A Different Sort of Justice: The Informal Courts of Public Opinion in Antebellum South CarolinaUF Law Faculty Publications
AbstractStudies of nineteenth century legal history assume that the antebellum South, and antebellum South Carolina in particular, had a legal culture shaped by honor culture and marked by the hierarchical assumptions and extralegal violence that honor culture engendered. In this article, I offer a modification of that well-established account. While I do not question the influence of honor on South Carolina's antebellum legal culture, I suggest that the state had a second, shame-based system of popular justice, in which women played a prominent role. As was the case with honor culture, this second form of extralegal justice, which I have dubbed the informal courts of public opinion, sometimes intersected with formal law, and other times worked independent of it.
Citation InformationElizabeth Dale, A Different Sort of Justice: The Informal Courts of Public Opinion in Antebellum South Carolina, 54 S.C. L. Rev. 627 (2003), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/400