By James M. Denham
The pervasive impact of the frontier is key to an figuring out of antebellum Florida. James M. Denham lines the expansion and social improvement of this carefully settled zone via its adventure with crime and punishment. utilizing courtroom documents, executive records, newspapers, and private papers, Denham explores how crime affected traditional Floridians - whites and blacks, perpetrators, sufferers, and enforcers. He contends that even though the frontier decided the enforcement and management of the legislation, the ethic of honor ruled human relationships. even though indictments for crimes opposed to individuals 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 loved code of honor. A sparse, rural agricultural inhabitants valued a private integrity that integrated a powerful experience of financial morality. Honesty and truthfulness have been qualities not just wanted yet demanded. Stealing was once a contravention of that belief and acquired society's sternest punishment.
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Additional resources for A rogue's paradise: crime and punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861
Probably no other combination of subjects is as ready-made for promoting agendas or for proving or disproving hypotheses. Using a history of crime and punishment in antebellum Florida for the purpose of descending into extensive polemical debates on these issues is not the purpose here. Still, I think studying such an important aspect of the state's history can provide a perspective that is so often lacking in today's society. This approach will please some and frustrate others, but it coincides with my primary goal of reaching an audience beyond just the academic community.
Title. 9759'09'034dc20 96-24837 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available Page v For Jim Denham and in memory of Emma Denham Page vii Contents Preface ix One Crime, the Law, and Society 1 Two Crime and Its Causes 12 Three Courts, Judges, and Law Enforcement Officers 24 Four Receptacles of Crime: Florida's Judicial Circuits 37 Five Crime against Person 59 Six Violating the Domestic Sphere: Women, Violence, and Crime 74 Seven Crime against Property 86 Eight Crime against Public Order and Morality 102 Nine Blacks, Crime, and the Law 120 Ten Florida's Antebellum Lawmen 141 Page viii Eleven Catching Criminals on the Antebellum Frontier 155 Twelve Jails and Escapes 166 Thirteen Outlaw Gangs, Lynch Mobs, and Regulators: Policing the Antebellum Frontier 185 Fourteen Our Violent Past: A Heritage of Honor and Frontier 205 Appendix 1 Legal and Extralegal Executions 209 Appendix 2 County Seats and Superior/Circuit Courts 212 Appendix 3 Law and Judicial Officers 214 Appendix 4 Prosecution Tables by County 226 Notes 283 Bibliography 339 Index 371 Page ix Preface This book traces the patterns of crime and punishment in antebellum Florida from 1821 to 1861.
Court days, militia musters, Fourth of July celebrations, horse-racing weeks, land sales, political campaigns, and election days offered popular occasions for imbibing. Funerals, births, and marriage ceremonies did the same. 6 The levels of drunkenness cannot be documented statistically, but natives and outsiders often were shocked at commonplace practices. "8 Excessive drunkenness often was cited as a cause of early death. Moral abandonment, ill health, a life of crime, and perhaps suicide, many believed, were in store for those who overly indulged.