Book Cover
Author Denham, James M.

Title A rogue's paradise : crime and punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861 / James M. Denham
Published Tuscaloosa, Ala. : University of Alabama Press, [1997]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xii, 385 pages) : illustrations, maps
Contents Crime, the Law, and Society -- Crime and Its Causes -- Courts, Judges, and Law Enforcement Officers -- Receptacles of Crime: Florida's Judicial Circuits -- Crime against Person -- Violating the Domestic Sphere: Women, Violence, and Crime -- Crime against Property -- Crime against Public Order and Morality -- Blacks, Crime, and the Law -- Florida's Antebellum Lawmen -- Catching Criminals on the Antebellum Frontier -- Jails and Escapes -- Outlaw Gangs, Lynch Mobs, and Regulators: Policing the Antebellum Frontier -- Our Violent Past: A Heritage of Honor and Frontier -- Legal and Extralegal Executions -- County Seats and Superior/Circuit Courts -- Law and Judicial Officers -- Prosecution Tables by County
Summary Using court records, government documents, newspapers, and personal papers, Denham explores how crime affected ordinary Floridians - whites and blacks, perpetrators, victims, and enforcers. He contends that although the frontier determined the enforcement and administration of the law, the ethic of honor dominated human relationships. Although indictments for crimes against persons were far more frequent than those for crimes against property, the punishment for the latter was more severe (except for murder) because such crimes violated the South's cherished code of honor. A sparse, rural agricultural population valued a personal integrity that included a strong sense of economic morality. Honesty and truthfulness were traits not only desired but demanded. Stealing was a violation of that trust and received society's sternest punishment
The pervasive influence of the frontier is fundamental to an understanding of antebellum Florida. James M. Denham traces the growth and social development of this sparsely settled region through its experience with crime and punishment
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 339-369) and index
Notes Print version record
Subject Crime -- Florida -- History -- 19th century.
Criminal justice, Administration of -- Florida -- History -- 19th century.
Florida -- History -- 1821-1865.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0585215421 (electronic bk.)
9780585215426 (electronic bk.)
(cloth ; alk. paper)