Double Character

Author: Ariela J. Gross
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 082032860X
Format: PDF, Docs
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This groundbreaking study of the law and culture of slavery in the antebellum Deep South takes readers into local courtrooms where people settled their civil disputes over property. Buyers sued sellers for breach of warranty when they considered slaves to be physically or morally defective; owners sued supervisors who whipped or neglected slaves under their care. How, asks Ariela J. Gross, did communities reconcile the dilemmas such trials raised concerning the character of slaves and masters? Although slaves could not testify in court, their character was unavoidably at issue--and so their moral agency intruded into the courtroom. In addition, says Gross, "wherever the argument that black character depended on management by a white man appeared, that white man's good character depended on the demonstration that bad black character had other sources." This led, for example, to physicians testifying that pathologies, not any shortcomings of their master, drove slaves to became runaways. Gross teases out other threads of complexity woven into these trials: the ways that legal disputes were also affairs of honor between white men; how witnesses and litigants based their views of slaves' character on narratives available in the culture at large; and how law reflected and shaped racial ideology. Combining methods of cultural anthropology, quantitative social history, and critical race theory, Double Character brings to life the law as a dramatic ritual in people's daily lives, and advances critical historical debates about law, honor, and commerce in the American South.

A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction

Author: Laura F. Edwards
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1316239713
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Although hundreds of thousands of people died fighting in the American Civil War, perhaps the war's biggest casualty was the nation's legal order. A Legal History of the Civil War and Reconstruction explores the implications of this major change by bringing legal history into dialogue with the scholarship of other historical fields. Federal policy on slavery and race, particularly the three Reconstruction amendments, are the best-known legal innovations of the era. Change, however, permeated all levels of the legal system, altering Americans' relationship to the law and allowing them to move popular conceptions of justice into the ambit of government policy. The results linked Americans to the nation through individual rights, which were extended to more people and, as a result of new claims, were reimagined to cover a wider array of issues. But rights had limits in what they could accomplish, particularly when it came to the collective goals that so many ordinary Americans advocated.

Family Law and Inheritance in America

Author: Yvonne Pitts
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107245141
Format: PDF
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Yvonne Pitts explores inheritance practices by focusing on nineteenth-century testamentary capacity trials in Kentucky in which disinherited family members challenged relatives' wills. These disappointed heirs claimed that their departed relative lacked the capacity required to write a valid will. These inheritance disputes criss-crossed a variety of legal and cultural terrains, including ordinary people's understandings of what constituted insanity and justice, medical experts' attempts to infuse law with science, and the independence claims of women. Pitts uncovers the contradictions in the body of law that explicitly protected free will while simultaneously reinforcing the primacy of blood in mediating claims to inherited property. By anchoring the study in local communities and the texts of elite jurists, Pitts demonstrates that 'capacity' was a term laden with legal meaning and competing communal values about family, race relations and rationality. These concepts evolved as Kentucky transitioned from a conflicted border state with slaves to a developing free-labor, industrializing economy.

America history and life

Author: American Bibliographical Center
Publisher:
ISBN:
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Provides historical coverage of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Includes information abstracted from over 2,000 journals published worldwide.

Program

Author: Organization of American Historians. Meeting
Publisher:
ISBN:
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The old South

Author: J. William Harris
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780415957298
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In this, the re-named second edition of Society and Culture in the Slave South, William Harris selects the most recent and original scholarship in the field of the antebellum South published since 1992, when the first edition appeared. The present volume illustrates both the continuities and new developments in antebellum Southern history, starting from the work of Eugene Genovese and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, and moving into work that challenges their traditional reading of the slave South as a paternalist society. The collection also features an introduction to the historiography of the slave South, and a Guide to Further Reading.