Brotherly love: murder and the politics of prejudice in by Charles Hoffmann

By Charles Hoffmann

On New Year's Eve in 1843, Rhode Island cloth producer Amasa Sprague was once shot and overwhelmed to dying. inside days, 3 Irish immigrant brothers have been arrested, charged with homicide, and finally delivered to trial.

Brotherly Love is a photo reconstruction of the crime, its social and monetary heritage, and the next trials. the tale finds the antagonism among native-born Yankees, who commanded nice strength, and the growing to be variety of Irish Catholic immigrants, such a lot of whom labored within the cloth generators. certainly, the commercial, political, and spiritual dimensions of the clash are all obtrusive within the trials.

The authors argue persuasively that the Gordons have been sufferers of bigotry and circumstantial facts, serving as handy scapegoats to assuage a group outraged over the homicide of its wealthiest citizen. In telling the tale of this infamous case, Brotherly Love unearths the politics of prejudice in nineteenth-century New England as performed out in neighborhood and court docket.

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Extra resources for Brotherly love: murder and the politics of prejudice in nineteenth-century Rhode Island

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65. June 18, 1850. William Gordon is imprisoned for debt. Writ is also brought against Ellen Gordon. February 1852. The Rhode Island legislature votes to abolish capital punishment, substituting life imprisonment and loss of all civil rights. The death penalty remains in force for murder committed by anyone serving a life sentence. December 27, 1854. Thomas Wilson Dorr dies at age forty-nine. October 19, 1856. William Sprague dies of typhoid fever, in the midst of building his largest mill at Baltic, Connecticut.

Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-87023-852-3 (alk. paper) 1. MurderRhode IslandHistory19th centuryCase studies. 2. Sprague, Amasa, 17981843. I. Hoffmann, Tess. II. Title. 1'523'097451dc2093-9959 CIP British Library Cataloguing in Publication data are available. Except where noted, all illustrations are courtesy of the Rhode Island Historical Society. Page v Contents List of Illustrations vii Acknowledgments ix Preface xi Chronology xv 1 The Murder 1 2 Background to Murder 13 3 The Prosecution 31 4 The Defense 47 5 Nicholas Gordon's First Trial 75 6 The Execution of John Gordon 99 7 Nicholas Gordon's Second Trial 117 8 Who Killed Amasa Sprague?

Dorr is taken to the state prison where the two Gordon brothers are still imprisoned. October 10, 1844. John Gordon's petition for a new trial and a postponement of sentence are denied by the state supreme court. He is sentenced to be hanged February 14, 1845. October 22, 1844. Nicholas Gordon's first trial ends in a ''hung jury'' (eight for conviction, four for acquittal). He is bound over to be tried again. November 2, 1844. Nicholas Gordon, although not convicted, is stricken from the list of qualified voters by the Cranston Town Council.

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