neighboring Plymouth Colony a man did not need to be a member of the Church, but he had to be elected to this privilege by the General Court. Being a freeman carried with it the right to vote, and only freemen could vote in Plymouth by 1632.[1] Black's Law Dictionary (9th edition) defines Freeman as follows: 1. A person who possesses and enjoys all the civil and political rights belonging to the people under a free government. 2. A person who is not a slave. 3. Hist. A member of a municipal corporation (a city or a borough) who possesses full civic rights, esp. the right to vote. 4. Hist. A freeholder. Cf. VILLEIN. 5. Hist. An allodial landowner. Cf. VASSAL
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