Author: Ariela J. Gross
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2006
This groundbreaking study of the law and culture of slavery in the antebellum Deep South takes readers into local courtrooms where people settled their civil disputes over property. Buyers sued sellers for breach of warranty when they considered slaves to be physically or morally defective; owners sued supervisors who whipped or neglected slaves under their care. How, asks Ariela J. Gross, did communities reconcile the dilemmas such trials raised concerning the character of slaves and masters? Although slaves could not testify in court, their character was unavoidably at issue--and so their moral agency intruded into the courtroom. In addition, says Gross, "wherever the argument that black character depended on management by a white man appeared, that white man's good character depended on the demonstration that bad black character had other sources." This led, for example, to physicians testifying that pathologies, not any shortcomings of their master, drove slaves to became runaways. Gross teases out other threads of complexity woven into these trials: the ways that legal disputes were also affairs of honor between white men; how witnesses and litigants based their views of slaves' character on narratives available in the culture at large; and how law reflected and shaped racial ideology. Combining methods of cultural anthropology, quantitative social history, and critical race theory, Double Character brings to life the law as a dramatic ritual in people's daily lives, and advances critical historical debates about law, honor, and commerce in the American South.
Author: Laura F. Edwards
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2015-01-26
Although hundreds of thousands of people died fighting in the American Civil War, perhaps the war's biggest casualty was the nation's legal order. A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction explores the implications of this major change by bringing legal history into dialogue with the scholarship of other historical fields. Federal policy on slavery and race, particularly the three Reconstruction amendments, are the best-known legal innovations of the era. Change, however, permeated all levels of the legal system, altering Americans' relationship to the law and allowing them to move popular conceptions of justice into the ambit of government policy. The results linked Americans to the nation through individual rights, which were extended to more people and, as a result of new claims, were reimagined to cover a wider array of issues. But rights had limits in what they could accomplish, particularly when it came to the collective goals that so many ordinary Americans advocated.
Author: Yvonne Pitts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Yvonne Pitts explores inheritance practices by focusing on nineteenth-century testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills. These disappointed heirs claimed that their departed relative lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. These inheritance disputes criss-crossed a variety of legal and cultural terrains, including ordinary people's understandings of what constituted insanity and justice, medical experts' attempts to infuse law with science, and the independence claims of women. Pitts uncovers the contradictions in the body of law that explicitly protected free will while simultaneously reinforcing the primacy of blood in mediating claims to inherited property. By anchoring the study in local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that 'capacity' was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values about family, race relations and rationality. These concepts evolved as Kentucky transitioned from a conflicted border state with slaves to a developing free-labor, industrializing economy.
Author: Catherine Adams
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2010-02-01
Genre: Social Science
They baked New England's Thanksgiving pies, preached their faith to crowds of worshippers, spied for the patriots during the Revolution, wrote that human bondage was a sin, and demanded reparations for slavery. Black women in colonial and revolutionary New England sought not only legal emancipation from slavery but defined freedom more broadly to include spiritual, familial, and economic dimensions. Hidden behind the banner of achieving freedom was the assumption that freedom meant affirming black manhood The struggle for freedom in New England was different for men than for women. Black men in colonial and revolutionary New England were struggling for freedom from slavery and for the right to patriarchal control of their own families. Women had more complicated desires, seeking protection and support in a male headed household while also wanting personal liberty. Eventually women who were former slaves began to fight for dignity and respect for womanhood and access to schooling for black children.
Author: Thomas D. Morris
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2004-01-21
This volume is the first comprehensive history of the evolving relationship between American slavery and the law from colonial times to the Civil War. As Thomas Morris clearly shows, racial slavery came to the English colonies as an institution without strict legal definitions or guidelines. Specifically, he demonstrates that there was no coherent body of law that dealt solely with slaves. Instead, more general legal rules concerning inheritance, mortgages, and transfers of property coexisted with laws pertaining only to slaves. According to Morris, southern lawmakers and judges struggled to reconcile a social order based on slavery with existing English common law (or, in Louisiana, with continental civil law.) Because much was left to local interpretation, laws varied between and even within states. In addition, legal doctrine often differed from local practice. And, as Morris reveals, in the decades leading up to the Civil War, tensions mounted between the legal culture of racial slavery and the competing demands of capitalism and evangelical Christianity.
Author: Peter Charles Hoffer
Publisher: JHU Press
Release Date: 1998-01-21
This revised edition of Law and People in Colonial America will incorporate recent scholarship and encompass American Indians, the French, and Spaniards as people who—on the fringes of English settlement—raised interesting questions. Among them: how in legal terms did the English deal with "marginal"societies; how does this posture help us to understand English law and the changes the New World forced upon it; and how did these people on the outside themselves view English law?
Author: Bernie D. Jones
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Release Date: 2009
Fathers of Conscience examines high-court decisions in the antebellum South that involved wills in which white male planters bequeathed property, freedom, or both to women of color and their mixed-race children. These men, whose wills were contested by their white relatives, had used trusts and estates law to give their slave partners and children official recognition and thus circumvent the law of slavery. The will contests that followed determined whether that elevated status would be approved or denied by courts of law. Bernie D. Jones argues that these will contests indicated a struggle within the elite over race, gender, and class issues--over questions of social mores and who was truly family. Judges thus acted as umpires after a man's death, deciding whether to permit his attempts to provide for his slave partner and family. Her analysis of these differing judicial opinions on inheritance rights for slave partners makes an important contribution to the literature on the law of slavery in the United States.
Author: H. W. Brands
Publisher: Pearson College Division
Release Date: 2011-07-15
Focuses readers on the story of American history. American Stories enhances the accessibility of United States history by concentrating on the most commonly taught topics while retaining a strong narrative emphasis and chronological organization. Each chapter follows a consistent structure that maximizes comprehension. The text goes beyond the major events that have shaped America by using significant incidents to reflect historical dilemmas and the decisions made by the American people and their leaders. The authors stress themes and ideas that continue to affect Americans, as they believe the impact of change on human lives adds an essential layer to understanding history. Note: MyHistoryLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MyHistoryLab, please visit www.MyHistoryLab.com use ISBN: 9780205080984.
Author: Robert A. Divine
Publisher: Prentice Hall
Release Date: 2010-02-11
Designed for introductory-level survey courses in American History. America Past and Present, Brief Edition presents a balanced and manageable overview of the United States as an unfolding story of national development, blending the best in past historical interpretation with new scholarship. The eighth edition features all of the strengths found in the successful comprehensive text: a compelling narrative, clear organization, and exceptional pedagogy. An attractive four-color design, featuring photos, timelines, and completely redesigned maps engage and assist students in their study of American history.