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

By James M. Denham

The pervasive impact of the frontier is prime to an knowing of antebellum Florida. James M. Denham strains the expansion and social improvement of this carefully settled sector via its adventure with crime and punishment. utilizing courtroom 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 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 critical (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 feel of monetary morality. Honesty and truthfulness have been characteristics 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 info for A rogue's paradise: crime and punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861

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They also served on juries, swore out complaints, or were the subjects of the complaints themselves. They captured fugitives and collected rewards based on gubernatorial or private proclamations. They served as hastily deputized guards hired to attend to dangerous prisoners or to transport them across sparsely inhabited tracts of the Florida frontier. Finally, they made up posses that fulfilled or exceeded their specified duties. Perhaps the most striking characteristic of antebellum Florida was its diversity (both human and geographical), which was reflected not only in its sizable black population but also in the enforcement of the laws that regulated that population.

These folk also supplemented their income by pursuing the South and Florida's most honorable as well as profitable profession, planting. 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.

Augustine Florida Herald noted in 1833 the difficulties Northern cities had with "excessive emigration of the lower classes from foreign countries" and saw a conspiracy. " Gould believed that other nations were carrying out similar policies. Many, however, saw immigration as a boon rather than a curse. " 1 Some residents merely acknowledged Florida's reputation for attracting undesirables and hoped for the best. "2 The Pensacola Gazette's William Hasell Hunt saw a glimmer of hope in a marshal's work toward providing a district jail.

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