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Homicide Justified: The Legality of Killing Slaves in the United States and the Atlantic World

Andrew T. Fede
Format
Book
Published
Athens, Georgia : The University of Georgia Press, [2017]
Language
English
Series
Southern Legal Studies
ISBN
9780820351124, 0820351121, 9780820351117 (ebook), 0820351113
Summary
"This comparative study looks at the laws concerning the murder of slaves by their masters and at how these laws were implemented. [The author] cites a wide range of cases -- across time, place, and circumstance -- to illuminate legal, judicial, and other complexities surrounding this regrettably common occurrence. These laws had evolved to limit in different ways the masters' rights to severely punish and even kill their slaves while protecting valuable enslaved people, understood as "property," from wanton destruction by overseers and poor whites who did not own slaves. To explore the conflicts of masters' rights with state and colonial laws, [the author] shows how slave homicide law evolved and was enforced not only in the United States but also in ancient Roman, Visigoth, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British jurisdictions. [The author's] comparative approach reveals how legal reforms regarding slave homicide in antebellum times, like past reforms dictated by emperors and kings, were the products of changing perceptions of the interests of the public; of the individual slave owners; and of the slave owners' families, heirs, and creditors. Although some slave murders came to be regarded as capital offenses, the laws consistently reinforced the second-class status of slaves. This influence, [the author] concludes, flowed over into the application of law to free African Americans and would even make itself felt in the legal attitudes that underlay the Jim Crow era."--
Contents
  • Introduction : A murder trial and the comparative law of slave killing
  • Ancient approaches to the law of homicide and slave killing
  • The visigoth, Spanish, Portuguese, and French laws on slave killing
  • Creating a British colonial law of slave killing
  • Decriminalization to amelioration on Britain's Atlantic Island colonies
  • Slave killing law in Britain's Northern American colonies and the border states
  • Slave killing in Britain's Southern mainland colonies
  • Slave homicide reform in Virginia
  • Slave homicide reform in North Carolina and the common law of slavery
  • Slave homicide reform in Georgia and Tennessee
  • South Carolina joins the homicide law reform trend
  • The antebellum states' law on slave homicide
  • Conclusion : Breaking out of the box of slavery law.
Description
xiii, 343 pages ; 24 cm.
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 225-331) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic
  • Staff View

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    a| Homicide justified : b| the legality of killing slaves in the United States and the Atlantic world / c| Andrew T. Fede.
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    a| Athens, Georgia : b| The University of Georgia Press, c| [2017]
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    a| xiii, 343 pages ; c| 24 cm.
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    a| Introduction : A murder trial and the comparative law of slave killing -- Ancient approaches to the law of homicide and slave killing -- The visigoth, Spanish, Portuguese, and French laws on slave killing -- Creating a British colonial law of slave killing -- Decriminalization to amelioration on Britain's Atlantic Island colonies -- Slave killing law in Britain's Northern American colonies and the border states -- Slave killing in Britain's Southern mainland colonies -- Slave homicide reform in Virginia -- Slave homicide reform in North Carolina and the common law of slavery -- Slave homicide reform in Georgia and Tennessee -- South Carolina joins the homicide law reform trend -- The antebellum states' law on slave homicide -- Conclusion : Breaking out of the box of slavery law.
    520
      
      
    a| "This comparative study looks at the laws concerning the murder of slaves by their masters and at how these laws were implemented. [The author] cites a wide range of cases -- across time, place, and circumstance -- to illuminate legal, judicial, and other complexities surrounding this regrettably common occurrence. These laws had evolved to limit in different ways the masters' rights to severely punish and even kill their slaves while protecting valuable enslaved people, understood as "property," from wanton destruction by overseers and poor whites who did not own slaves. To explore the conflicts of masters' rights with state and colonial laws, [the author] shows how slave homicide law evolved and was enforced not only in the United States but also in ancient Roman, Visigoth, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and British jurisdictions. [The author's] comparative approach reveals how legal reforms regarding slave homicide in antebellum times, like past reforms dictated by emperors and kings, were the products of changing perceptions of the interests of the public; of the individual slave owners; and of the slave owners' families, heirs, and creditors. Although some slave murders came to be regarded as capital offenses, the laws consistently reinforced the second-class status of slaves. This influence, [the author] concludes, flowed over into the application of law to free African Americans and would even make itself felt in the legal attitudes that underlay the Jim Crow era."-- c| Back cover.
    650
      
    0
    a| Slavery x| Law and legislation z| United States x| History.
    650
      
    0
    a| Slavery x| Law and legislation z| Atlantic Ocean Region x| History.
    650
      
    0
    a| Homicide z| United States x| History.
    650
      
    0
    a| Homicide z| Atlantic Ocean Region x| History.
    650
      
    0
    a| Slaves x| Violence against z| United States x| History.
    650
      
    0
    a| Slaves x| Violence against z| Atlantic Ocean Region x| History.
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    0
    a| Slaves x| Legal status, laws, etc.
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    0
    a| Southern legal studies.
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    a| Z0 b| VAL
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    a| 17
    999
      
      
    a| KF4545 .S5 F417 2017 w| LC i| 35007008398988 l| STACKS m| LAW t| BOOK
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