Outlaws and Lawmen: Crime and Punishment in the 1800s (Daily Life in America in the 1800s)
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American society in the 1800s had a rough edge to it. In a nation made up of people of diverse backgrounds and heritage, social controls needed to be strict & enforceable. The extreme economic inequality of America's cities and the wide-open moral code of the frontier led to a culture of crime and violence that still plagues our country.
During the 1800s, professional police forces were established in cities, towns, and territories across the continent. On the frontier, "justice" was often swift & severe, with "hanging judges" making their reputations as representatives of the law in a lawless land. Long prison sentences in miserable conditions were the rule for criminals, and many a prisoner might have preferred the option of a quick execution. Before the reform of the legal system-which is an ongoing process-there was definitely a separate law, and a separate standard of penalties, for the rich and for the poor.
The evolution of a humane penal system and a fairer protection of all citizens under the law is an important contribution of 1800s America to the modern world.
good guys—and Hickok himself claimed he “never killed a man except in self defense or official duty”—but in fact he led a checkered career as scout, sheriff, and gambler. Hickok died on August 2, 1876, in Deadwood, shot in the back while playing poker. INCREDIBLE INDIVIDUAL Orrin Porter Rockwell Although he is little known today, Orrin Porter Rockwell was, in his time, as famous as any Western legend. A Mormon (Latter Day Saint), he served as bodyguard for the prophet and founder of that
built in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1834 1834 New York and then Pennsylvania become the first two states in the country to ban public executions. “Put yer hands up!” the man with the badge demands. The man in black only sneers and gestures toward his gun belt. “All right then . . . draw!” the lawman retorts. Wham! Wham! Smoke fills the street, and in a moment, when it clears, one man lies in the dirt. This is the dramatic image most Americans have in their minds when they think about
Kansas-Nebraska Act stated that settlers of those territories would decide by popular vote whether or not to allow slavery, but bloody fights broke out between pro-and anti-slavery factions. Battles over slavery caused the Kansas Territory to be known as “Bleeding Kansas.” John Brown became the leader of anti-slavery settlers during the Bleeding Kansas battles. Brown didn’t care for the patient and peaceful way most abolitionists worked against slavery. He said, “These men are all talk. What we
first nationwide labor strike. 1878 1878 Thomas Edison patents the phonograph on February 19. 1878 Thomas Edison invents the light bulb on October 22. 1881 1881 Billy the Kid, or Henry McCarty, is killed on July 14 at 21 years old. 1882 1882 Jesse James, an outlaw, gang leader, and bank/train robber, dies. 1886 1886 The Statue of Liberty is dedicated on October 28. 1890 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre—Last battle in the American Indian Wars. 1892 1892 Ellis Island is opened to receive
clear away, destroying the land’s usefulness for cattlemen. As a result, cattle ranchers and sheep farmers fought bitter range wars. Finally, the farmers staked out their claims, and protected their lands with barbed wire—hated by the old-style ranchers who were used to wide-open ranges for their cattle. Though the West seemed limitless, it quickly became clear that competing factions would have to settle their differences—by gun or by common agreement. The Pinkerton Agency The most efficient