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The intersections of law and contemporary culture are vital for comprehending the meaning and significance of law in today’s world. Far from being unsophisticated mass entertainment, comics and graphic fiction both imbue our contemporary culture, and are themselves imbued, with the concerns of law and justice. Accordingly, and spanning a wide variety of approaches and topics from an international array of contributors, Graphic Justice draws comics and graphic fiction into the range of critical resources available to the academic study of law. The first book to do this, Graphic Justice broadens our understanding of law and justice as part of our human world—a world that is inhabited not simply by legal concepts and institutions alone, but also by narratives, stories, fantasies, images, and other cultural articulations of human meaning. Engaging with key legal issues (including copyright, education, legal ethics, biomedical regulation, and legal personhood) and exploring critical issues in criminal justice and perspectives on international rights, law and justice—all through engagement with comics and graphic fiction—the collection showcases the vast breadth of potential that the medium holds. Graphic Justice will be of interest to academics and postgraduate students in: cultural legal studies; law and the image; law, narrative and literature; law and popular culture; cultural criminology; as well as cultural and comics studies more generally.
Includes categorical listings of collectible comic books, arranged by type of comic, with issue titles, current prices, dates, and cross-references
American Indians and State Law examines the history of state and territorial policies, laws, and judicial decisions pertaining to Native Americans from 1790 to 1880. Belying the common assumption that Indian policy and regulation in the United States were exclusively within the federal government's domain, the book reveals how states and territories extended their legislative and judicial authority over American Indians during this period. Deborah A. Rosen uses discussions of nationwide patterns, complemented by case studies focusing on New York, Georgia, New Mexico, Michigan, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Massachusetts, to demonstrate the decentralized nature of much of early American Indian policy. This study details how state and territorial governments regulated American Indians and brought them into local criminal courts, as well as how Indians contested the actions of states and asserted tribal sovereignty. Assessing the racial conditions of incorporation into the American civic community, Rosen examines the ways in which state legislatures treated Indians as a distinct racial group, explores racial issues arising in state courts, and analyzes shifts in the rhetoric of race, culture, and political status during state constitutional conventions. She also describes the politics of Indian citizenship rights in the states and territories. Rosen concludes that state and territorial governments played an important role in extending direct rule over Indians and in defining the limits and the meaning of citizenship.
The Dred Scott case is the most notorious example of slaves suing for freedom. Most examinations of the case focus on its notorious verdict, and the repercussions that the decision set off-especially the worsening of the sectional crisis that would eventually lead to the Civil War-were extreme. In conventional assessment, a slave losing a lawsuit against his master seems unremarkable. But in fact, that case was just one of many freedom suits brought by slaves in the antebellum period; an example of slaves working within the confines of the U.S. legal system (and defying their masters in the process) in an attempt to win the ultimate prize: their freedom. And until Dred Scott, the St. Louis courts adhered to the rule of law to serve justice by recognizing the legal rights of the least well-off. For over a decade, legal scholar Lea VanderVelde has been building and examining a collection of more than 300 newly discovered freedom suits in St. Louis. In Redemption Songs, VanderVelde describes twelve of these never-before analyzed cases in close detail. Through these remarkable accounts, she takes readers beyond the narrative of the Dred Scott case to weave a diverse tapestry of freedom suits and slave lives on the frontier. By grounding this research in St. Louis, a city defined by the Antebellum frontier, VanderVelde reveals the unique circumstances surrounding the institution of slavery in westward expansion. Her investigation shows the enormous degree of variation among the individual litigants in the lives that lead to their decision to file suit for freedom. Although Dred Scott's loss is the most widely remembered, over 100 of the 300 St. Louis cases that went to court resulted in the plaintiff's emancipation. Beyond the successful outcomes, the very existence of these freedom suits helped to reshape the parameters of American slavery in the nation's expansion. Thanks to VanderVelde's thorough and original research, we can hear for the first time the vivid stories of a seemingly powerless group who chose to use a legal system that was so often arrayed against them in their fight for freedom from slavery.
Dred Scott and his landmark Supreme Court case are ingrained in the national memory, but he was just one of multitudes who appealed for their freedom in courtrooms across the country. Appealing for Liberty is the most comprehensive study to give voice to these African Americans, drawing from more than 2,000 suits and from the testimony of more than 4,000 plaintiffs from the Revolutionary era to the Civil War. Through the petitions, evidence, and testimony introduced in these court proceedings, the lives of the enslaved come sharply and poignantly into focus, as do many other aspects of southern society such as the efforts to preserve and re-unite black families. This book depicts in graphic terms, the pain, suffering, fears, and trepidations of the plaintiffs while discussing the legal systemlawyers, judges, juries, and testimonythat made judgments on their "causes," as the suits were often called. Arguments for freedom were diverse: slaves brought suits claiming they had been freed in wills and deeds, were born of free mothers, were descendants of free white women or Indian women; they charged that they were illegally imported to some states or were residents of the free states and territories. Those who testified on their behalf, usually against leaders of their communities, were generally white. So too were the lawyers who took these cases, many of them men of prominence, such as Francis Scott Key. More often than not, these men were slave owners themselves-- complicating our understanding of race relations in the antebellum period. A majority of the cases examined here were not appealed, nor did they create important judicial precedent. Indeed, most of the cases ended at the county, circuit, or district court level of various southern states. Yet the narratives of both those who gained their freedom and those who failed to do so, and the issues their suits raised, shed a bold and timely light on the history of race and liberty in the "land of the free."

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