ABSTRACT

After reading this chapter students should understand and be able to discuss:

The parallels between some of President Lincoln’s domestic legislation during the Civil War with the current “war on terrorism”

How the American judicial system was challenged by this crisis as never before

Whether a state of war can justify suspending liberties guaranteed by the Constitution

How this era witnessed changing patterns of drug addiction and led to early drug prohibition laws

Why police reform was slowed down by the Civil War and Reconstruction in various regions

Various efforts toward creating federal law enforcement in this era

How an increase in the prison population and opposition to prison industries brought prison conditions to the public’s attention and led to alternatives such as convict leasing

The impact of the corruption and excesses of urban America, including political patronage on American criminal justice

The birth of domestic terrorism in the trajectories of abolitionist John Brown and the Ku Klux Klan

The years leading up to the Civil War brought numerous critical issues dividing the nation into sharp focus, including slavery versus free labor, popular sovereignty, and the legal and political status of African Americans. The decade of the 1850s witnessed unparalleled 188urbanization, heralding an era that from 1860 to 1900 would witness city dwellers increasing from 6 million to 30 million. Whether the interior cities of St. Louis, Cleveland, Chicago, and Milwaukee or eastern urban centers such as New York City and Philadelphia, all shared the rapid growth and wealth of the Industrial Revolution. But they would also share an equally dark side, one that was characterized by racial and ethnic tensions, poverty, and an outmanned and outdated criminal justice system still playing catch-up. As sectional matters came to the fore in the 1850s, temperance reform leaders turned their attention to the impending sectional conflict. Popular interest in the crusade against “demon rum” waned as the Dred Scott case, “Bleeding Kansas,” and John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry dominated the day’s concerns.