Crime And Punishment In American History

Crime And Punishment In American History

Language: English

Pages: 590

ISBN: 0465014879

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In a panoramic history of our criminal justice system from Colonial times to today, one of our foremost legal thinkers shows how America fashioned a system of crime and punishment in its own image.

The President's House: 1800 to the Present The Secrets and History of the World's Most Famous Home

Channels Of Desire: Mass Images and the Shaping of American Consciousness

The Britannica Guide to Explorers and Explorations That Changed the Modern World (Turning Points in History)

Byzantine Matters

Plague and the End of Antiquity: The Pandemic of 541-750

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the entire federal system, fell under the heading of “civil rights.”5 There is no easy way to compare these federal figures with figures on state criminal justice, but, obviously, the federal contribution was a drop in the bucket. The situation changed dramatically in the twentieth century. The states, to be sure, remain primarily responsible for most matters of crime and punishment. The important, basic crimes are all exclusively state crimes, or nearly so—murder, armed robbery, theft, rape,

sentenced to a year in jail. The verdict, said the district attorney, “will go around the world” as a warning against “miscegenation.”15 Between 1910 and 1915, more than a thousand defendants were convicted of white slavery in the United States.16 Most of the defendants were men. But women, too, were sometimes caught in the Mann Act web. A study of 156 women sent to prison in this way, between 1927 and 1937, found a fair number (23 percent) who were not prostitutes at all, and were totally

no less.22 This was a common theme of the vice reports. No compromise was possible or desirable. Physical health was an important issue, but the main issue was moral health. Medical examination of prostitutes? Absolutely not; this would be a terrible mistake, according to New York’s “Committee of Fifteen.” Such a plan would fatally reduce the moral onus on prostitution, it would put the “social evil” on an ethical par with regulations of “the weight of the loaf of bread, or the size and quality

(Ibid.). 66 Kissimmee Valley Gazette (Florida), April 28, 1899, reprinted in Ralph Ginzburg, ed., One Hundred Years of Lynching (1962), pp. 10—11. 67 Brown, Strain of Violence, p. 218. 68 E. M. Beck, James L. Massey, and Stewart E. Tolnay, “The Gallows, the Mob, and the Vote: Lethal Sanctioning of Blacks in North Carolina and Georgia, 1882 to 1930,” Law and Society Review 23:317, 329 (1989). 69 See Nancy MacLean, “The Leo Frank Case Reconsidered: Gender and Sexual Politics in the Making of

freedom among the whites.26 Criminal law in the southern states tended to lump together all blacks, slave or free. The North Carolina Code of 1855 is full of instances: thus “Any slave, or free negro, or free person of color, convicted of ... an assault with intent to commit a rape, upon the body of a white female, shall suffer death.” The code looked with suspicion on fraternization between free and unfree blacks; it was a crime for a free black to marry or “cohabit” with a slave, or, for that

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