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Emancipation in the Dock: The Problem of Freedom in the Reconstruction Courtroom

Mathisen, Erik (2019) Emancipation in the Dock: The Problem of Freedom in the Reconstruction Courtroom. In: Sandy, Laura and Molloy, Marie, eds. The Civil War and Slavery Reconsidered: Negotiating the Peripheries. Routledge Advances in American History . Routledge, New York, pp. 169-182. ISBN 978-0-367-18122-2. E-ISBN 978-0-429-05960-5. (doi:10.4324/9780429059605) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:67382)

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While historians have long been aware of the haphazard and chaotic nature of emancipation in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, the machinations of the southern legal system has been understudied. Particularly at the county level–where precedent to say nothing of interwar cases on the docket, which were decided only after the Civil War ended–together make the southern courtroom an important site of contest. What this paper examines are the many ways in which wartime battles over the terms of emancipation carried on in southern courts: battles in which former slaves displayed a canny awareness of not only the politics but the minutiae of the legal system. This paper contributes to the work of historians like Christopher Waldrep and Laura Edwards, while at the same time staking out new ground by using the literature on the ‘second slavery’ to question the paradigm of freedom in the Reconstruction literature.

Item Type: Book section
DOI/Identification number: 10.4324/9780429059605
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
F History United States, Canada, Latin America
F History United States, Canada, Latin America > F1 United States local history
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of History
Depositing User: Erik Mathisen
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2018 13:53 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:55 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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