A revealing portrait of law-breaking and law enforcement on the Florida frontier
The pervasive influence of the frontier is fundamental to an understanding of antebellum Florida. James M. Denham traces the growth and social development of this sparsely settled region through its experience with crime and punishment. He examines such issues as Florida's criminal code, its judicial and law enforcement officers, the accommodation of criminals in jails and courts, outlaw gangs, patterns of punishment, and the attitude of the public toward lawbreakers.
Using court records, government documents, newspapers, and personal papers, Denham explores how crime affected ordinary Floridians—whites and blacks, perpetrators, victims, and enforcers. He contends that although the frontier determined the enforcement and administration of the law, the ethic of honor dominated human relationships.