Before Dred Scott - pr_32095

Before Dred Scott

Slavery and Legal Culture in the American Confluence, 1787-1857

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Before Dred Scott draws on the freedom suits filed in the St Louis Circuit Court to construct a groundbreaking history of slavery and legal culture within the American Confluence, a vast region where the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers converge. Formally divided between slave and free territories and states, the American Confluence was nevertheless a site where the borders between slavery and freedom, like the borders within the region itself, were fluid. Such ambiguity produced a radical indeterminacy of status, which, in turn, gave rise to a distinctive legal culture made manifest by the prosecution of hundreds of freedom suits, including the case that ultimately culminated in the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott vs Sandford. Challenging dominant trends in legal history, Before Dred Scott argues that this distinctive legal culture, above all, was defined by ordinary people's remarkable understanding of and appreciation for formal law.

Product code: 9781107530898

ISBN 9781107530898
Dimensions H230xW153xS15
No. of pages 299
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Series Cambridge Historical Studies in American Law and Society
Appealing to legal historians and scholars, this antebellum history uses original legal suits to analyse the understanding, use, and adaptation of formal law by slave holders and slaves within the American Confluence, an area of liminal boundaries where the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri Rivers converge.