By James M. Denham
The pervasive effect of the frontier is prime to an realizing of antebellum Florida. James M. Denham strains the expansion and social improvement of this in moderation settled zone via its event with crime and punishment. utilizing court docket 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 made up our minds the enforcement and management of the legislations, the ethic of honor ruled human relationships. even supposing indictments for crimes opposed to individuals have been way more common than these for crimes opposed to estate, the punishment for the latter was once 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 integrated a powerful experience of financial morality. Honesty and truthfulness have been characteristics not just wanted yet demanded. Stealing used to be a contravention of that belief and obtained society's sternest punishment.
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Extra resources for A rogue's paradise: crime and punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861
2 I must mention from the outset that my main objective is to write a readable narrative history of the subject. When it comes to numbers, some basic statistics are useful and will be brought to bear when appropriate, but the emphasis is on narrative, not numbers. Moreover, issues such as class, race, gender, and their relationship to crime and punishment are laden with con- Page x troversy. Probably no other combination of subjects is as ready-made for promoting agendas or for proving or disproving hypotheses.
14 Many newspaper editors and public officials joined the struggle against intemperance and warned against the hazards of the vice. The Pensacola Gazette's Hunt published in 1829 an address by Judge Henry M. Brackenridge to town drunk and condemned killer Andrew Crail. "15 A quarter century later Hillsborough County Judge Simon Turman acknowledged that the fight was not being won. He condemned the legislature's failure to regulate the traffic in liquor. "We have had a large supply of whiskey shipped to Tampa this year and I look for a large harvest by way of inquisitions," he declared.
Even so, antebellum Florida's social and economic life most resembled its sister slave states. The appointive nature of many of Florida's important administrative posts during its territorial years (1821-45) also had an important role in giving Florida's professional population a particular political stamp. These years coincided with national political struggles between the Democrats and the Whigs. In a sense, party battles at the national level often played themselves out in Florida. 11 But the same was true of governors, district attorneys, marshals, and a whole host of lesser officials.
A rogue's paradise: crime and punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861 by James M. Denham