Date of Award
Master of Arts
Virginia's Supreme Court of Appeals, between 1900 and the conclusion of this thesis in 1942, consistently narrowed Virginia's Sunday closing law, enacted in 1786 to prevent Sunday labor. While paying lip service to the statute's purpose, the court almost unhesitatingly chose statutory interpretations encouraging more Sunday labor, particularly by expanding its ''necessity" and "charity" exceptions. The legislature also granted additional statutory closing law exceptions. This reflected the preferences of the public as well, which increasingly depended on the services of others laboring on Sunday. These results were also due, in part, to inherent confusions and contradictions in the law itself, as traced back through colonial Virginia, to Tudor England, and finally to the biblical origins of sabbath work bans. The relatively few closing law prosecutions undertaken as the midcentury approached, appeared largely motivated by business competitors, rather than by any concern for preventing Sunday labor.
Vanderkloot, William Robert, "The troubled intersection of the interests of Christ and commerce : appellate-court review of Virginia Sunday closing laws in historical overview through 1942" (2005). Master's Theses. 1136.