Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860

By Thomas D. Morris | Go to book overview

13
Slaves' Violence against Third Parties

Legal rules were to be adapted to the "actual conditions of human beings in our society."

State v. Jarrott, (a slave) ( North Carolina, 1840)

Slaves had a duty of obedience not only to their owners, but also to all whites (at least under some circumstances). The right of whites, including nonslaveowners, to use force against slaves and the limits on that right have been considered. The reverse side of that relationship became a legal issue when slaves resisted. Slave resistance to third parties ranged from "insolence" to assaults, to homicides. Each crime presented different legal problems. What was illegal "insolence," or was there such an offense? Assaults increasingly became a tough legal problem as states adopted laws on "assaults with intent to kill": the problem then became one of "intention." Finally, in homicides the question that arose was whether or not it was possible for a slave to be guilty of the crime of manslaughter when the victim was white--and that turned on the issue of "provocation," which brought to the fore the social relationship of slaves to all whites.

The problem, to a large degree, was one of drawing lines, and that lent itself to legislation. Generally, policy choices on punishments overshadowed discussions of legal concepts like "provocation" when the resistance of the slaves was violent because the choice was to make all violent assaults on whites by slaves capital offenses.

One of the earliest statutory decisions was in the 1740 South Carolina law: it was a capital offense in the case of any slave "who shall be guilty of homicide of any sort, upon any white person." Exceptions were allowed for accidents or homicides in defense of one's owner. In Mississippi, the "manslaughter of any free person" by a slave became a capital offense. In 1852 Alabama made the voluntary manslaughter of a white person by a slave a capital offense. It also made it capital for a slave to commit involuntary manslaughter on a white in the commission of "any unlawful act." In 1859 Texas law provided that an assault and battery by a white on a slave that did not inflict great injury would not be a "sufficient provocation" to mitigate the offense from murder to manslaughter.1

-289-

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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
Southern Slavery and the Law, 1619-1860
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
/ 575

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.
    Buy instant access 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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.