Criminal Justice in Nineteenth-Century America
The last quarter of the eighteenth century and the first quarter of the nineteenth century is the formative period of American law as it stands today; it is the period in which the English legal materials were received and made over by a body of men learned in the law, sitting on the bench, making law in the legislatures, or lecturing and writing as law teachers. Both in England and in America, the traditional legal materials were made over, partly by legislation and partly by judicial decision, in the first half of the nineteenth century. Four ways of looking at things political and legal left their mark upon nineteenth-century criminal justice. In some sense they are no doubt four phases of one mode of thought, as looked at from different standpoints. But it is convenient to take them up one by one as the pioneer attitude, the natural-rights attitude, the democratic attitude, and the entrepreneur attitude.