Author: H. Robert Baker
Release Date: 2012
Examines the case of Prigg v. Pennsylvania, the 1842 Supreme Court case that struck down the free states' personal liberty laws and reaffirmed federal supremacy in determining the procedures for fugitive slave rendition. The first and only book-length treatment of this landmark case that became a pivot point for antebellum politics and law some fifteen years before Dred Scott.
Author: Peter Charles Hoffer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 2013
In For Ourselves and Our Posterity: The Preamble to the Federal Constitution in American History, author Peter Charles Hoffer offers a sweeping, dramatic narration of a crucial moment in Early American history. Over the course of five days in September 1787, five men serving on an ad hoc "Committee of Style and Arrangement" edited the draft of the federal Constitution at the Constitutional Convention, profoundly recasting the wording of the Preamble. In so doing, the committee changed a federation into a Union and laid out an ambitious program for national governance many years ahead of its time. The Preamble and all that it came to represent was the unique achievement of a remarkable group of men at a momentous turning point in American history. Providing a clear exposition of constitutional issues, For Ourselves and Our Posterity features individual portraits of the leading framers at the heart of this dramatic event.
Author: Abraham L. Davis
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Release Date: 1995-07-25
Genre: Political Science
Providing a well-rounded presentation of the constitution and evolution of civil rights in the United States, this book will be useful for students and academics with an interest in civil rights, race and the law. Abraham L Davis and Barbara Luck Graham's purpose is: to give an overview of the Supreme Court and its rulings with regard to issues of equality and civil rights; to bring law, political science and history into the discussion of civil rights and the Supreme Court; to incorporate the politically disadvantaged and the human component into the discussion; to stimulate discussion among students; and to provide a text that cultivates competence in reading actual Supreme Court cases.
Author: H. Robert Baker
Publisher: Ohio University Press
Release Date: 2006-12-31
On March 11, 1854, the people of Wisconsin prevented agents of the federal government from carrying away the fugitive slave, Joshua Glover. Assembling in mass outside the Milwaukee courthouse, they demanded that the federal officers respect his civil liberties as they would those of any other citizen of the state. When the officers refused, the crowd took matters into its own hands and rescued Joshua Glover. The federal government brought his rescuers to trial, but the Wisconsin Supreme Court intervened and took the bold step of ruling the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional. The Rescue of Joshua Glover delves into the courtroom trials, political battles, and cultural equivocation precipitated by Joshua Glover's brief, but enormously important, appearance in Wisconsin on the eve of the Civil War. H. Robert Baker articulates the many ways in which this case evoked powerful emotions in antebellum America, just as the stage adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin was touring the country and stirring antislavery sentiments. Terribly conflicted about race, Americans struggled mightily with a revolutionary heritage that sanctified liberty but also brooked compromise with slavery. Nevertheless, as The Rescue of Joshua Glover demonstrates, they maintained the principle that the people themselves were the last defenders of constitutional liberty, even as Glover's rescue raised troubling questions about citizenship and the place of free blacks in America.
This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America's break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of "power, consequence, and grandeur." America's Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class. The Anti-Federalists were right: The pursuit of "national greatness" inevitably diminishes liberty and centralizes government. The U.S. Constitution did both, as Sheldon Richman demonstrates in this powerfully argued anarchist case against the blueprint for empire known as the U.S. Constitution. --Bill Kauffman, author, Forgotten Founder, Drunken Prophet: The Life of Luther Martin The libertarian movement has long suffered from a constitutional fetishism that embraces an ahistorical reverence for the U.S. Constitution. Far too many are unaware of the extent to which the framing and adoption of the Constitution was in fact a setback for the cause of liberty. Sheldon Richman, in a compilation of readable, well researched, and compelling essays, exposes the historical, theoretical, and strategic errors in the widespread reification of a purely political document. With no single correct interpretation, the Constitution has been predictably unable to halt the growth of the modern welfare-warfare American State. I urge all proponents of a free society to give his book their diligent attention. --Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, Professor, San Jose State University; author, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men: A History of the American Civil War "No state or government can limit itself through a written constitution, no matter how fine the words or how noble the sentiments they express. It is one of the many virtues of Sheldon Richman's book that it shows how this is true even of the American Constitution, which despite the promises of its designers and the insistence of its defenders down the years, made limited government less and not more likely." --Chandran Kukathas, London School of Economics "Richman delivers an accessible, incisive, and well-grounded argument that the Constitution centralized power and undid some of the Revolution's liberating gains. He rebuts patriotic platitudes but avoids the crude contrarianism so common in libertarian revisionism written for popular consumption. He does not romanticize America's past or overstate his case. Radical and nuanced, deferential to freedom and historical truth, Richman rises above hagiography or demonization of either the Federalists or anti-Federalists to produce an unsurpassed libertarian exploration of the subject." - Anthony Gregory, Independent Institute "[A]fter reading this book, you will never think about the U.S. Constitution and America's founding the same way again. Sheldon Richman's revealing and remarkably well-argued narrative will permanently change your outlook. . . . Richman . . . [is] one of this country's most treasured thinkers and writers . . . . [H]e draws on the most contemporary and important scholarly research, while putting the evidence in prose that is accessible and compelling." - Jeffrey A. Tucker, Liberty.me and Foundation for Economic Education
Author: Anne Farrow
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: 2007-12-18
Slavery in the South has been documented in volumes ranging from exhaustive histories to bestselling novels. But the North’s profit from–indeed, dependence on–slavery has mostly been a shameful and well-kept secret . . . until now. In this startling and superbly researched new book, three veteran New England journalists demythologize the region of America known for tolerance and liberation, revealing a place where thousands of people were held in bondage and slavery was both an economic dynamo and a necessary way of life. Complicity reveals the cruel truth about the Triangle Trade of molasses, rum, and slaves that lucratively linked the North to the West Indies and Africa; discloses the reality of Northern empires built on profits from rum, cotton, and ivory–and run, in some cases, by abolitionists; and exposes the thousand-acre plantations that existed in towns such as Salem, Connecticut. Here, too, are eye-opening accounts of the individuals who profited directly from slavery far from the Mason-Dixon line–including Nathaniel Gordon of Maine, the only slave trader sentenced to die in the United States, who even as an inmate of New York’s infamous Tombs prison was supported by a shockingly large percentage of the city; Patty Cannon, whose brutal gang kidnapped free blacks from Northern states and sold them into slavery; and the Philadelphia doctor Samuel Morton, eminent in the nineteenth-century field of “race science,” which purported to prove the inferiority of African-born black people. Culled from long-ignored documents and reports–and bolstered by rarely seen photos, publications, maps, and period drawings–Complicity is a fascinating and sobering work that actually does what so many books pretend to do: shed light on America’s past. Expanded from the celebrated Hartford Courant special report that the Connecticut Department of Education sent to every middle school and high school in the state (the original work is required readings in many college classrooms,) this new book is sure to become a must-read reference everywhere. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: Peter Charles Hoffer
Publisher: Univ Pr of Kansas
Release Date: 2003
Three and a half decades before the city of New York witnessed the first great battle waged by the new United States of America for its independence, rumors of a massive conspiracy among the city's slaves spread panic throughout the colony. On the testimony of frightened bondsmen and a handful of whites, over seventy slaves were convicted and a third of these were executed. The suspected conspiracy in New York prompted one of the most extensive slave trials in colonial history and some of the most grisly punishments ever meted out to individuals. Peter Hoffer now retells the dramatic story of those landmark trials, setting the events in their legal and historical contexts and offering a revealing glimpse of slavery in colonial cities and of the way that the law defined and policed the institution. Among other things, Hoffer reveals how conspiracy became a central feature of the law of slavery at the same time as it reflected the white belief that slaves were always conspiring against their masters. He draws,on uniquely revealing firsthand accounts of the trials to both retell a gripping story and open a window on colonial American justice. He leads readers through a chain of events involving robbery and arson that culminated in the trials of a group of white men suspected of inciting the slaves to revolt. The episode, so vital to our understanding of a time when slavery was an entrenched institution and the law made even the angry muttering of slaves into a criminal act, has much to tell us about current affairs as well. African slaves in colonial times were viewed by authorities and citizens much as some foreigners are today: inherently dangerous, easily identifiable, and constantlyconspiring.
Author: Jeannine Marie DeLombard
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
Release Date: 2009-06-01
America's legal consciousness was high during the era that saw the imprisonment of abolitionist editor William Lloyd Garrison, the execution of slave revolutionary Nat Turner, and the hangings of John Brown and his Harpers Ferry co-conspirators. Jeannine Marie DeLombard examines how debates over slavery in the three decades before the Civil War employed legal language to "try" the case for slavery in the court of public opinion via popular print media. Discussing autobiographies by Frederick Douglass, a scandal narrative about Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist speech by Henry David Thoreau, sentimental fiction by Harriet Beecher Stowe, and a proslavery novel by William MacCreary Burwell, DeLombard argues that American literature of the era cannot be fully understood without an appreciation for the slavery debate in the courts and in print. Combining legal, literary, and book history approaches, Slavery on Trial provides a refreshing alternative to the official perspectives offered by the nation's founding documents, legal treatises, statutes, and judicial decisions. DeLombard invites us to view the intersection of slavery and law as so many antebellum Americans did--through the lens of popular print culture.
Author: Robert M. Cover
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 1984-07
What should a judge do when he must hand down a ruling based on a law that he considers unjust or oppressive? This question is examined through a series of problems concerning unjust law that arose with respect to slavery in nineteenth-century America. Cover's book is splendid in many ways. His legal history and legal philosophy are both first class...This is, for a change, an interdisciplinary work that is a credit to both disciplines.-Ronald Dworkin, Times Literary Supplement Scholars should be grateful to Cover for his often brilliant illumination of tensions created in judges by changing eighteenth- and nineteenth-century jurisprudential attitudes and legal standards...An exciting adventure in interdisciplinary history.-Harold M. Hyman, American Historical Review A most articulate, sophisticated, and learned defense of legal formalism...Deserves and needs to be widely read.-Don Roper, Journal of American History An excellent illustration of the way in which a burning moral issue relates to the American judicial process. The book thus has both historical value and a very immediate importance.-Edwards A.Stettner, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science A really fine book, an important contribution to law and to history.-Louis H. Pollak
The Justices, who are virtually unaccountable, irremovable, and irreversible, have taken over from the people control of their own destiny. — Raoul Berger It is the thesis of this monumentally argued book that the United States Supreme Court—largely through abuses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution—has embarked on "a continuing revision of the Constitution, under the guise of interpretation." Consequently, the Court has subverted America's democratic institutions and wreaked havoc upon Americans' social and political lives. One of the first constitutional scholars to question the rise of judicial activism in modern times, Raoul Berger points out that "the Supreme Court is not empowered to rewrite the Constitution, that in its transformation of the Fourteenth Amendment it has demonstrably done so. Thereby the Justices, who are virtually unaccountable, irremovable, and irreversible, have taken over from the people control of their own destiny, an awesome exercise of power." The Court has accomplished this transformation by ignoring or actually distorting the original intent of both the framers and the supporters of the Fourteenth Amendment. In school desegregation and legislative reapportionment cases, for example, the Court manipulated the history, meaning, and purpose of the amendment's Equal Protection Clause in order to achieve a desired political result. In cases involving First Amendment freedoms and the rights of the accused, the judges converted the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause into a vehicle for the nationalization of the Bill of Rights. Yet these actions were nothing less than "usurpations" that robbed "from the States a power that unmistakably was left to them." This new second edition includes the original text of 1977 and extensive supplementary discourses in which the author assesses and rebuts the responses of his critics. Raoul Berger retired in 1976 as Charles Warren Senior Fellow in American Legal History, Harvard University.
Author: George Fitzhugh
Publisher: Applewood Books
Release Date: 2008-09-04
Excerpt: ...of sins. New England is culpable for permitting Parker and Beecher to stir up civil discord and domestic broils from the pulpit. These men deserve punishment, for they have instigated and occasioned a thousand murders in Kansas; yet they did nothing more than carry into practice the right of private judgment, liberty of speech, freedom of the press and of religion. These boasted privileges have become far more dangerous to the lives, the property and the peace of the people of this Union, than all the robbers and murderers and malefactors put together. The Reformation was but an effort of Nature
Author: Elliott West
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Release Date: 2012-10-29
Scholars and enthusiasts of western American history have praised Elliott West as a distinguished historian and an accomplished writer, and this book proves them right on both counts. Capitalizing on West’s wide array of interests, this collection of his essays touches on topics ranging from viruses and the telegraph to children, bison, and Larry McMurtry. Drawing from the past three centuries, West weaves the western story into that of the nation and the world beyond, from Kansas and Montana to Haiti, Africa, and the court of Louis XV. Divided into three sections, the volume begins with conquest. West is not the first historian to write about Lewis and Clark, but he is the first to contrast their expedition with Mungo Park’s contemporaneous journey in Africa. “The Lewis and Clark expedition,” West begins, “is one of the most overrated events in American history—and one of the most revealing.” The humor of this insightful essay is a chief characteristic of the whole book, which comprises ten chapters previously published in major journals and magazines—but revised for this edition—and four brand-new ones. West is well known for his writings about frontier family life, especially the experiences of children at work and play. Fans of his earlier books on these subjects will not be disappointed. In a final section, he looks at the West of myth and imagination, in part to show that our fantasies about the West are worth studying precisely because they have been so at odds with the real West. In essays on buffalo, Jesse James and the McMurtry novel Lonesome Dove, West directs his formidable powers to subjects that continue to shape our understanding—and often our misunderstanding—of the American West, past and present.