General warrants command either apprehension for unstated causes or the arrest, search, or seizure of unspecified persons, places, or objects. Since the Five Knights Case (1628) English courts have consistently disallowed the first category of warrant, although its use survived a century later. The general warrant of the second sort, which allowed its bearer to search wherever or seize whomever or whatever he wished, was more common. It existed by the early fourteenth century and found ever growing applications. The Star Chamber and "High Commission" of the Tudor-Stuart period used such warrants vigorously to suffocate political and religious dissent. By the middle of the eighteenth century, general warrants were or had also been used to combat vagrancy, regulate publications, impress persons into the army and navy, pursue felons, collect taxes, and find stolen merchandise. A close relative, the writ of assistance, allowed customs officers to search all houses in which they suspected concealed contraband.
Beginning with the wilkes cases (1763–1770), British courts undermined the use of general search warrants by secretaries of state. Although they were widely used in colonial and revolutionary America, eight state constitutions of 1776–1784 forbade them, as does the fourth amendment to the federal Constitution.
Cuddihy, William and Hardy, B. Carmon 1980 A Man's House Was Not His Castle: Origins of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. William and Mary Quarterly 37: 371–400.
"General Warrant." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 21, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/general-warrant
"General Warrant." Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. . Retrieved November 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/politics/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/general-warrant
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.