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

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 in moderation settled sector via its event with crime and punishment. utilizing courtroom files, govt files, newspapers, and private papers, Denham explores how crime affected usual Floridians - whites and blacks, perpetrators, sufferers, and enforcers. He contends that even supposing the frontier made up our minds the enforcement and management of the legislation, the ethic of honor ruled human relationships. even though indictments for crimes opposed to folks have been way more common 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 adored code of honor. A sparse, rural agricultural inhabitants valued a private integrity that integrated a powerful experience 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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17 Closely associated with excessive drinking as a cause of crime was gambling. Floridians wagered on the turn of a card, the gait of a horse, the ferocity of a dog or a cock, the roll of dice, or the eventual resting place of a roulette wheel. " 19 Hunt was not alone in his belief. Others refused to accept the notion that gambling was a respectable form of gentlemen's entertainment. An Apalachicola man denied that outlawing the custom was undue meddling in the private affairs of free individuals.

9 Despite licensing requirements imposed on retailers, an underground traffic flourished. Superior and circuit court minute books are filled with indictments for that and other liquor-related offenses. Commentators and grand juries pointed an accusing finger at local grog establishments as places of origin for petty burglaries, misbehavior among the slave population, and scenes of vice. Typically, in 1833 the Duval County Grand Jury condemned the "great magnitude of tippling shops interspersed through the County, which are resorted to by the idle and dissolute.

Especially in the territorial era, which lasted from 1821 to 1845, fugitives from other states found Florida's sparsely settled frontier a safe haven. The territory contained many vast, remote, and unsettled places where fleeing felons could hide undetected after making their way overland from Alabama and Georgia or easily traveling by ocean or river routes. A few Floridians, overwhelmed by the criminal influx, divined causation in the secret machinations of other nations. Elias Gould of the St.

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