Connecticut Blue Laws

“Blue Laws” were laws Puritans passed to govern morality. Some of these laws remained on the books even into the 20th century– for instance, the 1965 Supreme Court decision in Griswold v. Connecticut, overturned Connecticut’s ban on access to contraception for married couples. Blue Laws legislated against public diplays of affection and other sorts of behavior that in our modern society would not be subject to legal penalty. These laws, enacted by the people of the “Dominion of New Haven,” became known as the blue laws because, according to legend, they were printed on blue paper. The real reason is obscure. Sometimes that’s just the way it is.

“Blue Laws” of New Haven

The governor and magistrates convened in general assembly are the supreme power, under god, of the independent dominion.

From the determination of the assembly no appeal shall be made.

No one shall be a freeman or have a vote unless he is converted and a member of one of the churches allowed in the dominion.

Each freeman shall swear by the blessed God to bear true allegiance to this dominion and that Jesus is the only king.

No dissenter from the essential worship of this dominion shall be allowed to give a vote for electing of magistrates or any officer.

No food or lodging shall be offered to a heretic.


No one shall cross a river on the Sabbath but authorized clergymen.

No one shall travel, cook victuals, make beds, sweep houses, cut hair, or shave on the Sabbath Day.

No one shall kiss his or her children on the Sabbath or feasting days.

The Sabbath Day shall begin at sunset Saturday.

Whoever wears clothes trimmed with gold, silver, or bone lace above one shilling per yard shall be presented by the grand jurors and the selectmen shall tax the estate 300 pounds.

Whoever brings cards or dice into the dominion shall pay a fine of 5 pounds.

No one shall eat mince pies, dance, play cards, or play any instrument of music except the drum, trumpet, or jewsharp.

A man who strikes his wife shall be fined 10 pounds.

A woman who strikes her husband shall be punished as the law directs.

No man shall court a maid in person or by letter without obtaining the consent of her parents; 5 pounds penalty for the first offense; 10 pounds for the second, and for the third imprisonment during the pleasure of the court.

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by freakinawesome on August 29, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    I think some of these laws are ridiculous. I don’t think they considered the verse in Revelation about binding where God has not bound when they made up these laws.

  2. Posted by The Last Hope on August 18, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t think I would make it in New Haven.

    And what is this about a husband paying 10 pounds for smacking around his wife, but when a woman does it there is some unmentioned, probably horrifying, punishment directed by law.…Sexist

  3. Posted by Darla&Drusilla on August 22, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    The one about the courting was pretty hilarious.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: