Warrant (Noun & Verb)


12 March 2014

The word warrant has two legal contexts that affect our historical research: (1) a promise or guarantee; (2) an order issued by a governmental body or officer. In documents of past centuries, the word is typically used in one of the following ways:

  • In a private sale of property, the grantor may warrant (guarantee) that the title is valid in all regards.
  • In cases of crimes or misdemeanors, the courts may issue a warrant (an order) to arrest someone.
  • In matters of land, a governing body may issue a warrant (an order with a promise attached) authorizing an individual to claim x-number of acres out of the unclaimed lands held by that government.

EE, pp. 490-92, 506-12, 586, 590, and 678 offer a variety of background discussions and models for warrants of all types issued at local, colony, state, and national levels.