Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond

By George C. Thomas III; Richard A. Leo | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
The “American Method”—The
Third Degree

American police, but not English police, developed the interrogation method known as the “third degree”—the use of intense coercion on suspects to produce confessions. Jerome Frank wrote in 1949, “To our shame be it said that the English, who do not tolerate the ‘third degree,’ call it the American method.’”1 Many of the same cultural forces operating in England also operated in the United States. One of our tasks in this chapter is to seek differences that explain why our police were willing to use physical force to obtain confessions, while the English police were not.


A. The Culture That Produced the Third Degree

Like other social phenomena, harsh police interrogation tactics did not arise in a vacuum. The early years of America’s existence were tumultuous: the War of Independence, fear of foreign invasion, molding the states into a nation, the War of 1812, and the westward expansion into the frontier. But one explanation for the third degree that we must reject is the violent, frontier nature of early American culture. If that were a factor, the American cases would have diverged from the English cases in the early 1800s. They did not. As we saw in chapter 4, one of the most robust expressions of the Hawkins-Leach dictum came from the frontier state of Tennessee in 1823.2

The Treaty of Ghent in 1814 ended the War of 1812, as well as our long-standing belligerence with England. Peace ushered in an era of great prosperity for the United States. Prior to 1850, Lawrence Friedman notes that American “opinion exuberantly believed in growth, believed that resources were virtually unlimited…. The theme of American law before 1850 was the release of energy, in Willard Hurst’s phrase.”3 Between 1850 and 1900, however, Friedman concludes that America changed in fundamental ways. “By 1900, if one can speak about so slippery a thing as dominant public opinion,

-112-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Confessions of Guilt: From Torture to Miranda and Beyond
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 317

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.