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: J.W. Looney
Publisher: University of Arkansas Press
Release Date: 2016-08-01
During the period from 1836 to 1874, the legal system in the new state of Arkansas developed amid huge social change. While the legislature could, and did, determine what issues were considered of importance to the populace, the Arkansas Supreme Court determined the efficacy of legislation in cases involving land titles, banks, transportation, slavery, family law, property, debt, contract, criminal law, and procedure. Distinguishing the Righteous from the Roguish examines the court’s decisions in this era and shows how Arkansas, as a rural slave-holding state, did not follow the transformational patterns typical of some other states during the nineteenth century. Rather than using the law to promote broad economic growth and encourage social change, the Arkansas court attempted to accommodate the interests of the elite class by preserving the institution of slavery. The ideology of paternalism is reflected in the decisions of the court, and Looney shows how social and political stability—an emphasis on preserving the status quo of the so-called “righteous”—came at the expense of broader economic development.
Author: Yvonne Pitts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Yvonne Pitts explores nineteenth-century inheritance practices by focusing on testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills, claiming the testator lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. By anchoring the study in the history of local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that "capacity" was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values.
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: 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: 2011-08-15
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: Mark V. Tushnet
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
Release Date: 2003-08
Slavery in the American South could not have existed without the authority of law defining slaves as the property of their masters. But the fact that slaves were also human beings placed limits on this harsh reality. When the rigor of the law and the complex bonds of sentiment linking master and slave came into conflict, masters looked to the courts. In one such case, "State v. Mann, North Carolina Supreme Court justice Thomas Ruffin ruled that masters could not be prosecuted for assaulting their slaves. In articulating the legal basis for his decision, Justice Ruffin also revealed his own view of the "logic of slavery," in which he sanctioned the owner's rights even as he expressed his own horror at the mistreatment of the slave. Mark Tushnet, one of the foremost living authorities on antebellum slave law, now shows how studying such a simple case can illuminate an entire society. For those who detested slavery, the case represented all that was intolerable about that institution; for those who defended it, it raised vexing and persistent issues that could not be wished away. As further testament to the importance of "State V. Mann, Harriett Beecher Stowe even made it central to her second antislavery novel, "Dred. Tushnet discusses the opinion's place in the novel--in which she quoted liberally from Ruffin's decision--and evaluates other historians' interpretations of both the opinion and Stowe's provocative novel. Tushnet provides a finely detailed analysis of Ruffin's opinion, portraying the judge as a man compelled by law to uphold the slaveowner's right while moved as a Christian by the slave's maltreatment and ever hopeful that communal morality and a deep-seated sense of honorwould moderate the excesses of slave owners. As Tushnet shows, however, slave law was a means for maintaining the ideological hegemony of the Southern master class. "Slave Law in the American South paints a broad picture of a
Author: Alfred L. Brophy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-07-18
University, Court, and Slave reveals long-forgotten connections between pre-Civil War southern universities and slavery. Universities and their faculty owned people-sometimes dozens of people-and profited from their labor while many slaves endured physical abuse on campuses. The profits of enslaved labor helped pay for education, and faculty and students at times actively promoted the institution. They wrote about the history of slavery, argued for its central role in the southern economy, and developed a political theory that justified slavery. The university faculty spoke a common language of economic utility, history, and philosophy with those who made the laws for the southern states. Their extensive writing promoting slavery helps us understand how southern politicians and judges thought about the practice. As Alfred L. Brophy shows, southern universities fought the emancipation movement for economic reasons, but used history, philosophy, and law in an attempt to justify their position. Indeed, as the antislavery movement gained momentum, southern academics and their allies in the courts became bolder in their claims. Some went so far as to say that slavery was supported by natural law. The combination of economic reasoning and historical precedent helped shape a southern, proslavery jurisprudence. Following Lincoln's November 1860 election, southern academics joined politicians, judges, lawyers, and other leaders in arguing that their economy and society was threatened. Southern jurisprudence led them to believe that any threats to slavery and property justified secession. Bolstered by the courts, academics took their case to the southern public-and ultimately to the battlefield-to defend slavery. A path-breaking and deeply researched history of southern universities' investment in and defense of slavery, University, Court, and Slave will fundamentally transform our understanding of the institutional foundations of pro-slavery thought.