shopping_cart

The Jury in Lincoln’s America

By Stacy Pratt McDermott

2013 Award of Superior Achievement from the Illinois State Historical Society.

“(The Jury in Lincoln’s America) provides an excellent account of the legal and social history of the region, especially in McDermott’s analysis of the records of the courts in Illinois and the historiography of the jury system.”

Journal of Illinois History

“This in-depth analysis gives us an unparalleled sense of how juries worked, what juror worked, what juror status meant for the outcome of legal cases…and what it suggests about legal, political, and social culture in this county– and by extension in the larger Midwest. It is an impressive accomplishment.”

The Annals of Iowa

“McDermott’s social history of the jury pushes past hoary glorification of the jury in Anglo-American liberty and digs up social history evidence about the kinds of constituencies that the jury actually represented.”

The Journal of American History

“McDermott’s careful study, based on extensive primary source research…sheds fresh light on the legal history of nineteenth-century America.”

Indiana Magazine of History

In the antebellum Midwest, Americans looked to the law, and specifically to the jury, to navigate the uncertain terrain of a rapidly changing society. During this formative era of American law, the jury served as the most visible connector between law and society. Through an analysis of the composition of grand and trial juries and an examination of their courtroom experiences, Stacy Pratt McDermott demonstrates how central the law was for people who lived in Abraham Lincoln’s America.

McDermott focuses on the status of the jury as a democratic institution as well as on the status of those who served as jurors. According to the 1860 census, the juries in Springfield and Sangamon County, Illinois, comprised an ethnically and racially diverse population of settlers from northern and southern states, representing both urban and rural mid-nineteenth-century America. It was in these counties that Lincoln developed his law practice, handling more than 5,200 cases in a legal career that spanned nearly twenty-five years.

Drawing from a rich collection of legal records, docket books, county histories, and surviving newspapers, McDermott reveals the enormous power jurors wielded over the litigants and the character of their communities.

Stacy Pratt McDermott is the assistant director and associate editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, and the coeditor of The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases and The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln.

Order a print copy

Hardcover · $43.96 ·
Add to Cart

Retail price: $54.95 · Save 20% ($43.96)

Buy from a local bookstore

IndieBound

US and Canada only

Download an electronic copy

Amazon Kindle Store Barnes & Noble NOOK Google Play iBooks Store

Availability and price vary according to vendor.

Cover of The Jury in Lincoln’s America

Share    Facebook icon  Email icon

Requests

Desk Copy Examination Copy Review Copy

Permission to reprint
Permission to photocopy or include in a course pack via Copyright Clearance Center

Formats

Hardcover
978-0-8214-1956-4
Retail price: $54.95, S.
Release date: January 2012
272 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Rights:  World

Electronic
978-0-8214-4429-0
Release date: January 2012
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for The Jury in Lincoln’s America

“The legal environment that shaped Lincoln provides the context of The Jury in Lincoln’s America, and Lincoln’s experiences with the law as an attorney, a litigant, a judge, and a juror provide a fascinating human connection to the history of law in pre-Civil War Illinois, the Midwest, and America.”

SirReadaLot.org

Related Titles

Cover of 'Do They Miss Me at Home?'

Do They Miss Me at Home?
The Civil War Letters of William McKnight, Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry
Edited by Donald C. Maness and H. Jason Combs

William McKnight was a member of the Seventh Ohio Volunteer Cavalry from September 1862 until his death in June of 1864. During his time of service, McKnight penned dozens of emotion-filled letters, primarily to his wife, Samaria, revealing the struggles of an entire family both before and during the war.

American History · Military History · Americas · North America · United States · Midwest · Ohio · 19th century · American Civil War · History · Letters

Cover of 'In the Shadow of Freedom'

In the Shadow of Freedom
The Politics of Slavery in the National Capital
Edited by Paul Finkelman and Donald R. Kennon

Few images of early America were more striking, and jarring, than that of slaves in the capital city of the world’s most important free republic. Black slaves served and sustained the legislators, bureaucrats, jurists, cabinet officials, military leaders, and even the presidents who lived and worked there.

American History · Slavery and Slave Trade

Cover of 'The Dred Scott Case'

The Dred Scott Case
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Law
Edited by David Thomas Konig, Paul Finkelman, and Christopher Alan Bracey

In 1846 two slaves, Dred and Harriet Scott, filed petitions for their freedom in the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. As the first true civil rights case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, Dred Scott v. Sandford raised issues that have not been fully resolved despite three amendments to the Constitution and more than a century and a half of litigation.

Legal and Constitutional History · American History · Slavery and Slave Trade · Race and Ethnicity

Cover of 'The Rescue of Joshua Glover'

The Rescue of Joshua Glover
A Fugitive Slave, the Constitution, and the Coming of the Civil War
By H. Robert Baker

On March 11, 1854, the people of Wisconsin prevented agents of the federal government from carrying away the fugitive slave, Joshua Glover. Assembling in mass outside the Milwaukee courthouse, they demanded that the federal officers respect his civil liberties as they would those of any other citizen of the state. When the officers refused, the crowd took matters into its own hands and rescued Joshua Glover.

History · African American Studies · Americas · North America · United States · 19th century · Slavery and Slave Trade · Law · Legal and Constitutional History · American History · American Civil War