A rogue's paradise: crime and punishment in Antebellum by James M. Denham

By James M. Denham

The pervasive impression of the frontier is prime to an knowing of antebellum Florida. James M. Denham lines the expansion and social improvement of this moderately settled sector via its adventure with crime and punishment. utilizing court docket documents, executive files, newspapers, and private papers, Denham explores how crime affected usual Floridians - whites and blacks, perpetrators, sufferers, and enforcers. He contends that even though the frontier made up our minds the enforcement and management of the legislations, the ethic of honor ruled human relationships. even if indictments for crimes opposed to folks have been way more widespread than these for crimes opposed to estate, the punishment for the latter used to be extra serious (except for homicide) simply because such crimes violated the South's adored code of honor. A sparse, rural agricultural inhabitants valued a private integrity that incorporated a robust experience of monetary morality. Honesty and truthfulness have been features not just wanted yet demanded. Stealing used to be a contravention of that belief and got society's sternest punishment.

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Extra resources for A rogue's paradise: crime and punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

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The staffs of these courthouses, though often puzzled at the requests to see old records, always cheerfully acquiesced and surrendered their treasures. Escambia, St. Johns, and Hillsborough Counties are models in the preservation of old court records, but other counties also accomplish this important objectiveeach in its own way. I also wish to thank Rebecca Piskura (Hillsborough), Janice Mahaffey (Putnam), Karl Goodwin (Orange), and Eleanor Hawkins (Jefferson), as well as the staffs at Monroe, Madison, Manatee, Leon, Marion, Clay, Jackson, Volusia, and Gadsden Counties.

Florida also experienced some immigration from free states. Newcomers from the North soon conformed to the prevailing ethics and values of the majority, sometimes becoming leading advocates and defenders of Southern values. It simply was not in the cards for them to do otherwise. Migrating required adjustment, and migrants understood the realities of adaptation before they came south. But no matter the origin of the newcomers, migrating to Florida's frontier offered not only opportunity, but also immense challenges.

What did contemporary observers think was the cause of crime?  (Courtesy of the Archives Division, Texas State Library, Austin, Texas) quently prosecuted? Which were the least prosecuted? What kinds of crimes did society find most reprehensible? Which offenses drew the harshest and which the most lenient punishment? Were there regional variations on these themes? What role did race and gender play in the equation? These questions are far easier to ask than to answer, but the student of crime and punishment is obliged to use available evidence to search for clues.

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